Imagine, later on this year, as we shiver in the grip of midwinter it is only natural that our thoughts should turn to summer and warmer days, culminating in that carefree holiday in some exotic location where mosquito bites are more of a concern than frostbite. With this in mind we set off for the travel agent's to see what is available, and we return with sufficient brochures to wallpaper a bedroom.

We sit at the coffee table sifting through the glossy photos of sun, sea and sand, unable to decide if we should opt for Bodrum or Benidorm, Marmaris or Magaluf, Tenerife or tenner each, it's a tough one to call. Eventually though, we decide to take another look at that hotel with the balcony overlooking the lagoon. But where on earth is it in the pile? With a heavy sigh we start again to sift through the brochures on a mission that is like looking for a needle in a bachelor's flat.

I'm sure you can imagine the frustration of looking for that one particular brochure among that pile. And if you think of the coffee table as your computer screen and all those open brochures as open Excel worksheets, you should get the analogy. When you have several workbooks open at the same time navigating between them can be as time wasting and disorganised as the hunt for that errant brochure. But there are ways you can make navigating between worksheets far more efficient.

If you have several workbooks open and you need to home in on a single one, you can toggle between them by pressing Ctrl+Tab. If you need to view more than one at the same time you can do this, although you must bear in mind that the more workbooks you have open then the less of each will be visible on the screen.

To view several workbooks at the same time open the Window menu, where you will see each of your open workbooks listed at the bottom. From the menu select Arrange and click the Tiled radio button. This will display all of your workbooks in windows on the screen at the same time and you can adjust the size of the windows if you need to see more of a particular one. To do this, select the window you wish to adjust to effectively bring it to the top and move your mouse cursor to the edge you wish to drag out (or in). As you pass over the edge your arrow will change into a double-headed arrow. When this happens left click the mouse and hold down the button then drag the edge of the window to where you want it. When you are happy with the positioning release the mouse button.

Of course with all of these workbooks open you will be faced with the task of closing them all at the end of the day. There is a quick way to do this but first have a look at the File menu before you close any. Now hold down the shift key and open the File menu again. You will see that there is a new option, Close All. Click on this and you will be asked if you want to save each workbook as it closes. Click Yes To All and all of the workbooks will save and close down with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

Saving on time and effort is one of Excel's trademarks, from the AutoText function to the closing down of multiple workbooks as shown above. But there are many, many more ways that this excellent application can make your working day a lot more productive. And as Excel is commonly used by businesses up and down the land, learning how to use it effectively would be a very strong string to your bow.