EXCEL SERIES: 3 Time-Saving Tips for PR Pros

While Excel is great for organizing media lists and editorial calendars, it can also help PR professionals when it comes to formatting reports or drafting your latest social media copy. In the latest post of our Excel Series, we dive into three time-saving ways you can use Excel in public relations.


Let’s say you’re putting together a coverage report, but (the horror!) your headlines aren’t in the same case. We have sentence case, all upper case, upper and lower case – all in just a few headlines. Sure, you could just quickly re-type your headlines to match your standard formatting, but depending on how many pieces of coverage you’re including, that could take a while.


Rather than manually type out your new headlines, copy/paste them into one column of Excel. You can now use the PROPER, LOWER and UPPER functions to adjust your text. PROPER will capitalize the first letter of each word. LOWER will make all letters lower case. UPPER will make all letters upper case.



Excel’s random number generating functions come in handy more often than you think. Anytime you’re doing A/B testing, like on subject lines or social media copy, Excel makes it easy to mix and match your content.

Start by adding your first batch of content to a spreadsheet. In the next column, use the =RAND() formula. You don’t need to put anything between the open and closed parentheses. Once you hit enter, you’ll see a random number between 0 and 1 populate in the cell automatically. If you copy the formula down to the rest of your data, you’ll see the numbers refresh. Every time you edit the RAND column, it’ll refresh your random number.

From here you can sort each section by the RAND column, which lets Excel mix and match your lines for you, avoiding human error and bias in your results.

Counting Characters

If you’re drafting tweets within Twitter (or the social media platform of your choice) to find out their character counts, you’re doing it wrong. Excel’s LEN function counts the characters within its specified cells. Here’s an example:


Your LEN function goes in the cell where you want to see the characters, with the cell you want to count within the parentheses. This function can also be helpful when drafting social media ad copy, as those also have strict character limits across networks.

PRO TIP: Use conditional formatting rules to color-code your ‘Characters’ column. Set the rule so that if the cell goes above your limit (for tweets, it’d be 140), it turns red. This’ll make it easy to see at a glance which tweets are too long.


And here’s what you’ll now see if your tweet copy is too long:


Excel is more than just number crunching.

Excel has a multitude of features PR pros can find useful in their day-to-day work, and not just for crunching numbers. The tips outlined here can also be used for much more than the examples we used. How else have you found these functions to be helpful? Share with us in the comments!

Tori Sabourin
Senior Marketing Analyst


Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk