Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

August 2008


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her

August 2008

Date reminders

Q:  Please can you help me set up a spreadsheet that will remind me when to renew my various insurance policies.

A:  The answer is to use an IF statement, using the formula for today's date =NOW().  When the reinsuring date arrives (giving yourself at least a week to check the spreadsheet and carry out the transaction), you can display a message such as INSURE in a bright colour. 


Here is how to do it:

1. Set up a spreadsheet with labels for the various types of insurance in the first column e.g. cells A3 – A7.

2. In the second column, put the renewal date for each type of insurance.

3. Head the third column "Today's date" and enter the same formula down column C which adds in today's date i.e. =NOW().  When this is copied down the column, it will show today's date and will change each time you check the spreadsheet.

4. Head the fourth column "Time to reinsure".

Time to reinsure


5. Format the relevant cells in columns B – C to make sure they are set as DATE by right clicking the cells, selecting Format Cells and selecting Date.


Format cells and Selecting Date


6. You must now enter the first formula to carry out your calculation in cell D3.  This will compare the renewal date for House with today's date.  When they are the same, you will display your message.  The formula is as follows:

                                                  =IF(C3=B3, "INSURE","") 

The text INSURE must be in quotation marks and the double quotation marks mean you will display nothing.  (An alternative is to put 0 as the second message so that 0s will appear if the insurance is not due for renewal.)  You must have all the commas between the entries.

7. Copy the formula down column D so that dates will be compared for all types of insurance.

8. Test that it works by changing the Date to Renew in one cell to today's date – you should see the word INSURE appear in column D for that type of insurance.


Change the date back before saving


 9. Change the date back before saving and closing your spreadsheet and, if you prefer, format the entries in column D so that they stand out e.g. bold, coloured etc.

10. You can now open and check your spreadsheet at regular intervals to make sure you renew in good time.

11. For speed, make a shortcut to the file on your desktop.  Open the folder or subfolder containing the file (e.g. My Documents or Insurance), right click the filename and drag it onto your desktop.  Select the Shortcut option from the menu that will appear when you let go the mouse.


For speed, make a shortcut to the file on your desktop.



View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


back to laterlife today

Site map and site search



Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti