[Share] – Excel Hash

Have you heard about the Excel Hash competition?

It is a contest initiated by Oz du Soleil at Excel On Fire.  Six well-known Excel MVPs, including Oz himself, show you what they can do with four designated Excel features/functions, and more importantly – how, on their YouTube channels.

The four Excel Features/Functions are:

  1. MAX Function – A basic function, well… you think it is?
  2. FREQUENCY Function – A not-so-well-known function for counting number of values to a specific bin.  Many people use COUNTIF(S) to do the same, because they don’t know about FREQUENCY
  3. Form Control – cool stuff to make your spreadsheet interactive (btw, I have many posts about it, check them out here)
  4. 3D Model – Something new in Excel 365

As you know, the true power of Excel never comes from a standalone function or feature. It comes from the ability of mixing function/feature together to do something great and impressive. Of course it requires out-of-the-box thinking from the people who use it. You will know what I am talking about after watching the six entries below.

The six contestants and their delicious dishes are: Continue reading

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5 years of blogging

Totally forgot I put my first post here 5 years ago.  Time really flies! Thanks for flying with me. 🙂

Capture

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[Share] – Threaded Comments in Excel 365

Last week, I told you that my Surface Pro 4 is out of service, and I am waiting for a new laptop for writing my Excel blog… until late September or early October.   That was the plan.

Although I am having a “late” summer break for writing excel tips and tricks for now, nothing stops me from learning new Excel stuffs.  This morning, I watched MrExcel.com’s YouTube channel and heard MrExcel (Bill Jelen) said: “If you have a channel and you have viewers and you can reach people, please pass this note along“…

That was the moment.  Yeah… Why don’t I share something cool!  Even though I am not using Excel 365, it’s good to know what’s new and keep updated.

Here’s the MrExcel’s video talking about one of the cool features of Excel 365 – Threaded Comments:

 

Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

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(: Late summer break :)

Today, I am not talking about Excel although I would like to.  Why?  Because my Surface Pro 4 is out of service… 😦

It has been out of order a few weeks ago… the moment when the warranty period was just expired.  I was struggling whether I should fix it, or I should buy a new one.  To fix a Surface Pro is not an easy task to my understanding.  Worst still, there is no official repairing service in Hong Kong.  When I contacted Microsoft, they offered to replace my Surface Pro 4 at a cost, which is actually not cheap given the fact that they are not going to replace me with a new machine….. @_@

On top of my mind is to buy a New Surface Pro.  Indeed, I like the usage experience of my Surface Pro 4 very much.  It’s an excellent replacement of traditional notebook: Light in weight with high performance (good enough for writing Excel blog).  Also, I like the touch screen and Surface Pen with that I can write on captured screens (to have sort of a personal touch to my illustration, although I know that my handwriting is poor. :P)  However, I am afraid that it will be broken in 13 months… even though I know it’s just a random event totally depends on luck.  A friend told me that I should buy the extended warranty.  For a machine that does not break down in three years, it probably can last for long.  He’s got his point, I believe.  But one of my considerations, after my Surface Pro 4 broke-down, is “Fixability”.  I prefer something that is fixable and can last for long as I don’t want to throw away a machine simply because one of the components went wrong.

Another consideration is not about the performance of the machine, but my commitment to this blog.  You know what… I felt a bit “emptiness” for not writing anything about Excel in the past few weeks.  I know that I am abnormal, sort of.  ;p  Therefore I am looking into other options such as traditional notebook, which is in most cases more repairing friendly.

After browsing and browsing, windows shopping and windows shopping, I have decided to buy a new notebook, which will be arriving in mid September.  Coincidently, I will be traveling for leisure for two weeks in mid September.  That means, I won’t be able to start writing about Excel until end of September, or early October.  Let’s consider it a belated summer break for myself.

Meanwhile, I will take the time to plan for the topics afterwards.  Stay tuned, Stay Excellent. 🙂

IMG_8451.jpgPhoto by me. 🙂

Did I tell you that besides Excel, I enjoy hiking and taking photos.

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#Excel Humor #15 – Performance Review

Excel Humor - MidYearReview.png

 

Feel free to share this formula to your friend / colleague whom you think applicable… 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 5.28.09 PM.png

He/She knows the answer.  😛

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Same day last year…

Avoid Overthinking

Excel tip - Same day last year.png

Getting same day of last year using Excel formula

In retail, it’s very common to compare sales of same day, not same date, of last year.  If you are not in retail sector, you may wonder what is the difference between same day and same date of last year.

Let’s look at example:

Assume today is 2018/08/11, and same date of last year is 2017/08/11.  Very straight forward.

But retail people will never compare YoY sales performance in this way.  Why? Because it compares apple to orange.  Think about this, sales on Saturday (2018/08/11) should be better than Friday (2017/08/11).  Make sense?  So we want to compare 2018/08/11 to 2017/08/12 instead.  It’s a Saturday to Saturday comparison.

As such, there is constant demand for Excel formula to get the same day of last year.  In many cases, Excel user would use functions related to date.  Continue reading

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Load multiple #Excel Tables as separate #Queries quickly…

Excel Tip - Load Excel Tables as mulitple queries0.PNG

To load an Excel Table into Power Query is easy.  Just click into any cell of the Excel Table, and then click the From Table/Range button (depends on which version you are using, this button resides in different location on the ribbon).   This action will take your active Excel Table to the Power Query Editor.  To load another Excel table, we need to close the Power Query Editor, go to the Table, then repeat the step.  Easy, Piece of cake.

However, when you have 20 Excel Tables and you want to load all of them into Power Query, you need to repeat the steps 20 times.  Not really a nice experience.  😦

To my limited knowledge to Power Query, there is no simple way to load multiple Excel Tables as separate queries in one step.  Please correct me if I am wrong. ;p  I tried to Google it, but no success.

Nevertheless, there could be a “quicker” way to do so, just a bit quicker…  Continue reading

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Change the first letter to upper case, first word only please #Excel

This is a short story of mine, and an imaginary conversation in my head… 

How to change the first letter (of first word only) to upper case in Excel?

This was a question from a colleague sitting opposite to me.  My quick response was: “Yes… but it is a bit, just a bit complicated…”As I was doing something else, I didn’t answer him right away.  Then after a while, he told me he “googled” the formula he needed.  That’s fine.When I finished my task, I asked him for the formula he’s got… then I provided him my formula (a shorter one). :PThat’s the end of the story, but the beginning of my thought:

Is it good to have an Excel “nerd” sitting around you?

Most people would say YES, I guess, because they can have quick answer to their Excel questions.However, I think the opposite.  It may indeed slow down your learning curve in Excel.Indeed what I meant “complicated” in the beginning is that it requires nested functions. The solution is not complicated.  We just need to know three functions:

  • UPPER
  • LEFT
  • MID (or REPLACE, that gives you a shorter formula)

Looking back, if I was not occupied by other tasks, I would continue our conversation like the following:   Continue reading

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Creating % of Total, Running Total in a few clicks with #Excel Quick Analysis

This post is about showing you how to perform a common task of adding a column of

  • % of Total
  • Running Total

with Quick Analysis in Excel 2013 or later.

Latest Excel makes things easier, just that you may not be aware of…

Well, what I meant “latest Excel” here are those versions since Excel 2013.  Of course, Excel 2016 and of course Excel 365 is getting even better.

You may think that Excel 2013 is a product of 5 years ago… there is no way it can be called “latest”…. uuuum… that’s true.  However I am living in a city where most people I know (across different companies) are still using Excel 2010 or before.  Believe it or not?  😛

What is even more surprising (or ironic):  when I met someone who uses Excel 2013 or later, I looked at them with my “hearty” smiles and told them how lucky they are with all those new features like Flash Fill, Quick Analysis, etc….. (not yet to mention about the new FUNCTIONS).  The response I got was mostly: “What are these?” and some of them unconsciously showed an attitude of “I don’t care…”

Needless to say, many people have never clicked the tiny icon that showed up automatically when a range of data is selected.

Excel Tips - Quick Analysis

So, I am going to show one quick tip of using Quick Analysis (provided that you are using Excel 2013 or later) to add a column of

  • % of Total
  • Running Total

A picture (especially an animated one) tells thousand words, so let’s look at the screencast below:   Continue reading

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No more Copy and Paste to combine tables with #PowerQuery

Basic of Append Query in #PowerQuery

With no doubt, combining multiple tables (mostly on different worksheets, or even in different files) into a single “master” table for further analyses is one of the most tedious tasks we deal with Excel day to day.  Inevitably, manual Copy and Paste is the go-to option (unless you are VBA expert).   Sometimes, the tables we are trying to combine contain different columns.  You know that feeling of frustration, don’t you?

With Power Query, we can say NO MORE to copy and paste for this tedious task.  In this post, I am going to show you what Append Query does, and some interesting notes of it.

I will demonstrate how Power Query appends tables for four different cases:   Continue reading

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Top 40 Excel Blogs by Feedspot

What an honour and pleasant surprise to be selected as one of the Top 40!

Recently I am quite busy (and moody) at work, I mean the real work at office.  You must be thinking my works involved using Excel a lot and I should be able to finish them in an efficient way.  However the fact is… Excel is the barely opened application in my PC at work.  When I use Excel at work, I probably use it for “non-analytic” purposes.  Can’t imagine, right?

Then one day, I received an email from Feedspot saying that wmfexcel.com has been selected as one of the Top 40 Excel Blogs.  That was the truly refreshing moment of my boring day.

Frankly speaking, I think I have not reached this level yet.  Nevertheless I am super happy that my blog is getting more popularity.  If you are reading this, I sincerely thank you! 🙂

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#PowerQuery makes advanced VLOOKUP so easy!

Do you use VLOOKUP?  If you do, you should know there are limitations of VLOOKUP.  Also there are some cases VLOOKUP is not straightforward and efficient.

Consider the following cases:Excel Tip - Complicated vlookup with PQ

What we want to achieve is to map the corresponding staff information (in lookup table, named tb_StaffInfo) to the orange tables (named as tb_Employee, tb_Name, tb_Dept) on the left.

The challenge

Case 1: Although there is a common key (EmployeeID vs. Staff ID) in both tables, the lookup direction for Name is to the left which an ordinary VLOOKUP fails to accompanish. Read here to learn more this limitation and an alternative way to overcome this.

Case 2: There is no common key, we may need to combine First Name and Last Name in tb_Name first to get the common key; or to split the Full Name in the lookup table into First and Last Names, then do VLOOKUP 2 values.  Either way, it’s not direct.

Case 3: Duplicate record (Dept) in the lookup table.  We know that VLOOKUP will only return the first match in the lookup table.  VLOOKUP cannot return all the matching records in the lookup table.

Power Query, however, overcomes these challenges with ease.

You may download a Sample FIle – Doing complicated vlookup with PQ (Start) to follow along.

Continue reading

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Display descriptive words instead of numbers with Custom Format in #Excel

Sometimes we want to add a descriptive like “Good Job” for figures above target; “Work Harder” for those below… like the following screenshot:

Excel Tip - Turn Numbers into Descriptives

To many people, the top-of-mind solution should be using IF function.

=IF(A2>0, "Good Job", IF(A2=0, "Just Met","Work Harder"))

This formula does the job fairly easy! 🙂

One drawback is, we will need a helper column to achieve this.  In some cases, we want the descriptives only; showing the numbers is not necessary.  For this case, Custom Format should be the go-to approach.

Format Cells –> Number Tab –> Custom –> Input the following into Type:   Continue reading

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Maintain a price book in #Excel with #PowerQuery

Feel the Power (Query)

This is my first post devoting to my recent love for Excel – Power Query.  🙂

First, let me make myself clear.  I am still learning Power Query (indeed I am still learning Excel too).  The more I learn and use Power Query, the more Excel power I get.  Frankly, I am far away from being an expert in Power Query.  Having said that, I am “relatively” good by knowing how to use many Magical commands through the super-friendly User Interface of Power Query.  Together with a little knowledge in editing auto-generated codes in formula bar of Query Editor, I feel like I can fly with Excel.  🙂

In this post, I am trying to show you how to solve a workplace problem, that is quite complicated if using Excel alone.

Warning: This is a long post.

Continue reading

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Create your own favorite keyboard shortcuts in #Excel without VBA

Make better use of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

We all know that shortcuts could save us lots of time when working with Excel.  Excel has many built-in shortcuts.   Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V should be the most popular and commonly used ones as most of us are doing copy and paste daily, or even hourly.  ;p  Just to name a few more, Ctrl+1 to format cells, Ctrl+S to Save, Ctrl+F to Find are some other commonly used shortcuts using Ctrl+ Key combinations.

However, there are some actions you would not find the Ctrl+ shortcut for it, e.g. Format Painter, Sort A to Z, Align (selected objects) Top, etc…

But did you know that we can access to almost all buttons on Ribbon and QAT by using Alt key combinations?

In this post, I am going to show you how to find out the Alt keys combination for actions you find on Ribbon, and more importantly, how to put your favorite (most frequently used) actions onto QAT for enhanced productivity.

Continue reading

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#Excel Humor #14 – Insert Table

I am having an incentive trip in Osaka… not sure if this is due to my Excel skills. 😛

So let’s have fun this week. 🙂

Excel Humor (14) - Excel Table

 

What would you say if you were the interviewer?  Leave it in comments.  🙂

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How to remove leading space in #Excel

When TRIM and CLEAN do not work…

Excel tip - Invisible Characters1

Is it something bothering you?

To fix this problem, we need to understand where is the “leading space” coming come.  Before we jump to that, I want to show you two Excel functions first:

CHAR and CODE functions

CHAR returns the character specified by a number. Use CHAR to translate code page numbers you might get from files on other types of computers into characters. (Source: Office Support )

CODE returns a numeric code for the first character in a text string. The returned code corresponds to the character set used by your computer. (Source: Office Support)

Operating environment Character set
Macintosh Macintosh character set
Windows ANSI

Continue reading

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Learn something amazing from Mynda’s #Excel Dashboard webinars

We don’t know what we don’t know.  The best way is to learn something new is to explore the web (or world), and/or learn from experts.

Sometimes we just don’t know, or even don’t expect what Excel could do for us.

If you’ve ever felt like:

“My Excel reports take way too long to update each month/week”

“I spend hours collating and cleaning data, updating formulas and charts and then no one reads my reports anyway, what’s the point?”

“If I could just impress the boss I’d get that pay rise/promotion I deserve”

“I need to get my Excel skills up to date so I can stand out from the crowd of other job applicants”

“I’m not sure how to approach setting up my Excel workbook the right way, so it’s easy to build and maintain”

Then you should spend a few hours in the coming days to watch the three webinars (Yes, I recommend you to watch all three webinars) by Mynda.  You will find the time worthy spent as you will learn many time-saver techniques in using Excel; and learn something about Power BI.

Free Excel Dashboard Webinars

If you’re not sure what a dashboard is, or how these skills might be relevant to you, and help you overcome the challenges above, then you can attend one or both of Mynda’s FREE Excel Dashboard Webinars.

Webinar 1 – Excel Dashboard for Excel 2010/2013/2016

The first webinar will teach you how to use Excel to build this interactive dashboard below, no additional software or add-ins required, just plain old Excel and some data.

 

Click here to register for webinar 1.

Webinar 2 – Excel Dashboard for Excel 2010/2013/2016 using Power Query and Power Pivot

Excel is evolving; in the last couple of years Microsoft have added new tools like Power Query and Power Pivot, to name a couple.

Embracing these new tools will not only enable you to get your work done more quickly, but also since less than 1% of Excel users know these tools you’re going to have a huge competitive edge in the workplace.

It’s easy to ignore these developments and continue doing things the way you always have, but that won’t get you ahead in your career, but you know that right?

If you have Excel 2010, 2013 or 2016* then this webinar will showcase how you can use Excel’s Power Query tool to get data from multiple sources, mash it up with Power Pivot, analyse it in PivotTables to create this interactive Excel Dashboard.

 

*Power Query is available with all versions of Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016. Power Pivot is available with the desktop version of Excel 2010 and Excel 2013/2016 Office Professional, Office 365 ProPlus, or in the standalone versions of Excel 2013/2016. Power Query and Power Pivot are not available for Mac.

Click here to register for webinar 2.

What people are saying about the webinars

Over 30,000 people have attended Mynda’s Excel Dashboard webinars and this is what some of them had to say:

“Thank you! This webinar has already saved tremendous time and effort. I tried some of the techniques you illustrated for a cumbersome report update that I can see will cut our preparation time by 2/3’s or more. ….awesome! Many thanks!!!!”

Cynthia Tashjian

 

“WOW, just WOW
Can’t type more now – am trying to create a dashboard. Thank you Mynda!”

Susan

 

“The webinar was fantastic! I really enjoyed every moment. As you said, it was fast paced, but I am so excited to go back and review the presentation. We have been trying to get a dashboard started for my department and this really motivated me to take the lead. Thank you so much!”

Kathryn Puskar

 

“Oh. My. God. I know nothing! My jaw dropped a couple of times as you casually mentioned a way to manipulate PivotTable data. That’s the problem with being largely self-taught – there are huge gaps in my knowledge.”

Ann

 

If you’ve seen Mynda’s free Dashboard Webinars and you’re ready to take your dashboard skills to the next level then check out Mynda’s Online Excel Dashboard course.

Bonus 20% Off

If you register by Thursday, May 10 it’s 20% off.

So, do yourself a favour and check out the course. I highly recommend the course, but don’t take my word for it. You can read further comments from past students and find out more here.

 

Disclosure: I make a small commission for students who join Mynda’s course via my site (at no additional cost to you), but as you know I don’t just recommend anything and everything. It has to be of outstanding quality and value, and something I can genuinely recommend. After all, if doesn’t live up to what I’ve promised you’ll think poorly of me too and I don’t want that. Oh, and just watching the course videos won’t transform your career, as if you won’t become a Master Chef by just reading cookbooks. You have to actually put it into practice, but then you know that.  

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VBA to make selected sheets “Very Hidden” in #Excel

VBA to make selected sheets “Very Hidden”;  all sheets visible

Excel Tip - VBA to veryhide sheets2

Weeks ago, I showed the way to unhide a very hidden sheet in #Excel via Visual Basic editor (VBE).  You may refer to that post HERE.  Technically we could follow the same steps to make a worksheet very hidden.  The problem is… we need to do it sheet by sheet. Think about if you want to make 10 selected worksheet very hidden, it takes quite a while (well… a minute or two is quite a while nowadays, isn’t it?).  So it’s better to have a “fast” way to do it in one click instead of repeating steps in minute(s). To achieve this, we need a few lines of VBA codes.

If you have been following my blog, you should know that I seldom write on VBA as I am not really good at it.  Having said that, I do use macros / VBA to enhance efficiency in daily work.

So in this post, I am trying to demonstrate how we can make use of the codes generated by recording a Macro and then modify it to achieve some simple codes that we need. Nevertheless, you are expected to know the very basic of macro and VBA.

Let’s see the codes first.  The codes for making selected sheets very hidden are short, as shown below:   Continue reading

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Save a Read Only copy

Excel Tip - Read Only 0

When we have created a wonderful #Excel template that is to be shared with others, we don’t want users to distort, if not destroy, the template someday.  Nevertheless we would like to leave as much “flexibility” as possible to users by not password-protecting anything on the template.  We know that some users are super creative to crack a password-protected sheet/book. 😛

Here comes Read Only to rescue.

It is simple to make a READ ONLY file.   Continue reading

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