The making of the bee…

The making of the bee2

Did you know… the bee you see on top of this page is drawn with Excel using shapes?The making of the bee1.PNGThe making of the bee

Yes… these are the shapes I used to draw the bee.  What I did was to put them together… Watch this:

The making of the bee
Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dynamic Shrinking Dropdown with Dynamic Arrays in #Excel 365

The recent HOT topics about Excel should be the new Dynamic Arrays!   After watching all the amazing demonstrations about the new Dynamic Arrays, I’ve decided to sign up to the Office Insider (Fast) programme (for Office 365 subscriber only).  And I finally got it last Saturday.  I was thrilled to try it out.  Simply awesome!

Then I try to solve a problem with the new dynamic arrays – Creating a shrinking dropdown list, as shown below.

Excel Tips - Dynamic Shrinking List with Dynamic Arrays 1

It is a common task to assign people to different groups.  Once a person is assigned to a group, s/he should not be shown up again from the dropdown list in order to avoid duplication.

In “old” Excel, I needed three helper columns, with a “scary” array-formula, together with the old-school trick to create a dynamic list by using OFFSET function as Named Formula.  It took me quite a while (in terms of hour) to figure it out and make it work correctly.

With the new Dynamic Arrays in Excel 365, I need only one helper column with simple MATCH function + Dynamic Array.  And believe it or not, it took me only a couple of minutes.  Let’s see how:

You may download a Sample File to follow along IF you are on Excel 365 Insider Program.
Continue reading

Posted in Excel Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pinned Folder for #Excel 2016 – A workaround

Dear Excel 2016, you have made so many enhancements that help me a lot in work… but why you took away my favorite Pinned Folder by giving me a half page of white space?

Excel Tip - Alternative to Pin Folder for Excel 2016_0

My workplace just got upgrade to Office 2016 from 2010 (it’s a big jump although it is not yet reaching to the latest version).  I guess I am the only one in the office who is feeling excited and happy about the upgrade.  Nevertheless, I could not find my farovite Pinned Folder… which I used to have in Excel 2010… as well as Excel 365 (which I use at home).  Googled a bit and realized that the Pinned Folder is not available in Office 2016 for whatever reason.

Probably Microsoft knows that we are trained to accept limitations of Excel and most of the time we can think out-of-the-box work-around solutions indirectly…

Whenever there is obstacle, there will be work-around. (hopefully)

Although imperfect, I would like to share two alternatives for your consideration (if you are using Excel 2016, or 2013):  Continue reading

Posted in Excel Tips | 7 Comments

Prepare yourself to be an #Excel Dashboard Pro…

Have you ever had an Excel moment like this?

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 webinars (Yes, I recommend you to watch all the webinars) by Mynda.  You will find the time worthy spent as you will learn many time-saver techniques in using Excel; and also 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 2007/2010/2013/2016/2019/Office 365

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 2010/2013/2016/2019/Office 365 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, 2016, 2019 or Office 365* 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, 2016, 2019 and Office 365. Power Pivot is available with the desktop version of Excel 2010 and Excel 2013/2016 Office Professional, Office 2019, Office 365, 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 35,000 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!”


“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.”


“I presented my first dashboard to the CEO yesterday and he was ecstatic. Since we are downsizing I was very worried about my job, but after seeing his reaction…I understand that my job is secure (for now). Thanks!”

Iris Stein

Invite a Friend

Feel free to share this to your friends and colleagues and invite them to attend Mynda’s free Dashboard webinar too. They’ll thank you for it.

Dashboard Course Format

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.

It will teach you how to build amazing interactive dashboards that impress your boss, get you noticed and help you stand out from the crowd, like this incredible le Tour de France dashboard she made, which is also included in the course:


The best part, aside from the praise from your boss and colleagues ;-), is you’ll also learn loads of tips you can use in your everyday Excel work to get things done more efficiently.

What to Expect in the course:

  • The course is video based and available online 24/7
  • It comes with comprehensive Excel workbooks complete with notes
  • 5 example Excel dashboards to keep
  • There’s also an option to download the videos,
  • Plus Mynda personally provides support for the first 6 weeks of the 12 month membership.

By the way, the 6 weeks of personal support is the reason the course is only open for a limited time (registration closes Nov 15). Mynda limits the number of classes to allow time for other projects and a break every now and again. That’s not to say she won’t support you after the first 6 weeks, it’s just that it might take her a few days or a week to reply to you if she’s out of town or busy working on another course etc.


What members are saying about the course:

The previous classes have been a huge hit with many people saying how they love the cool techniques and how they’ve been able to impress their colleagues and clients by using them in all sorts of reports, not just dashboards.

“An excellent course, Mynda. You have the gift of making the complex simple to understand.
I thoroughly enjoyed your teaching. I have applied nearly everything taught.

Thank you”


“This was my first online training course and I was a bit dubious about how much I was going to learn. I have to say, minute for minute I have learnt more on this course than any other course I have been on. The way the course is delivered is exceptional and the learning material and exercises really cement the learning.

This course has without a doubt furthered my career and has allowed me to secure a permanent job based on the skills I have acquired from this course. I have already signed up to another course!


Ryan Cunningham

You can read further comments from past students and find out more here.

Bonus 20% Off

If you register by Thursday, Nov 8 it’s 20% off .

So, do yourself a favour and check out the course. The course is awesome and it’ll transform your Excel reports and possibly even your Excel career.


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.  


Posted in General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Trick or Treat 2018

♪♫ This is Halloween, this is Halloween ♪♫♬
♪♫ Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! ♪♫

Please join me to welcome our special guest – Jack Skellington, appears on wmfexcel’s Excel sheet.

Excel Trick or Treat 2018_1

♪♫♬Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song ♪♫♬

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Exciting Dynamic Array functions in #Excel 365

Have you heard of the new Dynamic Array functions recently available in Excel 365 (currently for Insider Fast users only)?

If you are an advanced Excel user, you will be impressed by these new functions.  They are simply awesome, super powerful and have lots of potential to solve “used-to-be” complicated problems in Excel with ease.

Leila Gharani has great example to show you how the Dynamic Array functions saves 30+ minutes of time in solving a complex problem, comparing to using traditional array formulas.   Check this out from her YouTube video:  Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learn something new from something that I think I knew well…

Today is a public holiday in Hong Kong.  A perfect break in the middle of a busy week.  What did I do on a public holiday?  Excel, Excel and Excel. 🙂

I watched a few videos from my favourite YouTube channels, and learned something new (to me).  Probably you think I learned some cool new features of Excel 365.  Yes I did.  Although the new features are really impressive, they are not as much as surprising than a simple trick I learned from a video in Excelisfun.

It is s a simple trick to return blank instead of “0” when a formula references to an empty cell. Continue reading

Posted in Formula | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Calculating CAGR with Goal Seek in #Excel

when the starting point is a negative number…

Calculating CAGR is not difficult, all we need is the starting value, ending value and the number of periods.  Then we use the formula:

CAGR = (Ending Value / Beginning Value ) ^ (1 / N) -1 
where N is the number of periods to reach the ending period

CAGR stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate.  The formula does not require any values in between because it does not matter.  It is a “backward” calculation for the “average” annual growth with known figures.  In other words, if I have $100 on the first year and it magically becomes $300 by the end of the fourth year , and CAGR will be: 31.61%.

Excel Tips - Calculating CAGR with Goal Seek

To validate if the result is correct, I work “forward” by calculating the value of each year by applying the growth rate of 31.61%.  We can do it in Excel easily:

Excel Tips - Calculating CAGR with Goal Seek1

Note: the second formula (in C3) is referencing to C2, not B1.  From C3, you may copy the formula down.

I always do this kind of validation in order to double click the result.  I am not in doubt with the formula (which has been proven correct); I am in doubt with myself… As human, it’s so easy to make “human” error.

Well, the validation gives me peace of mind by returning consistent results, even with different values input…

Excel Tips - Calculating CAGR with Goal Seek3

Everything works fine until…. a negative value is input:

Excel Tips - Calculating CAGR with Goal Seek2

Well, if you are a finance (or math) people, you may pinpoint that CAGR cannot be computed from a negative starting value… we should start from first positive value and adjust the number of period accordingly.  Totally agree.

However, in real world situation, the requester (probably your boss) is not a finance nor a math people.  S/he just gives you three values and asks for the answer.  So the question is: Can we still do the calculation is an efficient way with Excel, when the starting value is a negative number?  Of course.

Goal Seek comes to rescue.

Continue reading

Posted in Excel Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Excel Humor #7 just happened to me…

Two years ago… I posted this:


which turned out a real case to me last week… I printed 99 pages of report out of one worksheet by selecting 99 items on a slicer one by one. @_@

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Adding worksheet background in #Excel

How to add worksheet background in #Excel?

Excel Tips - Insert worksheet background

If there is a secret recipe for an interesting Excel training, it would probably be starting with something interesting… 🙂

So in a recent in-house training, I’ve prepared a special Sheet1 in the working file.  Like the one above.  Guess what, many participants asked instantly how to make that.

To add background to a worksheet is easy.  Simply go to  Continue reading

Posted in Excel Tips | 4 Comments

Three days in paradise…

Note: This is not an Excel post.

I am back from holiday, physically 🙂

I went to a very remote village called YuBeng in Yunnan, China.  It’s a village 3200M above sea level.  To get to there wasn’t easy.  Not to mention the traveling time on flight, coach, minibus, and mini mini bus… the real challenge was the final part of the journey –  a six-hour hike on high altitude.  You know what, two-third of the trail was uphill.  And I was carrying my backpack weighted about 10kg.

Like learning Excel, no pain no gain.  Notwithstanding all the sweats and efforts, the result (scenery) pays off.  Some photos to share.


Btw, I’ve just got my new laptop.  That means I can resume writing Excel posts.  Stay tuned. 🙂

Posted in General | Leave a comment

[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

Posted in General | Leave a comment

5 years of blogging

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


Posted in General | Leave a comment

[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’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. 🙂

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

(: 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.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

#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.  😛

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Excel Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Power Query | 2 Comments

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:

  • 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

Posted in Formula | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Excel Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment