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9 Excel Tips & Downloads Submitted by Our Readers [Reader Awesomeness Week]

Posted on August 9th, 2010 in Charts and Graphs , Excel Howtos , Learn Excel , VBA Macros - 8 comments

Reader Awesomeness Week - Excel Tips & Downloads submitted by our readers

Last week I announced Reader Awesomeness Week to celebrate the passion, attitude and knowledge of our little community here. I got 9 interesting and beautiful entries from our readers. In this post you can see 9 tips & downloads submitted by our readers. Click on the below links to jump any one or read all of them.

  1. VLOOKUP to the left – using OFFSET and MATCH by Michael Pennington
  2. FREE Ebook on Making Better Charts by Vivek Singh
  3. Remove Blanks using this Macro by Arti A
  4. Dynamic Charts using OFFSET Formula by Jon
  5. Format Filter Alternative for Excel 2003 by Lucasini
  6. FREE Project Plan, Dashboard Template by Cyril ZEKSER
  7. Show Dynamic Messages based on Select Cells (Macro) by Tom
  8. Create Maps with Excel & Google Earth by Drew Kesler
  9. PowerPoint Dashboards by Erin

plus, these 3 were already shared with you last week.

  1. Immigrants in Denmark – Excel Info-graphic by Faheem
  2. Travel Site Dashboard – Review & Download by Francis
  3. 12 Rules for Making Better Spreadsheets by Larry

VLOOKUP to the left – using OFFSET and MATCH

by Michael Pennington

It is really just a tip that I picked up somewhere in the last few years and I use it all the time to do Vlookups that can go to the left instead of just the right. Simply an offset and match combined for the purposes of replicating a left looking vlookup. I used a nice add in to create sample data and linked to the add in within my workbook. I find myself using this instead of always reworking data sets that I receive. Feel free to use the workbook however you want, if you want to present it in another fashion or know a better way, I look forward to your input. Thanks for running such a brilliant blog.

Download Links:

reverse-vlookup.xls

Related Info:

Introduction to VLOOKUP, OFFSET and MATCH formulas

FREE Ebook on Making Better Charts

by Vivek Singh [URL]

Creating charts in excel is a skill but presenting it is also a skill. A lot of hard work that goes into making a chart will get wasted if your chart looks bad or confuses others. I have written a small e-book which can help a lot of people make the most of charts they have prepared. It contains 14 tips explained in simple language.

Download Links:

making-better-charts-14-tips-ebook | Mirror Download Link

Related Info:

Select right chart based on your data | Chandoo.org Charting Pages

Remove Blanks using this Macro

by Arti A

If you are into data crunching the way I am, you are probably running queries on databases and copy-pasting the results back into your spreadsheet. The annoying part is when there are blank spaces in a table, making it difficult to use the ctrl+up/down shortcuts to get around the table or ctrl+shift+up/down to make selections. Here’s a simple macro to take care of it. All you have to do is this, 1) Insert a new module in your Personal.xlsb file and copy-paste the macro below 2) Select several rows/columns of data containing a few blank cells 3) On your keyboard, press the following key combination – “Ctrl+Shift+E’. The blank cells in your selection should now contain zeros. Note: You can replace the blank cells with any character you want, for example a “N/A” or “-” for text-heavy tables.

Sub ReplaceZeros()
' ReplaceZeros Macro
' Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+E
With Selection.Cells
.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks) = 0
End With
End Sub

Related Info:

Delete Blank Rows in Excel

Dynamic Charts using OFFSET Formula

by Jon

We have a large group of people that we collate information around and run numerous graphs on. It was once “death by graphs” until=OFFSET(Data!C5,VLOOKUP($B$2,$A$63:$B$67,2,FALSE),’Graph Data’!$A$1)Where the vlookup looks at a table that gives exact number of rows to move down based on the selection. Result, graph is now interactive and the big cheese’s only see what they want.

Related Info:

Using OFFSET formula to make Dynamic Chart Ranges

Format Filter Alternative for Excel 2003

by Lucasini [URL]

Format Filter Technique without VBA – All Excel versions!!!!

Who said that you can’t color filter in Excel 2003 without using VBA???? In fact, you can do more than that; you can filter by font format, number format, border type, fill color, and so on with the Search and Replace Format Filter Technique. This is a fairly simple operation that can save you hours of work.
How it works? –Simple, just make a copy of the column that you want to format filter and paste it as an additional column in your data. Then, select the new column and do a Search and Replace with the Format Options activated. Type the text you want to search (special search characters allowed “?” “*”), select the format of the cell you want to search (all cell format attributes are supported) and replace the contents with some text that Excel can actually filter with the autofilter feature. Next, select autofilter and filter by that column using the replaced text.

Wow!!! A Format Filter Technique without VBA for ALL Excel versions with all cell format attributes available.Using this approach you have all the cell format parameters to play with, border styles, font styles, number styles, cell colors, even alignment and protection options.
Hope this helps you, greetings from Panamá.
SE HABLA ESPAÑOL!!! Y EXCEL TAMBIÉN!!!!

Download Links:

word doc with screenshots of this technique

Related Info:

Change Cell Formats quickly with Find Replace

FREE Project Plan, Dashboard Template

by Cyril ZEKSER

Here is my submission. This is a Gantt Tasks planner, including tracking of days spent on tasks.

I use it on my everyday job, and I build it using a lot of your techniques as well as Fernando’s (for the gantt planning)… So many thanks for this (end of compliments)It comes with a Dashboard, a Tasks tab and a remaining tab. All others tabs are either calculations or not really used. To use It you have to follow the steps:
Initialization and planning :
1. Fill the tab TASKS.(lines 1 to 23) – Enter the description and the targets (lots, versions…) in the orange cells – Enter the milestones and the versions.
2. Enter the tasks. (lines below 25). – fill field from column A to O. – fill header manually on line 25 from column P (be sure to match start date of project in I3) – Only DEV tasks are tracked in the burn down chart – add a number in column A only if you wish to follow the task in the dashboard.
3. Fill the theoretical production capacity of the team in tab CALCULOUS, line 10, from column C, in days. This is the reference of the burn down

DURING PROJECT :
4. In the dashboard, enter the reference date (mostly CTRL+; )
5. Enter the days spent on each task in the appropriate column of tab TASKS
6. If a task is done before the normal day, or need more days, adjust remaining of this task on Tab REMAININGS
7. Follow the dashboard.If you need any information, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

PS : works only in 2007+ macros. Lots of conditional formats.

Download Links:

project-plan-and-dashboard.xlsm

Related Info:

FREE Gantt Chart Template | Excel Project Management – Information & Resources

Show Dynamic Messages based on Select Cells (Macro)

by Tom

My tip is a “tip”-sheet. Based on the selected cell some help is offered to the user. In a way a more flexible way than the classic ‘input message’ in the data validation option of excel.

Download Links:

show-message-based-on-cell.xls

Create Maps with Excel & Google Earth

by Drew Kesler [URL]

Excel has allowed me to create powerful maps which make my analysis much more visual and user-friendly for upper management. When I first began using Excel for mapping, I was skeptical, as I thought the value of a map was just a pushpin in a wall. But by creating some tools to convert spreadsheet data into Google Earth maps, I began to see how powerful this analysis can be.As you can see in my workbook, Excel allows me to categorize my locations by certain characteristics. In my workbook, I have categorized In-N-Out Burger locations by year-over-year sales. I can categorize these locations into different folders so that I can narrow my view to “only locations with a year-over-year increase between 0 and 10 percent.”I can also assign my locations to different color icons. In my workbook, I assigned the In-N-Out Burger locations with Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green, according to their year-over-year sales results. When looking at my map, it is simple to pick out the high performing locations vs. other sites.The last way I have used Excel in creating this visual analysis is to embed my data into the map. In Google Earth, when you click on a location, a bubble will appear. You can embed any data you like into this bubble. So, I can not only embed the address information, but I can also add location-specific phone numbers, hours, or any other data points I have, such as sales. You can see that I have embedded all this data into my map using Excel.

In building this map, I have used a few key functions in Excel:VLookup, Concatenating or Joining Cells, If-Then Statements

Thanks to a respected William H. Gates for transforming our world with Excel! Once the Excel Template Gizmo is complete, you can upload it at TotallyAwesomeMapping.com to create your map.

Download Links:

excel-map-creation-template | upload map here

Related Info:

Maps in Excel [Clearly and Simply]

PowerPoint Dashboards

by Erin

Here are two PPT presentations I’ve setup as shows so that when a user clicks on the files it opens them up in full screen format. The charts are somewhat old and are kind of lame, but I haven’t seen anything on your site re: this technique for dashboarding.

The less elaborate show I created from scratch, the more elaborate one I used a template from DDMat (I think) and just modified it with some additional animation, slides, etc.

Download Links:

powerpoint-dashboard-1 | powerpoint-dashboard-2

Related Info:

FREE Excel Dashboard Templates, Resources and Examples

Thanks Everyone

Thank you each and everyone of you for making this a success. I have learned a great deal of excel and charting stuff over the last week and I am sure you too would have benefited some. Please drop a note of thank you if you have enjoyed any of these tips.

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8 Responses to “9 Excel Tips & Downloads Submitted by Our Readers [Reader Awesomeness Week]”

  1. longshortflat says:

    That charting formula tip (=OFFSET(Data!C5,VLOOKUP($B$2,$A$63:$B$67,2,FALSE),’Graph Data’!$A$1)) doesn’t explain much to the beginner.

  2. Lucasini says:

    Drew, excellent post, excellent work!. I worked designing electrical distribution lines for rural areas in the past for my country and I had to use large amounts of data that I collected with gps devices. Almost always some location data points are messed up so you have to do some cleaning, but, with such amount of data, how can you possibly do that??. There are some specialized packages, but, you can do the same with Excel in half the time, at 1/10 of the price, and, as an added value, you can customize your solution in any way that you need (just like you did!!). To expand your work (in an engineering way), I have to add that Excel can help a lot when drawing in AutoCad. Yes, AutoCad… The well known engineering drawing app offers you a command line (or a special command file) where you can insert (type) almost any command following a structured design. And you know what?, Excel is good for any type of strucutred content (that´s a key point that people must understand). I´ve made many complex drawings in AutoCad using this approach, effectively reducing errors, time and cost, the ultimate goal for any boss. If anyone wants to know more about using Excel with AutoCad just Google it, there are tons of experts and tons of resources that can help. Greetings from Panamá.
    SE HABLA ESPAÑOL!!!! Y EXCEL TAMBIÉN!!!!!

  3. Erin Smith says:

    Wow!!! Thanks Chandoo for posting my tip. I was so excited I called my wife and said something like, “hey honey, everyone in the world now knows who I am because of Chandoo.org” :)

    Love the site! has helped me on numerous occasions at work.

    My wife’s actually Goa’n and Armenian and can cook Indian food like you wouldn’t believe. If you’re ever in Seattle, drop me a line; would love to have you over for dinner. Bring the fam… I’ve got 3 boys under 4yrs. and they’d all have a blast.

    God Bless and keep up the good work,
    Erin.

  4. Chandoo says:

    @longshortflat: Refer to this for a detailed tutorial explaining the OFFSET dynamic chart technique http://chandoo.org/wp/2009/10/15/dynamic-chart-data-series/

    @Lucasini: thank you for the insight about using Excel with AutoCAD. :)

    @Erin: Wow, I am so happy for you :)

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks a lot, all you guys for the fantastic tips! I have to check them out soon.

    Once again, million thanks – and also to Chandoo for sharing it with us ….. normal folks :-). We need more of such sharing in this world.

    Keep it up. May the force be with you all :-)

  6. Drew Kesler says:

    @Chandoo
    Greetings Chandoo! Thank you very much for selecting our entry. :) I am one of your avid readers, in fact the more I read your entries, the more I learn. Thank you for all your tips!

    Again, keep up the good work Chandoo! I am looking forward to read more entries from this awesome site!

    @Lucasini
    Thank you for your wonderful feedback! You’re definitely right, Excel has infinite possibilities :) Good luck on your future endeavors :)

  7. DV says:

    Dear Erin,
    I can not open your templates.I really am interested in a powerpoint way but the links seem to be not working for me.Kindly help. My email Id is deependra.vikram.singh@gmail.com.Ill be highly grateful if u send them to me.
    Regards,
    DV

  8. DV says:

    It says Oops! (404)
    We can’t find the page you’re looking for. Check out our FAQ or forums for help. Or maybe you should try heading home.

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