Stuff we use and recommend

Why and what is this page?

From a tiny little site in 2004, Chandoo.org grew to be massive resource on all things Excel today. Running this site is an exciting thing. Over the years, I have learned to use certain software, hardware, websites to help me maintain this site and make people awesome in Excel. Now a days, many people ask me, “Hey Chandoo, what tool do you use to do that? It looks cool.” This page is my answer to those questions.

To run Chandoo.org & other sites

Apart from Chandoo.org, I also have a few websites – excelschool.in, vbaclasses.com, startupdesi.com and others. To run all these sites, I rely on a bunch of services & companies.

GoDaddy for Domain Names & Hosting small sites

I use GoDaddy for domain registration and hosting of all my sites except Chandoo.org. I have been using them since 2008 and I am very happy with them. They provide good service, take good care of my sites and managing my sites is hassle-free.
GoDaddy - World's #1 Domain Registrar

KnownHost for hosting Chandoo.org

Nowadays, we get 1.5 – 1.7 Mn page views per month on Chandoo.org. Managing a busy site like this is a nightmare if you have little or no idea about webserver administration like me. Thanks to KnownHost, I sleep tight. My site runs on one their VPS plans and as you can see, performs very well.

I recommend KnownHost if you are planning to run a reasonably busy site.

Amazon S3 & CDN for speeding up my site, hosting large files

I use Amazon S3 for hosting all the static files of our site (like logos, css, scripts etc.) and also hosting any large files (like videos, brochures). I use their Cloud Front service to make our sites load fast.

Visit Amazon AWS page for more info & to get started.

PayPal, 2Checkout, EBS & E-junkie for my eCommerce

In order to manage various product sales, credit card payments and other aspects of running an online business, I rely on a slew of service providers.

PayPal: I have a paypal account since beginning of 2008 and I just love them. They make me focus on what I know best – Excel & making people awesome.

2Checkout: 2Checkout is backup payment processing I use and they are just as lovely as PayPal. The good thing with 2Checkout is that it works with more cards and in more countries compared to PayPal. Visit 2Checkout site for more info.

EBS: To handle payments by our Indian customers, I use EBS (E-Billing Solutions). They allow me to charge using debit, credit cards, net banking accounts and other payment options. Their fees are reasonable. Give them a try if you are running an e-business based in India.

E-junkie: I use e-junkie shopping cart system to manage all aspects of my eCommerce (other than Indian payments). They are smooth, easy and inexpensive. Visit e-junkie.com for more.

WordPress, xenforo, Excel & VBA as my CMS

Almost all my sites run on WordPress blogging platform. WordPress is incredibly powerful, feature packed, easy to use and just plain awesome. But not all portions of my sites to WordPress. I use xenForo to manage our Excel Forums.

And yes, I regularly use Excel & VBA to generate HTML, upload files and do more.

oDesk for outsourcing my work

I use oDesk, a site where I can hire people to do work for me to outsource aspects of my business that I am not familiar with or do not have time to do. For example, I used oDesk recently to hire someone to fine tune our site’s speed & security. They charged me less than $75 and I sleep sound at night knowing that I have nothing to loose. I recommend using oDesk if you are a small business owner like me and do not want to hire full time employees for everything.

Hardware & Tools I use to run my business

Computers

I have  3 computers.

SkyLine, which is my desktop has an Intel i5, 8 GB Ram and it rocks! I use Windows 7 Ultimate on this machine.

ThingLo, my new laptop is a Dell Vostro 1450. It has Intel i3, 4 GB ram and it does pretty good. I use Windows 7 Professional on this machine.

Lilo, is my iMac. I bought this in 2013 and I use it primarily to edit videos, manage photos and as a back-up computer.

Hardware & Accessories

BlueYeti Mic: I use BlueYeti Mic to record my training programs, videos. It produces excellent quality output and makes me sound awesome.

Wacom Bamboo Splash: I use this to add illustrations, write on screen during my training programs. Adds a lot of value to my videos and makes me look awesome.

iPhone 4: I use this to quickly reply to emails, record my thoughts, catch up on news and make skype calls. And it also makes me look awesome :)

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: I use this to read books, play games, browse internet or watch videos. This is small, powerful and excellent value for money.

Software I use to Run my business

Microsoft Excel – 2007, 2010 & 2013

I use Excel 2010 & 2013 on my desktop (SkyLine). On my laptop (ThongLo), I use Excel 2010. Need I tell you Excel is awesome :)

Camtasia Screen Recording & Editing Software

A big part of my work is making videos, creating screencasts & explaining things. I use Camtasia to record my training videos & screencasts. I love this software. I have been using it since 2009. It makes the process of recording, editing, producing makes very easy.

Snipping Tool

Hui uses the Windows Snipping Tool for static screenshots. It is light weight, saves files in PNG format and is available on All Vista & Win 2010 PC’s. It is available from the Start menu, All Programs, Accessories menu.

Camtasia Snagit

I use Camtasia Snagit to capture, edit, annotate screenshots for my articles & newsletters. It works beautifully and produces what I want in few simple steps. You can download a trial version from http://techsmith.com

Paint.NET

I use paint.NET to edit images, process them, add illustrations and so much more. It is one software that I have been using since 2007.

FZResizer – to resize images

Often, I have to resize multiple images to standard size. This is when I use FZResizer.

MS PowerPoint 2010 – to create brochures, illustrations and presentations

I use PPT for drawings, illustrations, creating brochures, ebooks, course material and presentations. In fact, I use PPT for a lot of my design work. One heck of a tool.

Skype

I use skype for collaboration, calling and so much more. In fact, I even have a US phone number, thanks to Skype. Read more about how I use skype to run my business.

Notepad ++

I use Notepad ++ for all the development work related to my site. It makes editing php, html, javascript code a breeze. It has so many powerful features to process text and clean up too.

Mozy – for automated backups

I have been using Mozy on all my computers since 2010 and it makes me sleep tight knowing that all my data is secure. Simple and in-expensive solution if you are looking for automated backups. I also use a backup HDD on my desktop (SkyLine) and take full backups to it every Sunday.

PuTTY – for SSH and server administration of my sites

PuTTY is an SSH & Telnet client. It is powerful and simple to use. I use this to login to my sites thru SSH (Secure Shell) and administer.

Typing Repetative Text

Both Hui & I use a small program Quick Text Paste to insert text that he uses repetitively in posts.

So next time you see “Firstly, Welcome to the Chandoo.org forums.” or “http://chandoo.org/forums/topic/posting-a-sample-workbook” know that he has just pressed the Windows+F or Windows+W keystrokes.

Browser & Add-ins

My primary browser is FireFox. I use this on all my computers (except, on iPhone with Safari and on my Tab2 with Chrome). I run the latest version of FireFox. I started using it back in 2005. It used to be an excellent browser, but nowadays, it is slow, quite memory hungry and keeps on changing. I tried Chrome, IE8, IE9, but decided to stay with FireFox for lack of a better option.

On Firefox, I use a handful of add-ins to help me work faster.

FireFTP: I use this as my primary FTP client. It is simple yet powerful. In fact, this is the only FTP client I have used since 2008. [link]

Firebug: I use this to fine tune my sites design, make changes as needed and test my code (HTML, CSS). Works like a charm and cuts my site development time a lot. [link]

S3 Organizer: I use this to login to my Amazon S3 account and add files, set permissions etc. This is my primary Amazon S3 client. I also use CloudBerry Explorer on my desktop to do more with Amazon S3 account (like setting encryption, compression, expiry options etc.). [link]

Resources & Tools I use to learn more

A good part of my work involves learning new things and experimentation. In this section, you can find some of those links.

Websites on Excel & Related topics

I follow almost all regularly updated Excel related sites thru my Google Reader. Here are a few that I recommend.

Books on Excel & Related topics

I read quite a few books (both on Excel and outside). Here is a list of recommended books if you want to learn Excel.

Recommended Excel, Charting, VBA books

What else you want to know?

I want you to know all the things I use to make you awesome in Excel. That is why I created this page. So, if you would like to anything else, please drop a comment below. I will be glad to help.

Note on the links in this page:

I have used affiliate links for some of the services & websites mentioned here. That means, if you visit the site after clicking those links and make a purchase, I will get some commission. But I love these services so much that I would have recommended them even if they do not pay me for that.

Like this article? Please sign-up for our free email news letter or add our RSS Feeds to your reading list to receive excel tips, charting ideas every weekday.

43 Responses to “Stuff we use and recommend”

  1. Abhinay says:

    I believe in my opinion no one shares what goes behind to run their websites.You are awesome being open in sharing these to us.

    Just curious,what made you to choose MS excel as the prime content for the website.

  2. Pushkar says:

    Dear Chandoo,

    Wow Chandoo you are awesome! Nobody gives such a list of tools.
    Can you please update this list with Antivirus program you use?I think it is must for Internet Savvy people like you,right??

    Thank You.
    Pushkar

  3. Mohsin says:

    I pray that you succeed with your business and enjoy it !!
    You are a true MAN.

  4. manoj verma says:

    Awesome is the only word that suits you sir !!. I am your junior at Planet-I.

  5. Chandoo says:

    @Mohsin & Manoj.. Thank you so much for the lovely words.

  6. Shaan says:

    Hello Mr.Chandoo,
    Thansk for the list.

    What Bank and type of account do you use/suggest for online payments received and other transactions.

    I would like to start a website and would like to connect the paypal account and other accounts you have mentioned above, to the bank account.

    Which bank do you suggest and what type of account do I need to open?

    Please let me know.

    thanks,
    Shaan

    • Chandoo says:

      @Shaan.. Welcome to Chandoo.org and thanks for your comment. I use ICICI & SBH to handle all payments. You can open current account with any bank (thank has IFSC, Wire transfer enabled) near your office / home. Please ask your banker about service charges, maintenance fees and any special charges applicable for receiving oversees funds. Most large banks have very low / no charges on stuff like this.

      • Shaan says:

        Hello Mr.Chandoo,

        Thanks for your reply!

        You are doing an excellent job and a good inspiration to people like me.

        Take care.

        Thanks,
        Shaan
         

  7. Shobhit says:

    This is so amazing and you are awesome.

    I was a complete newbie when I started reading your blog and now am thinking of blooging on Excel. ;)

    Thanks for such a great blog. :)

  8. Pradeep D says:

    Hi Purna/Chandoo.. Not sure what would you prefer to be called ;). I am very much impressed with your work!! No words to express. Trying to sign up for your newsletter and feed, but getting an error. Page cannot be displayed.

    Thanks and regards,
    Pradeep D 

  9. Jason Ellis says:

    Hi Chandoo. Thank you so much for sharing this information. Like you, I am setting up a site with free videos and pay videos. How do you handle the pay video access? I want it to be as seamless as possible for the users… something like this:

    - they pay for the package of videos (like your site has)
    - they can then login at my site to get to those videos, probably hosted on another site/server
    - they can parse the “paid for” list at any time, rather than having to find an e-mail I sent them with a link to each package.

    Any advice on this?

    Thanks.

    Jason 

  10. Vrunda says:

    Chandoo you r really great!!!
    you shared a lot of things . Thanks!!!!
    y
     

  11. Vrunda says:

    I want to know do u yourself create ur Websites Or some designer.????
    Which software do u use then for website creation? 

  12. Latha says:

    Chandoo Garu & everyone here

    Namaskaram,

    Your site is really great.  I honour & respect your views the way you described in this site.  You are so honest, sharing, caring & cool.

    May God bless your entire family & all the best to you Sir, 

    Thank you so much for such a lovely & awesome site.  
    This word “awesome” suits more when this word is used by yourself.

    Good word “Awesome”

    Thank you so much.

     

  13. [...] There are many other software, companies and websites that help me every day. I am really thankful to each and every one of these. Detailed listing here. [...]

  14. Graham says:

    Hi Chandoo & team,
    clearly your site is just outstanding. The information sharing is 1st class and the attention to detail is superb.
    Thanks so much and wish you every success in 2013. See you again when you are next in Australia.
    cheers
    Graham

  15. Dawn Therrian says:

    I would love to know if you can recommend anyone that does what chandoo does for excel but in word?

  16. Lesleyne Henry says:

    Hello, I signed up for all 4 classes but I cannot load the video on my I pad, please help!  

  17. Abhilash VK says:

    Hi Chandoo, I am seeing this page for almost 6 to 7 times by now but still i feel like seeing because of the good info that you have posted. You are really a good hearted and awesome as a person. Very few will share the hidden secrets like this. Thanks again Chandoo.org

  18. Rohit Jaiswal says:

    Awesome! is the right word to express your work Chandoo :) . I have a suggestion for taking Static Screenshots. Try Picpick.org. I have been using it for more than a year now and it works very efficiently with its shortcuts.

  19. elsie says:

    hi chandoo

    i am new to your site, work and your will to share. I did design a microfinance product front end and i have been looking for ways to do the backend. pls visit my site to gain an insight into what i am taking about. i used serif’s webplus 6.

    thanks

    elsie

  20. rahul says:

    brother, it is awesome work,
    meeru intha open ga cheppadam chaala great

    keep rocking brother, good n8,

  21. s y venu reddy says:

    I have very inspired by your work.

  22. Brett Ellingson says:

    What program do you use to create the animated gifs?

    I thought maybe it would be on this page but I couldn’t find it.

    Thanks!!!

    • Chandoo says:

      I use camtasia to record and produce animated gifs. It is mentioned in the list above :)

      • Brett Ellingson says:

        Great thanks!!

        I saw that Camtasia was/is one of the tools that you use. I didn’t know that you could use it to create/produce an animated gif. So very, very cool!!

        I have SnagiT but do not have Camtasia yet…I can handle $30 but the $300 price tag for Camtasia has been prohibitive for me so far. But now I have one more reason for purchasing that amazing techsmith product.

        Thanks again mr pointy haired dilbert!!!

  23. Suresh says:

    I was just telling my friend. Rarely people share their secret of success. But you did! Awesome will be a lesser word to appreciate you.

    I am also interested in MS Excel and getting experienced on a daily basis. Planning to start my blog/website related to MS Excel. Would appreciate your contribution towards my start and growth.

    E Mail: sureshkumaricwa@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Suresh.

  24. Abhay says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    Thank you for sharing this useful information.

    I tried using Camtasia Trial version. When I try to render video it really takes long and my Laptop entire CPU (100%). I am converting it to MP4 for some 20 minutes video. Tried searching on you tube but could not get appropriate answer.

    Can you please tell me does it has to do anything with i5 or RAM? I am using i3 and 4 GB RAM?

  25. Edward Richard says:

    I joined the excel school… curious if there is a way to view lessons on my ipad min… my first attempts were unsuccessful… is there an issue with accessing course materials on this device due to not being able to download anything or other reason?

    thanks,
    Ed

  26. Yash says:

    awesome article bro clean description no BS i like it the way you shared the details i got to learn many things from this article particularly about website management ,i came across your site for the first time and i am impressed ill follow your site regularly but tell me from where do i start learning excel from your tuts and which version of excel is currently and most commonly used in the in Indian companies for their day to day need ,i am a bit confused about it and as per what i came across i see major difference between excell07 and 2010 mostly facelift with a few new and useful features and i have no idea about excel 2013 never used it.

  27. Sabir says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    Its really Awesome. I have no more words to say.

    Regards,
    Sabir

  28. Dhaval Paun says:

    Hi Dear,

    I am running consulting firm in Finance and Management and Recently I subscribed to your online classes programmes. I wanted to know, if any way out possible, to host my work in excel on my website for viewing/editing/experimenting without the visitor to download the same.

    I like your blogs and looking forward to update on the post http://startupdesi.com/startup-goals-2013/ ;)

    Thanks and Regards,
    Dhaval Paun

  29. m says:

    Hi Chandoo

    What software/plugin do you use to handle membership to yuor courses? Do you use something like WP Wishlist?

    Love the site!

    Thanks

  30. […] There are many other software, companies and websites that help me every day. I am really thankful to each and every one of these. Detailed listing here. […]

  31. nadimhussain says:

    Chandoo,

    This site has been the gem of 2013 for me!

    I like the way you have embeded video animation into your site – can you tell me how you achieved this result please. Id like to be able to show training videos with a similar effect.

    Nadim

    • Hui... says:

      @Nadim
      Chandoo and I both use Camtasia Studio 7 for animations
      It is used to make animated GIF files of recorded screen captures

      Refer: http://chandoo.org/wp/about/what-we-use/

      • nadimhussain says:

        Hui,

        Many thanks with your very prompt response. I will investigate this further with Camtasia. Its the ‘animated GIF files of recorded screen capture’ that im trying to understand how you managed to have this on a site as it answers my obsticle of ‘how to i show users’ without heavily loading the server with large video files.

        Nadim

  32. Puneet Gogia says:

    Hi,
    Chandoo,

    You are a role model for me. I Just enjoying excel from last 3 years. I had found few months back that excel is the only thing which i have to do.

    Will talk to you some day if possible.

    Thanks

  33. Chakri says:

    Keep up the good work.I am glad that a fellow vizagite is rocking the online world with a awesome website which is very functional.

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