All articles in 'Excel Challenges' Category

Extract the 10 digit number [formula homework]

Published on May 6, 2016 in Excel Challenges

Okay, time for another challenge.

Imagine you have some data like this. Each cell contains 3 numbers separated by line break  – CHAR(10) and you need to extract the number that is 10 digits long.


Go ahead and solve this riddle.

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Sumerian Voter Problem [IF formula homework]

Published on Apr 22, 2016 in Excel Challenges

Here is a simple IF formula challenge for you. Go ahead and post your answers in the comments section. Can this person vote in Sumeria? Imagine you are the chief election officer in the great country of Sumeria. You have introduced a new eligibility criteria for voters just before the grand presidential elections of 2016. In order […]

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There are seven pandas hidden in this workbook [Easter Eggs]

Published on Mar 25, 2016 in Excel Challenges
There are seven pandas hidden in this workbook [Easter Eggs]

It is Easter time again. This year, we drove to my brother’s house in Hyderabad (700 km away from my home) to spend a weekend doing absolutely nothing (we will eat copious amount of food, share family memories, laugh and laze). It is tradition to share few puzzles during Easter time, a la an Excel themed virtual Easter egg hunt. This year, I have prepared an amazing challenge for you.

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Transpose this address data [VBA homework]

Published on Jan 16, 2016 in Excel Challenges, Power Query, VBA Macros
Transpose this address data [VBA homework]

Here is an interesting problem to keep you busy.

Transpose the address data in column A into the format indicated in C:G using either VBA, formulas or Power Query. Once done, post your answers in comments section.

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How many Mondays between two dates? [homework]

Published on Dec 18, 2015 in Excel Challenges
How many Mondays between two dates? [homework]

Here is a quick but challenging homework problem for you.

Let’s say you have two dates – Start and End.

And you want to find out how many Mondays are there between those two dates (including the start & end dates).

What formula would give the answer?

Please post your formulas / VBA functions / DAX measures in the comments section.

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Can you extract numbers from text – homework

Published on Oct 30, 2015 in Excel Challenges, Learn Excel

Here is a quick homework to keep you busy this weekend.

Can you extract number of days from below text.

Nov15 PUTS (23 days)
March15 TIKS (3 days)
March1 TIKS (25 days)
June11 TIKS (10 days)

Assume the data is from cell A1.

Your solution should return the following:

Post your answers (formulas, VBA code or Power Query M code) in the comments.

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Contest: Visualize KPI data

Published on Oct 23, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Excel Challenges

Here is a quick visualization challenge for you.

There are 25 KPIs and each has a base value, current month, corresponding month values. The KPIs also have targets.

The data looks like this:

Download the data:

Click here to download the data for this contest.

Rules for this contest:

  • Visualize this data using one Excel chart (one chart per KPI is ok too).
  • You may omit any any data
  • You can use interactive charts.
  • Do not use add-ins or VBA to make your charts

Go ahead and make your chart(s).

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Calculating Billy’s total working hours [solution & discussion]

Published on Jun 22, 2015 in Excel Challenges

Few days ago, I asked you “How many hours did Billy work?” There were more than 100 responses with lots of innovative solutions.

So today, let’s examine various ways to calculate total working hours given start & end times of tasks. Please watch below video.

Calculating Bill’s total working hours (video)

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How many hours did Billy work? [Solve this]

Published on Jun 5, 2015 in Excel Challenges

Here is a simple but tricky problem. Imagine you are the HR manager of a teeny-tiny manufacturing company. As your company is small, you just have one employee in the shop floor. He is Mr. Billy. As this is a one person production facility, Billy has the flexibility to choose his working hours. At the […]

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How would you train your boss to use Excel better? [Weekend Survey]

Published on May 8, 2015 in Excel Challenges

I am in Sydney and yesterday we had a meetup of Sydney Excel users. Around 15 people turned up for the event and we talked about various Excel related topics over few drinks. One of the questions that came up was,

I learn and use Excel in better ways. But my boss doesn’t how to open the workbook and use simple stuff like filters, slicers, sorting and selecting. So I end up sending screenshots or PDFs instead of powerful Excel files. What to do?

Although we discussed various possible solutions to the problem, I thought it would be a good topic for us discuss here.

So how would you train your boss to use Excel?

Please share your thoughts, experiments, experiences and suggestions in the comments. Let’s make our bosses awesome.

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Check if 2 ranges have same values (set equality problem)

Published on Mar 10, 2015 in Excel Challenges
Check if 2 ranges have same values (set equality problem)

Hello folks,

Time for another homework problem. Assuming you have 2 ranges of values like below, how do you check if both of them have same set of values?

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What is the length of longest winning streak? [Excel homework]

Published on Jan 30, 2015 in Excel Challenges
What is the length of longest winning streak? [Excel homework]

Here is a fun problem to think about.

Let’s say you are looking at some data like above.

And you want to find out what is the longest streak of wins in the list.

How do you calculate it?

bonus question: What formula calculates when the longest streak began?

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Can you calculate the sales commission? [homework]

Published on Nov 21, 2014 in Excel Challenges

Imagine you run a cute little pastry in Rome (Italy). To boost the sales you have a 2 person sales team. Caterina & Antonio. Caterina is the manager & Antonio, her assistant. Apart from basic salary, they will also receive sales commission. This comes from a portion of net profit allocated to “incentive pool”. The […]

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Looking up when the data won’t co-operate (case study)

Published on Nov 4, 2014 in Excel Challenges, Excel Howtos
Looking up when the data won’t co-operate (case study)

Occasionally we deal with data that is so uncooperative that we might as well give up and go back to calculators & ledger books.

Recently I found myself in such a situation and learned something new.

Introducing … data that won’t play nice

Drum roll please. Here is a data-set that I got from somewhere.

The problem – build a lookup formula

And the problem. Oh, simple. Write a lookup formula to find how many customer walk-ins we have on any given day.

But how?

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What is the average speed of this road trip? [homework]

Published on Aug 8, 2014 in Excel Challenges, Learn Excel

Its homework time again. This time, lets tackle an interesting & everyday problem. Lets introduce our protagonist of the story – Jack. Jack likes long road trips, smell of freshly brewed Colombian coffee, clicky-clack sound of his computer keyboard. He hates toll plazas (they slow him down) & Potassium permanganate. And oh yes, Jack is […]

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