All articles in 'Excel Howtos' Category

Who is the most consistent seller? [BYOD]

Published on Feb 18, 2015 in Analytics, Excel Howtos, Pivot Tables & Charts
Who is the most consistent seller? [BYOD]

Who is the most consistent of all?

Imagine you are a category manager at a large e-commerce company. Your site offers various products, but you don’t really make these products. You list products made by other vendors on your site. Every day, these vendors would send you invoices for the amount of product they have sold. Above is a snapshot of such invoices.

Looking at this list, you have a few questions.

  1. Who is the best seller?
  2. Who is the most active seller?
  3. Who is the most consistent seller?
  4. Which seller has fewest invoices?

Let’s go ahead and answer these using Excel. Shall we?

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How to consolidate data that is different shapes [BYOD]

Published on Feb 16, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Pivot Tables & Charts, VBA Macros
How to consolidate data that is different shapes [BYOD]

Last week, I asked my email newsletter readers to submit “one data analysis problem you are struggling with”. We called it BYOD – Bring your own data. More than 100 people have emailed various interesting (and often very difficult) problems. This week (between 16th of February to 20th of February), let’s take a look at some of these problems and solve them.

Consolidating data in different shapes

We can use either VBA or Excel’s consolidation features to combine data that has same shape (ie same number & type of columns). Here is one way to do it.

But what if we need to consolidate data that is in different shapes?

Something like above.

In such cases, we can use 3 powerful tools.

  1. Multiple Consolidation Ranges – Pivot Tables
  2. VBA
  3. Power Query

So let’s examine how to use these approaches to consolidate data in different shapes.

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Custom Number Formats – Colors

Published on Feb 3, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Huis, Posts by Hui, Quick Tip
Custom Number Formats – Colors

Did you know you can use Excel 95-03 Color Names or Color Numbers in your Custom Number Formats in all Excel versions up to an including Excel 2013?

This post will show you how.

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Unleash the pattern power with Excel Fill [quick tip]

Published on Jan 20, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Unleash the pattern power with Excel Fill [quick tip]

When you are a “work from home” dad, you can see a lot of patterns. Here is one.

My kids come home from school by noon (they are too young for full day school). Right after lunch they watch their favorite cartoon program, Team Umizoomi, in which few fictional characters go about solving problems in the Umi city using maths. Milli, one of the characters is an expert with patterns. She solves problems by identifying patterns and unleashing pattern power. 

Team Umizoomi & Excel Fill – How do they link up?

Here is how they link up.

Imagine you have a workbook where you need to follow a pattern, like above.

You too can unleash the pattern power. What more… you needn’t break in to a song sequence every-time you unleash the power.

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Write faster formulas with Auto-correct

Published on Jan 6, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Write faster formulas with Auto-correct

Want to write formulas faster? Here is a quick tip.

Use Auto-correct!

That is right. Excel’s auto-correct feature can be setup to help you write formulas faster. See above demo. Read on for details.

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Export iPhone contacts to Excel using this free template

Published on Dec 2, 2014 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel, Templates
Export iPhone contacts to Excel using this free template

Recently my iPhone 4 crashed. It is 3.5 years old. And just like any other 3 year old, it started acting weird & crazy one night. The next morning it went silent. It won’t go beyond the Apple logo whenever I start it. Since I couldn’t wait for the phone to start, I took out the SIM card (the phone is unlocked, if you are wondering) and placed it in my old Nokia phone. But alas, none of my contacts are on the SIM. They are in “cloud”.

After a day of answering phone calls from everyone including my mom as “Chandoo here”, I’ve decided to get my contacts back. So I logged in to iCloud to download a backup. And the backup was a .VCF file.

Since I wanted to have all my contact numbers in a spreadsheet, I did what any Excel nerd would do. I built a template that can convert VCF data to Excel worksheet.

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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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Charmed Price Problem

Published on Oct 6, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Charmed Price Problem

Here is a charming little problem to kick start your day.

Lets say you run a cute little bakery around the corner. Since you want your prices to look charming, you have a policy to round them down or up based on below rule.

If the price ends with 0, 1 or 2 cents, round it down to 9 cents.

If the price ends with 3, 4 or 5 cents, round it up to 5 cents.

If the price ends with 6, 7, 8 or 9 cents, round it up to 9 cents.

For example,

So how do you round to nearest charmed price? You could do it manually. But you would rather bake a few more of those Tiny Cup Cakes than waste time rounding the prices. So you want an automatic way to round prices. This is where Excel helps.

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CP021: How to quickly compare 2 lists in Excel

Published on Oct 2, 2014 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions, Excel Howtos
CP021: How to quickly compare 2 lists in Excel

In the 21st session of Chandoo.org podcast, lets compare lists. Quickly

What is in this session?

Comparing things is a favorite pastime for analysts all over the world. Sadly, it is also an area where we waste hours. So in this episode, I share my top secret comparison techniques to save you time.

Note: This is a short format podcast. That means you spend less time listening to it, while becoming more awesome.

In this podcast, you will learn,

  • Why I sound like I am on a secret mission at a mafia hideout.
  • 5 ways to compare 2 lists
    • Manual method
    • Conditional Formatting
    • Row Differences
    • LOOKUP formulas
    • COUNTIF formulas
  • Bonus tip: Removing duplicates
  • Conclusions
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Drag to multi-select slicer items [quick tip]

Published on Sep 29, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Drag to multi-select slicer items [quick tip]

Hola folks…

My trip to Houston & Dallas was very successful, fun & awesome. I got back home on Friday and instantly I am in another fun, awesome & happy place with my kids, Jo (my wife), rest of the family & friends.

Today, I want to share a very simple yet super awesome trick with you. I learned this from Augie, one of the Houston Masterclass participants.

You can drag slicer items to multi-select them.

Selecting multiple items in a slicer quickly

We know that slicers are powerful, friendly and fun way to filter the pivot tables, pivot charts, power pivot tables and regular tables (only in 2013). They are visual filters that can be used to instantly filter the data (or report). But when it comes to selecting multiple items, slicers can be hard. We must hold CTRL key and tap multiple slicer items one at a time to select them. At least that is how I used to do it.

Do you know we can drag to multi-select?

See this demo:

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Thank you, Houston meetup & Bonus tip

Published on Sep 12, 2014 in Excel Howtos, personal
Thank you, Houston meetup & Bonus tip

My mom will be very unhappy with this post. She always told me to focus on one thing at a time. But in this post we are talking about 3 things, not one. Sorry mom.

1. Thank you

I want to thank you for visiting chandoo.org & supporting us.

As I am about to leave to USA for attending Excelapalooza conference, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how much you have given me & my family. Almost 4.5 years ago, when I left my plush corporate job to work full time on Chandoo.org, I had no clue how the future will unfold. Today my heart is full of happiness, my family is secure, my site has grown by heaps and our community (especially you) is awesome.

Without your enthusiasm to learn and keen desire to become awesome, I would not have a job (of running this website). You inspire me to learn new things everyday so that I can share them with you.

Thank you for all the visits, clicks, comments, emails, tweets, likes, signups, purchases & love.

Thank you.

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3D Max Formula for Excel

Published on Sep 9, 2014 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
3D Max Formula for Excel

We all know about the MAX formula. But do you know about 3D Max?

Sounds intriguing? Read on.

Lets say you are the sales analyst at ACME Inc. Your job involves drinking copious amounts of coffee, creating awesome reports & helping ACME Inc. beat competition.

For one of the reports, you need to find out the maximum transactions by any customer across months.

But there is a twist in the story.

Your data is not in one sheet. It is in multiple sheets, one per month.

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Replace formulas with values with a simple wiggle

Published on Sep 8, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Replace formulas with values with a simple wiggle

Here is a very simple & fun way to replace formulas with values.

(Earlier, we talked about how to do this with keyboard)

Just wiggle.

Wiggle what?

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Quickly convert numbers stored as text [tip]

Published on Sep 2, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Quickly convert numbers stored as text [tip]

Here is a quick tip to start the week.

Often, we end up with a situation where a bunch of numbers are stored as text.

In such cases, Excel displays a warning indicator at the top-left corner of the cell. If you click on warning symbol next to the cell, Excel shows a menu offering choices to treat the error.

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Convert fractional Excel time to hours & minutes [Quick tip]

Published on Aug 19, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Convert fractional Excel time to hours & minutes [Quick tip]

Time for another quick Excel tip.

Lets say the park near your house rents tennis courts by hour. And they charge $10 per hour. At the end of an intense tennis playing week, Linda, the tennis court manager called you up and said you need to pay $78 as rent for that week.

How many hours did you play?

Of course 78/10 = 7.8 hours.

But we all know that 7.8 hours makes no sense.

We also know that 7.8 hours is really 7 hours 48 minutes.

So how to convert 7.8 hrs to 7:48 ?

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