All articles in 'Learn Excel' Category

Not so wild lookups [video]

Published on Feb 12, 2016 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Not so wild lookups [video]

In case, this is the first time you are hearing about Excel formula wildcards, check out the Using wildcards in Excel VLOOKUP formula tutorial.

So you know about wild cards like * ?, now how would you tell VLOOKUP to ignore them?

Say, you are genuinely interested in looking the value “* Payroll” in a lookup table. What then?

This is exactly the problem faced by Peter in our forum post VLOOKUP and cells with “*” NOT to be interpreted as wildcard

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50 ways to analyze data course opens on 24th of February, 2016 (Wednesday)

Published on Feb 10, 2016 in Learn Excel, Training Programs
50 ways to analyze data course opens on 24th of February, 2016 (Wednesday)

Hi friends & readers of

I am very happy to invite you to our newest online class, 50 ways to analyze your data. This program is aimed to make you an awesome analyst, training you on vital skills like data analysis, data science, visualization of outputs, modeling business problems and finding best solutions.

Please take a few minutes to read this. If you are interested in the program, sign up for the waiting list.

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Use slicers to create a cool selection mechanism [quick tip]

Published on Feb 8, 2016 in Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts

Most advanced Excel users know that slicers are cool. Today, let’s learn how to use slicers to create an awesome selection mechanism for your dashboards and forms.

First see a quick demo


Looks slick, eh? Read on.

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Make 1,200 dinosaurs in no time with Excel [formulas]

Published on Jan 29, 2016 in Learn Excel
Make 1,200 dinosaurs in no time with Excel [formulas]

It seems spreadsheets & dinosaurs on a collision course. How else can you explain Jon’s XKCD Velociraptor problem solved with Excel and now this. Debby, alert reader of our blog sent me this email yesterday.

I need an algebraic formula to solve this in Excel

I have 5 heads, 5 bodies, 4 arm sets, 4 leg sets and 3 tails. I need to see if I can create 1000 dinosaurs from these, and if that’s too many AND I need the 5 digit groupings to prove it and create them.
basically Xa*Xb*Xc*Xd*Xe=1000 – I’m not supposed to go over 1200. […] And then I want the 5 digit combinations if possible – right now they are trying to do the combinations by hand – would be awesome if we could do it in Excel.

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How can I help you in 2016? [Survey]

Published on Jan 5, 2016 in Learn Excel
How can I help you in 2016? [Survey]

A very happy new year to you. May 2016 be your most awesome year yet.

This year too I plan to share tutorials, tips, podcasts & videos to make you awesome. I hope to focus on

  • Excel 2016 – exploring new features
  • Power BI – What is it, how does it make you awesome.
  • Write a sequel to The VLOOKUP Book.
  • Launch a new online course on Power BI & New Excel.
  • Run 2 more batches of 50 ways to analyze data program in Feb & July 2016.
  • Run another dashboard contest on
  • Write about awesome ways to work with data – formulas, charts, tables, pivots etc.
  • Talk about many advanced and work specific Excel scenarios in the podcast

But wait, what do you want to learn more…?

While these are my plans, I want to make sure helps you the best. So please take a minute and answer this one question survey.

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2016 Calendar, daily planner Excel templates [free downloads]

Published on Jan 4, 2016 in Learn Excel

Here is a New year gift to all our readers – free 2016 Excel Calendar & daily planner Template.


This calendar has,

  • One page full calendar with notes, in 4 different color schemes
  • Daily event planner & tracker
  • 1 Mini calendar
  • Monthly calendar (prints to 12 pages)
  • Works for any year, just change year in Full tab.
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Best of – 2015

Published on Dec 31, 2015 in blogging, Learn Excel
Best of – 2015

2015 has been the busiest year since starting

Wow, that is 12 years of breaking previous records. Thank you.

In 2015, we published 124 posts (down 3% YoY), received 6,300+ comments (up 5%). Our forum too had busy year with 1000s of new members and 5,000+ new threads. podcast continued to shine, we had 24 episodes this year and reached the 50 episode milestone. Our podcast episodes has been downloaded more than 900,000 so far since launch (in March 2014) with 600,000+ downloads this year alone!!!

Fun fact: People have spent 6.8 million minutes in 2015 listening to podcast. (assuming only 50% of downloads materialized to listens)

We have trained more than 1,800 people thru my online classes – Excel School, VBA Classes & 50 ways to analyze data program.

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KPI Contest Winners

Published on Dec 4, 2015 in Learn Excel
KPI Contest Winners

Today is a school holiday for kids. So we (Jo & I) are taking them to zoo for a day of walking, picnic and family time. Before I rush, I want to share two quick announcements with you.

KPI contest winners:

Thanks for everyone who participated in our recent KPI data visualization contest. Each and everyone who made the final list is a winner in my book. You have creativity, passion and a sense of sharing.

After reviewing all the entries and considering our judge’s opinions, here are the winners:

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Pricing Tier Lookup formula

Published on Dec 1, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Pricing Tier Lookup formula

Here is an interesting twist on the good old VLOOKUP. How to find the pricing applicable for given quantity of a product?

Something like above.

Looks interesting? Then read on…

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Employee training tracker & calendar – tutorial & download

Published on Nov 4, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel
Employee training tracker & calendar – tutorial & download

Imagine you are the head of training department at ACME Inc. You arrange training programs round the year to empower your team. It is hard work, coordinating between employees, trainers, department heads, venues and coffee machines. What if there is something to help you keep track of all this? I am not talking about getting you a shiny new iPad, you silly. I am talking about a tracker & calendar built in Excel that ties everything together (well, almost everything, you still have to fill the coffee machine.)

We are going to build a training program tracker & calendar using Excel.

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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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Use NUMBERVALUE() to convert European Number format

Published on Oct 6, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel

If you deal with customers or colleagues in Europe, often you may see numbers like this:

  • 1.433.502,50
  • 9.324,00
  • 3,141593

When these numbers are pasted in Excel, they become text, because Excel can’t understand them.

Here is a simple way to convert the European numbers to regular ones.

Use NUMBERVALUE() Function.

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Excel is 30!!! – what was your earliest memory of Excel? [weekend poll]

Published on Oct 2, 2015 in Learn Excel

This week Excel turned 30. As per wikipedia,

Microsoft released the first version of Excel for the Macintosh on September 30, 1985

Let’s celebrate 30 years of Excel by reliving your first memory of it. Share your earliest memory of Excel in the comments section.

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Weighted Sorting in Excel [video]

Published on Oct 1, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Weighted Sorting in Excel [video]

Imagine you are looking customer data like below and want to sort them by performance. If you sort the data by any one column, you will not get full picture of performance. To understand which customers rank low on performance, you need to defined a weighed sort, the kind of sort where you assign weights to each attribute (customer age, recent purchases and rate of returns) and come up with single score to sort them all.

Sounds interesting? Watch below video to understand how to do weighted sorting in Excel.

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Excel Links – Dashboards book delayed edition

Published on Sep 15, 2015 in excel links

Quick update about Dashboards for Excel book:

Dashboards for Excel - advanced Excel, analysis, reporting & automation book from Jordan Goldmeier and Purnachandra DuggiralaAs you may know, my first print book – Dashboards for Excel (co-authored with Jordan Goldmeier) is supposed to release today – 15th September, 2015. But unfortunately, there is some delay with the printing process, so the book is not available yet. Our publisher, Apress, tells us that it can take two more weeks.

Thanks to all of you who pre-ordered this book. I am sorry for this unexpected delay. Just few more weeks and you will be reading it. :)

Time for another round of Excel links

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