All articles in 'Learn Excel' Category

How to create cascading drop downs in Excel – video

Published on Aug 31, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
How to create cascading drop downs in Excel – video

Cascading drop downs enhance usability of your dashboards & interactive workbooks. A cascading drop-down is a 2 or more level selection mechanism. When you have 100s of selection choices, instead of creating one massive drop down or combo-box, you can set up multiple levels of drop downs, so that users can narrow down their selection. For example, users can select Country, State and then City using cascading drop downs.

There are many ways to setup cascading drop downs. You can use formulas coupled with either data validation or form controls. You can also use Slicers. In this video we will review these techniques.

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Build models & dashboards faster with Watch Window

Published on Aug 30, 2015 in Learn Excel, VBA Macros
Build models & dashboards faster with Watch Window

Here is a familiar scenario: You are building a dashboard. Naturally, it has a few worksheets – data, assumptions, calculations and output. As you make changes to input data, you constantly switch to calculations (or output) page to check if the numbers are calculating as desired. This back and forth is slows you down.

Use Watch Window to reduce development time.

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Make a quick funnel chart in Excel to track sales performance [video]

Published on Aug 29, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel
Make a quick funnel chart in Excel to track sales performance [video]

Funnel charts are useful to visualize sales & marketing performance. In this brief video, let’s understand how to make a quick funnel chart in Excel.

Read on to learn how to make funnel charts & to download a template for your funnel analysis needs.

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Summarize only filtered values using SUBTOTAL & AGGREGATE formulas

Published on Aug 25, 2015 in Learn Excel
Summarize only filtered values using SUBTOTAL & AGGREGATE formulas

We all know the good old SUM() formula. It can sum up values in a range. But what if you want to sum up only filtered values in a range? SUM() doesn’t care if a value is filtered or not. It just sums up the numbers. But there are other formulas that can pay attention […]

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Dashboard best practice: Highlight user selection [video]

Published on Aug 20, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel

Here is a best practice to improve your dashboard usability. If you have an interactive dashboard, highlight user selections thru conditional formatting.

Check out below quick video to understand what this means.

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A simple trick to make your dashboards user friendly [video]

Whenever you have a dashboard that is quite long or spans across multiple worksheet tabs, it can be hard to use. Here is a simple trick to make your dashboards user friendly. If your dashboard has form controls, create duplicate sets of them and place them in locations where users are looking. For example, If your […]

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Format faster with paste special & double click [video]

Published on Aug 12, 2015 in Learn Excel
Format faster with paste special & double click [video]

Making your workbooks, charts, dashboards & presentations beautiful is a time consuming process. It is a mix of art & craft. Naturally, we spend hours polishing that important slideshow or visualization. But do you know about simple features in Excel that can save you a lot of time and help you create gorgeous output?

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VLOOKUP the last value

Published on Aug 11, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
VLOOKUP the last value

VLOOKUP is one of the most useful Excel functions. So much so that I even wrote a book about it. But it has one serious limitation.

It looks up the first occurrence and returns corresponding data.

What if you want to find the last value?

Say, for example, you are looking at a task assignment list and want to know what is the last task assigned to employee Emp13?

We want to extract the task “Make amazing workbook”. Of course our good old VLOOKUP stops once it finds Emp13 and returns the answer as “Create intuitive workbook”.

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Calculate sum of top 10 values [formulas + homework]

Published on Aug 4, 2015 in Formula Challenges, Learn Excel
Calculate sum of top 10 values [formulas + homework]

Analyzing top n (or bottom m) items is an important part of any data analysis exercise. In this article, we are going to learn Excel formulas to help you with that.

Let’s say you are the lead analyst at a large retail chain in Ohio, USA. You are looking at the latest sales data for all the 300 stores. You want to calculate the total sales of top 10 stores.  Read on to learn the techniques.

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How to highlight overdue items [video]

Published on Aug 3, 2015 in Learn Excel
How to highlight overdue items [video]

We, adults can’t escape three things:

  1. Deadlines
  2. Demanding bosses (replace with customers or nagging spouses or naughty kids)
  3. Taxes

While I can’t help you with demanding bosses or taxes, when it comes to deadlines, I have the right tool for you.

A tracker that highlights all overdue items so that you know where to focus your attention.

Let’s learn how to use awesome powers of Excel to find-out which items are due. You can apply these concepts to nail down over due invoices, pending project tasks or scheduling workforce.

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Announcing Awesome August

Published on Jul 28, 2015 in Learn Excel

Hi folks,

I am excited to announce Awesome August. It is a month-long effort to make you awesome in various aspects of Excel.

Awesome August - 31 days, 31 awesome posts - from

Awesome August… What is it?

For each and every day of August 2015, I am going to publish a new piece of content – an Excel tip, a formula technique, a charting solution or a productivity booster. 31 days – 31 pieces of awesome content.

Sounds Yummy? Participate in Awesome August:

There are 4 ways to participate in Awesome August

  1. Sign-up to newsletter. Get weekly emails with links to all the Awesome August content.
  2. Comment & Win: Comment on any of the Awesome August posts. 31 random commenters will each get $31 Amazon gift-card.
  3. Follow Awesome August in social media – on twitter, facebook, youtube and iTunes
  4. Ask your friends & colleagues to participate. Send them to
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How to find out if a text contains question? [Excel formulas]

Published on Jul 17, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
How to find out if a text contains question? [Excel formulas]

On Wednesday (15th July), I ran my first ever webinar, on a topic called, “How to be a BETTER Analyst?” (here is the replay link, in case you missed it).  It was a huge success. More than 1,100 people attend the live webinar and hundreds more watched the replay. As part of the webinar, we had interactive Q&A. Viewers posted their questions and I replied to as many of them as I can.

After the webinar, I wanted to make sure I covered all the questions. So I downloaded the chat history. There were more than 700 messages in it. And I am not in the mood to read line by line to find-out the questions. A good portion of chat messages were not questions but stuff like ‘hello everyone, I am from Idaho’, ‘Wow, Chandoo has beard!”, “Enjoying a beer in Belgium while watching webinar” etc. So I wanted a quick way to flag the messages as question or not.

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Please join 50 ways to analyze data course to become an awesome analyst

Published on Jul 13, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel, Training Programs

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 click here to know more about this program & enroll.

What is this course?

50 Ways to analyze your data - an online course from to make you a better analyst

It is the age of big data. Alas, what we need is big insights. But finding even small insights buried in our data is a hard task. To find the stories hidden in your data, you need to follow a process like this:

  1. Collect & clean data
  2. Structure the data
  3. Model business problems
  4. Analyze the data (or solve the problem)
  5. Visualize results
  6. Find conclusions
  7. Add layers of complexity to the problem
  8. Build what-if scenarios
  9. Reach conclusions
  10. Take action

This is where the 50 ways to analyze your data course. In this program, we analyze 50 familiar, important and diverse business situations using several of the above steps.

My goal is to make you say “YES” every-time your boss asks “Can you analyze this data and tell me what is going on?”

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Are you an analyst? Use these 25 shortcuts & tricks to boost your productivity

Published on Jul 7, 2015 in Keyboard Shortcuts, Learn Excel
Are you an analyst? Use these 25 shortcuts & tricks to boost your productivity

Analyst’s life is busy. We have to gather data, clean it up, analyze it, dig the stories buried in it, present them, convince our bosses about the truth, gather more evidence, run tests, simulations or scenarios, share more insights, grab a cup of coffee and start all over again with a different problem.

So today let me share with you 25 shortcuts, productivity hacks and tricks to help you be even more awesome.

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What is the coolest thing you made with Excel? [weekend poll]

Published on Jul 3, 2015 in Learn Excel

It is almost weekend. I am sure most of you have plans (if you are USA, wish you happy 4th of July). As for me, I am going on a 80KM (50 mile) bicycle trip to a nearby lake to watch birds on Saturday morning. On Sunday, we (kids & I) are planning to make a scrapbook from our Australian experiences.

So let me keep this nice & simple.

What is the coolest thing you made with Excel?

Go ahead and share your answers in the comments area.

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