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How many hours did Billy work? [Solve this]

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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Changing stubborn opinions with visualizations [case study]

Changing stubborn opinions with visualizations [case study]

We, analysts take pride in the fact that we tell stories. But what if you have a boss, client or colleague who wouldn’t buy the story?

This is a problem we face often. Let’s say your boss has stubborn opinion about something, like more advertising leads to more sales. You know the data doesn’t support this theory. But how do you change your boss’ mind?

Here is an interesting way, showcased in NY Times recently.

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CP035: on Solver, its story and future – Interview with Dan Fylstra

CP035: on Solver, its story and future – Interview with Dan Fylstra

In the 35th session of Chandoo.org podcast, Let’s hear from Dan Fylstra, the creator of Excel Solver. I had the fortune of meeting Dan when I was in Santa Clara last month. I immediately asked him to be part of Chandoo.org podcast and he was kind enough to agree. So today let’s take a trip down the memory line, hear him talk about some of the fascinating all the early development stories of Solver, VisiCalc & Excel.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • Introduction
  • Early days of Solver
  • Working with VisiCalc, migration to Excel
  • What keeps Dan busy these days
  • Advice for anyone planning to learn Solver & business modelling
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Narrating the story of change using Excel charts – case study

market-share-changes-over-time

Here are three questions you often hear from your boss:

  1. What changes are happening in our business and how do they look?
  2. Do you know how to operate this new coffee machine?
  3. Why does every list has 3 items?

Jokes aside, our urge to find change in environment predates cave drawing, slice bread and Tommy Lee Jones. So, today let’s examine a very effective chart that tells the story of change and re-create it in Excel.

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Ensure cleaner input dates with conditional formatting [quick tip]

Ensure cleaner input dates with conditional formatting [quick tip]

Here is a familiar problem: You create a workbook to track some data. You ask your staff to fill up the data. Almost all the input data is fine, except the date column. Every one types dates in their own format. Here is a fun, simple & powerful way to warn your users when they […]

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

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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Use arrow keys to select small, unreachable chart series [quick tip]

Use arrow keys to select small, unreachable chart series [quick tip]

Here is a fairly annoying problem.

Imagine a chart showing both sales & customer data. Sales numbers are large and customer numbers are small. So when you make a chart with both of these, selecting the smaller series (customers) becomes very difficult.

In such cases, you can use arrow keys – as shown above.

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