All articles with 'Learn Excel' Tag

Joyplot in Excel

Over on Twitter, I came across this beautiful chart, aptly titled – Joyplot. It is the kind of chart that makes you all curious and awed. So I did what any Excel nerd would do. Recreated it in Excel of course. This post takes you thru the process.

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Rounding time to nearest minute or quarter hour etc. [formulas]

Published on Jun 26, 2017 in Excel Howtos

The other day, I was building a spreadsheet to calculate FTE (full time equivalent) for staff based on hours worked on various days in a fortnight. While building the spreadsheet, I came across an interesting problem. Rounding Time to nearest minute.  We can’t use ROUND() or MROUND() to round time as these formulas aren’t designed to work with time values. Although time values are technically decimal, rounding time to nearest minute (or quarter hour etc.) can be tricky when usual round formulas. Let me share a few formulas to round time to nearest point.

Let’s say you have a time value (either user input or calculated) in cell A1.

Use below formulas to round time in A1.

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SUMPRODUCT Vs. Power Query on Mt. KauKau

Published on Jun 15, 2017 in Learn Excel, Power Query

When faced with tough problems I react in one of three ways

1. Come up with ingenious solutions
2. See if a simpler cheat solution is possible
3. Sit back and ignore

For most problems, I choose 3rd reaction. Occasionally, I rely on 2nd option and very rarely the first one.

When faced with a tricky time sheet summary problem (as outlined above), after initial lethargy I wanted to solve it.

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Jo’s first keyboard shortcut

Published on Jun 12, 2017 in Keyboard Shortcuts

Jo, my lovely wife quit her job as my partner in crime at Chandoo.org recently and took up a lucrative position at NZ govt. agency. The other day I asked her “how was your day?” when she got home. She smiled and said, “I learned my first Excel shortcut!”.
Guess what it is?

F4.

That is right. The mighty F4 key. You can use it to repeat any action.

Jo was using it to insert rows in her workbook. After inserting first row (using CTRL+ of course), she would press F4 to add more rows as needed.

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Selective Sub-totals in Pivot Tables [Quick Tip]

Published on May 2, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Pivot Tables & Charts

Recently I was creating a pivot report with multiple items in row labels area. I had to show sub-totals, but only for one of the fields. Something like above.

How to show selective sub-totals in Pivot Tables

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Avoid Hiring Boo-boos with Excel – COUNTIFS for the win [video]

Published on Apr 26, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel

Imagine you are head of human resources at Casual Contracting Co. Every month you hire a lot of temporary staff who spend 1-4 months with CCC before leaving. Sometimes you hire the same people again. Of late, you have noticed a strange process gap. You are paying same person two (or more) salaries.

This is because you are hiring a person for new temp role even before their current one ended. See above picture.

So how to avoid making such hiring boo-boos.

Simple, using Excel of course.

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Modelling Inventory Run Rate & Cash Flows using Excel

Published on Apr 19, 2017 in Analytics, Charts and Graphs

Imagine you run an office furniture company. You want to stop reordering two brands of furniture – Relaxer (a type of chair) and Boca Top (a type of table). You currently have 20,000 Relaxer chairs and 5,000 Boca Tops. These are valued at \$200,000 and \$100,000 respectively. When sold, they will yield \$100,000 and \$25,000 gross profit. You are hoping to sell them off in 2 or 3 years. You forecast that we can sell off these as per some yearly schedule.

You need to analyze this and prepare a cash flow model.

Let’s learn how to answer such open ended questions using various analysis techniques in Excel.

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There are 5 hidden cells in this workbook – Find them all [Excel Easter Eggs]

Published on Apr 14, 2017 in Excel Challenges

It is Easter time, and that means time for another fun Easter Egg hunt in the spreadsheet. For the last 8 years (since 2009), I have been running Easter Egg hunt at Chandoo.org. This year too, I have prepared an exciting egg extraction enigma for you. Check it out.

Can you find all the 5 hidden cells in this workbook?

First step. Download this workbook. There are five worksheets, each containing one egg. You need to find the hidden cell in each worksheet.

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Hide columns one one tab same way as they were in another place [quick tip]

Published on Apr 5, 2017 in Excel Howtos

One of the regular reporting tasks I do involves a manual step I hated. It goes like this:

• Dump several columns of data in the template file.
• Hide a particular set of columns (these are not together, so must be done one at a time or with CTRL+selection)
• Save and publish the file.

After doing this manually for last few fortnights, today I wanted to automate the column hide process. I was about to write a VBA macro to clone the hide settings from one workbook to another. But then I thought, may be paste special can be of use.

And what do you know. It does exactly that.

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Reshaping your data easily – Case study [Pivot tables FTW]

Published on Mar 16, 2017 in Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts

Late. Jayaram, my uncle is also a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time with him, learning all sorts of things. He taught me chess, maths and so many life lessons. I remember one such lesson very vividly.  One day, he asked me to do something. I did it in a very long way. After seeing me struggle for several minutes, he chipped in and showed me how to do it easily. He then said, “when someone asks you where your nose is, you don’t twist arm around your head. You just point to your nose directly.”

The idea is that when you have a direct, simple way to do something, you should use it.

Nose and pivot tables… how are they connected?

We are coming to the point. Read on for full case study and solution.

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Figuring out Employee Churn with Power Query [HR Analytics]

Published on Mar 13, 2017 in Power Query

Let’s say you are the people manager at ACME Inc. You are looking staff list for the months – January and February 2017. You see that we had 4,000 employees in Jan and 4,200 employees in Feb. So what is the churn?

• Is it just 200?
• Or is it the sum of people who left and who joined?
• What if you want to find out how many people moved to new designations / departments or groups?

You see, churn is tricky to figure out.

So why not invite the pros? ie Power Query.

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Lookup most frequent item [Homework]

Published on Feb 17, 2017 in Excel Challenges

Here is an interesting problem to keep your brain cells fight boredom on this Friday & weekend.

Let’s say you have some data like above.

And you want to know, for a given customer name (in cell G4),

• What is the most frequent quantity?
• What is the most often purchased item?

How would you write formulas to get these answers?

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Use CTRL to make copies of worksheets quickly

Published on Feb 15, 2017 in Keyboard Shortcuts, Learn Excel

The other day, I found myself making copies of a templated report worksheet. After trying the usual route of “right click on source sheet, select move or copy, check create a copy and press OK” a few times, I thought “well that is asinine.” So I figured, may be CTRL+Drag will create a copy. And what do you know, it does.

So that is our quick tip for the day. Whenever you need to make a copy of something, simply hold CTRL key and drag the thing.

It works for charts, drawing shapes, worksheets and even ranges.

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Published on Feb 1, 2017 in Learn Excel

We recently went on a road trip around parts of New Zealand’s north island. We have been to Taupo, Rotorua, East Cape and Napier. It took us 2 weeks, we drove more than 2,000 km and spent almost NZ \$3,000 on the trip. Of course, being a data nerd, I made a plan of the trip in Excel and that helped us budget for this.

After getting back to home, I thought it would be fun to polish the planner workbook and share it with you all so you too can plan a fabulous road trip. So here we go.

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Check for two out of three conditions (Homework)

Published on Jan 13, 2017 in Excel Challenges

Time for some logic check.

Suppose, you have three logic values in A1:C1 (TRUE or FALSE values in each cell)

You need to find out if ONLY two of these values are TRUE.

How would you write the formula?

Got an answer? Awesome. Just post your formula in the comments. Let’s see how much variety we can get from all of our readers.

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