All articles with 'quick tip' Tag

Filter as you type [Quick VBA tutorial]

Published on Aug 22, 2015 in VBA Macros
Filter as you type [Quick VBA tutorial]

Filtering a list is a powerful & easy way to analyze data. But filtering requires a lot of clicks & typing. Wouldn’t it be cool if Excel can filter as you type, something like above.

Let’s figure out how to do this using some really simple VBA code.

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Give descriptive titles to your charts for best results

Published on Aug 19, 2015 in Charts and Graphs
Give descriptive titles to your charts for best results

Here is a simple & effective tip on charting.

Give your charts descriptive & bold titles.

How to set up title that are smart & descriptive?

Simple, follow below steps.

  1. Create the title you want in a cell
  2. Select the chart title
  3. Go to formula bar, press = and point to the cell with title
  4. Press enter.
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Work with charts faster using selection pane & select object tools [quick video tip]

Published on Aug 14, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Excel Howtos

Working with multiple charts (or drawing shapes / images) can be a very slow process. But here is a secret to boost your productivity.

Use selection pane & select object tools

Selection Pane & Select Objects?

If you have never heard of these, don’t worry. These are 2 very powerful features hidden in Excel. Once you know how to unlock them, you will never look back.

How to use selection pane & select object tools to work with charts faster – Video

In this video, understand how to use these powerful features to work with charts faster.

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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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Make bar charts in original order of data for improved readability [charting tip]

Published on Aug 10, 2015 in Charts and Graphs
Make bar charts in original order of data for improved readability [charting tip]

To make friends in a new town hit the bars – Old saying.
To make sense of a new data-set, make bar charts – New saying.

Bar charts (or column charts if you like your data straight up) are vital in data analysis. They are easy to make. But one problem. By default, a bar chart show the original data in reverse order.

See the above example.

Unfortunately, we humans read from top to bottom, not the other way around.

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Declutter your reports by showing icon only

Published on Aug 9, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Declutter your reports by showing icon only

Conditional formatting is one of the most powerful & awesome features of Excel. It is very easy to setup. Naturally, people use it extensively. But the default conditional formatting rules can clutter your reports. Here is one tip that can declutter your reports.

Just show the formatting, not values.

See the above report.

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Remove duplicate combinations in your data [quick tip]

Published on Aug 7, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Remove duplicate combinations in your data [quick tip]

By now, we know how to remove duplicates from data. You can use the Remove Duplicates button to do that.

But do you know that we can use remove duplicates button to get rid off duplicate combinations too?

Remove duplicate combinations – Tutorial

To remove duplicate combinations in your data, just follow below 4 steps:

  1. Select your data
  2. Click on Data > Remove Duplicates button
  3. Make sure all columns are checked
  4. Click ok and done!

See this demo:

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Clean data quickly with Flash Fill

Published on Aug 1, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Clean data quickly with Flash Fill

Excel has many powerful & time-saving features. Even by Excel’s standard, Flash Fill is magical. Introduced in 2013, Flash Fill is a rule engine to Excel’s fill logic. Every time you type something in a cell, Excel will try to guess the pattern and offers to fill up the rest of cells for you. That is some serious time saving magic.

Let’s understand what Flash Fill is and few sample use cases.

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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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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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Use Paste Special to multiply (or add, divide etc.) a range with a variable [quick tip]

Published on Jun 16, 2015 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Use Paste Special to multiply (or add, divide etc.) a range with a variable [quick tip]

Here is a fun way to use Paste Special to quickly multiply everything in a range with 1.1 (why 1.1? Well, imagine you have a report with everything in US $s and your boss wants to see the numbers in Australian $s…)

Since your report has different formulas for each cell, you can’t multiply first cell with a rate variable and drag it down. You have to manually edit each formula and add *rate at the end of it.

Oh wait…, you can use Paste Special.

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Ensure cleaner input dates with conditional formatting [quick tip]

Published on May 12, 2015 in Excel Howtos
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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Use arrow keys to select small, unreachable chart series [quick tip]

Published on Apr 30, 2015 in Charts and Graphs
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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Find and Highlight all blank cells in your data [Excel tips]

Published on Apr 20, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Find and Highlight all blank cells in your data [Excel tips]

True story:

On Friday (17th April – 2015), I flew from Vizag (my town) to Hyderabad so that I can catch a flight to San Francisco to attend a conference. As I had 10 hours of overlay between the flights in Hyderabad, I checked in to a lounge area so that I can watch some sports, eat food while pretending to do work on my laptop. There was a gentleman sitting in adjacent space doing some work in Excel. As I began to compose few emails, the gentleman in next sitting space asked me what I do for living. Our conversation went like this.

Me: I run a software company
He: Oh, so you must be good with computers
Me: smiles and cringes at the stereotyping
He: What is the formula to select all the blank cells in my Excel data and highlight them in Yellow color

Mind you, he had no idea that I work in Excel. We were 2 random guys in airport lounge watching sports and eating miserable food.

Me: Well, what are you trying to do?
He: You see, I am auditing this data. I need to locate all the blank rows and set them in different color so that my staff can fill up missing information. Right now, I am selecting one row at a time and filling the colors. Is there a one step solution to this problem?

Needless to say, I showed him how to do it faster, which led to an interesting 3 hours at the lounge.

End of true story.

So today, let’s understand how to find & highlight all the blank cells in the data.

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Use apply names to create readable formulas [quick tip]

Published on Apr 1, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Use apply names to create readable formulas [quick tip]

We all know that using named ranges is a good practice. So you went ahead and created names for every value in your complex workbook. But now, what about those formulas which still refer to cells by their addresses? Here is a quick tip to make your formulas readable by replacing cell addresses with the names in one go.

Use Apply Names feature.

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