All articles with 'quick tip' Tag

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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Formatting shortcuts for keyboard junkies

Published on Mar 17, 2015 in Charts and Graphs, Keyboard Shortcuts, Learn Excel
Formatting shortcuts for keyboard junkies

A lot of analysts swear strong allegiance to keyboard shortcuts. But when it comes to formatting a spreadsheet, these shortcuts go for a toss as formatting is a mouse-heavy activity.

But we can use a few simple & effective shortcuts to zip through various day to day formatting tasks. Let me share my favorite formatting shortcuts.

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Unleash the pattern power with Excel Fill [quick tip]

Published on Jan 20, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Unleash the pattern power with Excel Fill [quick tip]

When you are a “work from home” dad, you can see a lot of patterns. Here is one.

My kids come home from school by noon (they are too young for full day school). Right after lunch they watch their favorite cartoon program, Team Umizoomi, in which few fictional characters go about solving problems in the Umi city using maths. Milli, one of the characters is an expert with patterns. She solves problems by identifying patterns and unleashing pattern power. 

Team Umizoomi & Excel Fill – How do they link up?

Here is how they link up.

Imagine you have a workbook where you need to follow a pattern, like above.

You too can unleash the pattern power. What more… you needn’t break in to a song sequence every-time you unleash the power.

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Write faster formulas with Auto-correct

Published on Jan 6, 2015 in Excel Howtos
Write faster formulas with Auto-correct

Want to write formulas faster? Here is a quick tip.

Use Auto-correct!

That is right. Excel’s auto-correct feature can be setup to help you write formulas faster. See above demo. Read on for details.

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Open & Save files faster in Excel 2013 [quick tip]

Published on Nov 18, 2014 in Learn Excel
Open & Save files faster in Excel 2013 [quick tip]

Excel 2013, the newest version of Excel as of writing this has many great features like data modeling, improved pivot tables, power view, flash fill etc. But one thing that I find very annoying is the Open & Save experience. Any time we open a file or save a workbook (which happens alot everyday), we must navigate the painful backstage screen to select our favorite folders. You see, Excel 2013 supports cloud saving. So that means, by default it will show your Office 365 or OneDrive or SkyDrive or whatever fancy new name Microsoft has for these things. But I am not so much in to clouding. Heck, I see a passing cloud in the sky and I almost run inside my house. So what to do?

Simple. We can turn off these features.

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Drag to multi-select slicer items [quick tip]

Published on Sep 29, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Drag to multi-select slicer items [quick tip]

Hola folks…

My trip to Houston & Dallas was very successful, fun & awesome. I got back home on Friday and instantly I am in another fun, awesome & happy place with my kids, Jo (my wife), rest of the family & friends.

Today, I want to share a very simple yet super awesome trick with you. I learned this from Augie, one of the Houston Masterclass participants.

You can drag slicer items to multi-select them.

Selecting multiple items in a slicer quickly

We know that slicers are powerful, friendly and fun way to filter the pivot tables, pivot charts, power pivot tables and regular tables (only in 2013). They are visual filters that can be used to instantly filter the data (or report). But when it comes to selecting multiple items, slicers can be hard. We must hold CTRL key and tap multiple slicer items one at a time to select them. At least that is how I used to do it.

Do you know we can drag to multi-select?

See this demo:

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Thank you, Houston meetup & Bonus tip

Published on Sep 12, 2014 in Excel Howtos, personal
Thank you, Houston meetup & Bonus tip

My mom will be very unhappy with this post. She always told me to focus on one thing at a time. But in this post we are talking about 3 things, not one. Sorry mom.

1. Thank you

I want to thank you for visiting chandoo.org & supporting us.

As I am about to leave to USA for attending Excelapalooza conference, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how much you have given me & my family. Almost 4.5 years ago, when I left my plush corporate job to work full time on Chandoo.org, I had no clue how the future will unfold. Today my heart is full of happiness, my family is secure, my site has grown by heaps and our community (especially you) is awesome.

Without your enthusiasm to learn and keen desire to become awesome, I would not have a job (of running this website). You inspire me to learn new things everyday so that I can share them with you.

Thank you for all the visits, clicks, comments, emails, tweets, likes, signups, purchases & love.

Thank you.

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Quickly convert numbers stored as text [tip]

Published on Sep 2, 2014 in Excel Howtos
Quickly convert numbers stored as text [tip]

Here is a quick tip to start the week.

Often, we end up with a situation where a bunch of numbers are stored as text.

In such cases, Excel displays a warning indicator at the top-left corner of the cell. If you click on warning symbol next to the cell, Excel shows a menu offering choices to treat the error.

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