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Best of Pointy Haired Dilbert – 2009



Ah, you thought I will let you go to the next decade without a “year in review” post? No so fast my friend, not so fast.

[This post is a bit long by our standards, but full of gooey excel goodness. So get a cup of coffee or choco and get going]

January 2009

The year 2009 has been pivotal in PHD’s life. It all started with a friendly email from Microsoft on Jan 1st telling me that PHD become an MVP. I felt wonderful knowing that. Even though the award meant little in terms of benefits, it is a great tribute to our little community and the passion we share here.

Later in the first week we wrote a post on how to make combination charts in excel. The discussion on combo charts continued throughout the year, so much that when I posted a holiday greeting card at the end of the year, Santhosh, one of our regulars said that they card looked like a combo chart.

Most importantly we have crossed the milestone of 2000 RSS subscribers in the Jan 2009. To celebrate that I posted one hundred excel tips. That was fun (plus Jo hated me for sitting in front of computer that long).


February is fun. I started off the month with an excel twitter client. Which became a wild hit on internet (ok, not so wild, but few of the other blogs in excel community did mention it. Also, JP, the rockstar VBA blogger at codeforoutlookandexcel made an add-in out of it)

Later in the month I got too excited to discover that you can use excel data filters to make a dynamic chart. By far the cheapest and easiest way to make a dynamic chart. We continued the discussion on dynamic charts for the rest of the year and posted several ways to make them.


I celebrated the one year anniversary of “conditional formatting rockstar” post by writing 5 more posts on excel conditional formatting. The series started with conditional formatting basics and went on to talk about how you can solve 4 most common problems using excel CF.

We also started writing about excel array formulas and continued that discussion off and on. Array formulas area fun and easy to write (once you have the basics right).


This has been a dull month what with my transfer from India to Sweden and sudden lack of internet connectivity. Despite all that we wrapped our first visualization contest on budget vs actual charts and posted some really excellent charting alternatives to the familiar problem.

PHD is also featured on Lifehacker for the Excel Formulas Errors – How to handle them? post.


We have proposed “Tweetboards” as an alternative to traditional dashboards and generated good bit of discussion in May. Later several readers emailed me their tweetboard implementations. Slowly tweetboards are spreading in the wild 😉

We also rounded up all the Excel 2007 Productivity Tips.


I have stared the Project Management using Excel series in this month with Project Management Gantt Charts. The 6+1 posts soon became legendary and helped me launch the project management templates. In total these posts had more than 200 comments, 150k page views in a short time.

June also was the best month PHD’s history as the blog got featured again on Lifehacker and Delicious home pages for the Excel Mouse Tricks post. Later that month we have rounded up all the techniques you can use to convert excel files to pdfs.


We focused on charting more and had the 14 skills you must have for making better charts. I have also written about the all too familiar sumif with multiple criteria problem and some formula solutions for it.

Later that month my post on Using Excel Goal Seek and Finding how much you need for retirement got mentioned in Lifehacker and fetched me a ton of new visitors.


Thanks to Aaron, who guest posted about excel waterfall charts in August. In august, I have turned my attention towards the pivot tables and wrote Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial. I have been playing with pivots off and on for a while and this post was my first serious attempt to explore the features. Later I wrote more about them and I am planning to explore pivot tables further in 2010.

In august, we have also crossed the 5000 RSS subscriber mark and celebrated it with a huge contest. Later that month I have wrapped up all the contest entries in the Excel Formulas – 29 tips post.


I have started the month with a discussion on Pareto Charts and how to make them in excel. Later that month I wrote about Excel Data Tables features. Both of these posts attracted a lot of discussion and helped me learn valuable new tricks in excel.

Later that month, on September 24th, I became a dad. My life has been the most wonderful and beautiful ever since.


In October we wrapped up the project management series with a Project Status Dashboards using Excel. Later that month I have launched the project management templates for excel product. I met several new customers and started to believe that I can make a living out of this blog.


In November, we started our most ambitious visualization challenge ever with the Zoho Sales Data Visualization challenge. We now have more than 30 excellent entries and I am waiting for Jan4th when we announce the voting for winner.

Also I have posted about the sumproduct formula and reviewed excel 2010.


We started the month with a discussion on using drawing shapes along with charts to make better dashboards. Later in the month I have written about making a quick thermo-meter chart and posted alternatives to compare targets using charts.

Finally I have released the free 2010 calendar excel for you to download and print copies.

To wrap up,

I liked this year thoroughly. Personally it has been nothing short of an exciting ride. We became parents, Jo got promoted, we purchased small piece of land (where we are going to build our dream house) and things couldn’t be better.

Blogwise, the year is equally exciting. I am extremely thankful to all of you for being there for me and encouraging me to learn and share. I met several new people thru this medium and made new friends.

I hope the year had been a memorable experience for you as well.

I sincerely wish you a prosperous new year 2010. Thank you.

PS: Those of you who visited the site yesterday must have seen the nagging “Database error”. I am sorry, but there was a problem when I moved the blog to a different server and the DB went down for almost 24 hours. Now it is up and running smoothly. Let me know if you see something funny.


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11 Responses to “Best of Pointy Haired Dilbert – 2009”

  1. Hui... says:

    Great year Chandoo
    Looking forward to 2010

  2. Congratulations Chandoo! You've had a very productive year, at work and at home. 😉

  3. Vijay Sharma says:

    Wish you a very Happy New year Chandoo....

    may TwentyTen be the year of more exciting articles and challenges to be solved on PHD...


  4. Roger Mason says:

    Great to have you back on line Chandoo, a Happy New Year to you and your family

  5. Girish Surabhi says:

    Wish you a Very Happy New Year 2010 to u and the readers'

  6. sk1412 says:

    All the best to all 🙂

  7. Denice says:

    A Happy New Year to you and your family Chandoo. Love the picture of Jo and the babies.
    All the best

  8. Chandoo says:

    @All.. thank you 🙂 You support and love made the last year even more beautiful. I wish 2010 will be the same.

  9. darh78 says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    2009 was the year I discovered your site from a Tweet that said some abour Ninja Excel. I've discovered a very interesting were I can learn more on this tool.

    I hope you the best for you and your family, and I wish the 2010's posts will be the best ever.

    Best Regards.


  10. Clarity says:

    I wish you and your family a very happy 2010. I can't wait to see what you come up with on PHD this year.

  11. Hi Chandoo,
    I have been regularly visiting your blog since last month only and i think it is awesome...
    Wondering why i dint search 'pivot tables' before which led me to your blog...
    Happy 2010.! and you have given lots of links here for me to click through...:)

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