Close this search box.

How fast can you finish this Excel Hurdles Challenge [Spreadsheet Olympics]



Excel Hurdles Challenge - Chandoo.org

Watching the Olympic athletes run & jump all I could think of is,

  • What should I eat to jump & sprint like that?
  • How come I never heard about steeple chase?
  • Should we really have 3 bullet points in all lists?

But I digress. Coming back, when watching one of those hurdles events, I got an idea as sharp as Chinese table tennis team.

Why not create a hurdles game in Excel to measure how good you are with keyboard?

So ladies & gentleman, let me present you our very own Olympics hurdle run.

Excel Hurdles Challenge

What is it?

This is a simple spreadsheet based game. Your objective is to reach from Start cell to End cell in shortest possible time, ONLY USING KEYBOARD.

Hurdles challenge eh?!? What rules I must obey?

  1. The first rule of hurdles challenge is you use ONLY KEYBOARD.
  2. You must touch cells on the red trail only.
  3. You are not allowed to land on blank cells unless.
  4. For each violation of above 3 rules, you get 1 second penalty.
  5. That is all. Happy jumping & sprinting.

Download Excel Hurdles Challenge

Click here to download the challenge workbook.

Just enable macros and get jumping.

Note: this workbook is tested in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013 and works ok.

How fast did you go?

When I tried it first time, I got 23 seconds. But after a bit of practice, I got to 17 seconds and no penalties. While I am no Usain Bolt, I feel pretty happy with result.

What about you? How fast can you go? Go ahead and take the hurdles challenge and post your time in comments.

Once you reach your personal best, go enjoy the weekend. When we meet next week, I will have something awesome, something new and something smart waiting for you.

Struggling with the hurdles? You should learn a few keyboard shortcuts.

Check out below pages to pick up some keyboard shortcuts. Once done, go back and take the challenge.

PS: If you have more time to kill, check out these Excel games.

Click to share this with your friends on Twitter


Share this tip with your colleagues

Excel and Power BI tips - Chandoo.org Newsletter

Get FREE Excel + Power BI Tips

Simple, fun and useful emails, once per week.

Learn & be awesome.

Welcome to Chandoo.org

Thank you so much for visiting. My aim is to make you awesome in Excel & Power BI. I do this by sharing videos, tips, examples and downloads on this website. There are more than 1,000 pages with all things Excel, Power BI, Dashboards & VBA here. Go ahead and spend few minutes to be AWESOME.

Read my storyFREE Excel tips book

Excel School made me great at work.

– Brenda

Excel formula list - 100+ examples and howto guide for you

From simple to complex, there is a formula for every occasion. Check out the list now.

Calendars, invoices, trackers and much more. All free, fun and fantastic.

Advanced Pivot Table tricks

Power Query, Data model, DAX, Filters, Slicers, Conditional formats and beautiful charts. It's all here.

Still on fence about Power BI? In this getting started guide, learn what is Power BI, how to get it and how to create your first report from scratch.

79 Responses to “How fast can you finish this Excel Hurdles Challenge [Spreadsheet Olympics]”

  1. [...] good you are with keyboard? So ladies & gentleman, let … … See the rest here: How fast can you finish this Excel Hurdles Challenge [Spreadsheet … ← Remove Custom Toolbar From Add-Ins Tab in Excel 2007 | DIY Tricks Tutorial 4:how to [...]

  2. dane_andrew says:

    got it in 16sec

  3. Greg says:

    18 sec no penalties

  4. Matt says:

    13 seconds, no penalties

    Gold Medal -- haha 🙂

  5. Luke M says:

    13 seconds, no penalties. Very clever with the bit about making sure all the cells get selected. I'll admit, I tried just using VB to unhide and select, but then wondered where the 16 penalties came from.

    Being sneaky, if I record a macro (still using just the keyboard!) I can use that to run the hurdles in 2 seconds. But I'm guessing that's the equivalent of using "enchancement" drugs. =P 

  6. Tes says:

    15 seconds after a few tries.  Thanks for the Friday fun and the great practice for my newest employee!

  7. Justin says:

    11 seconds 🙂

  8. anupam das says:

    23 secs

  9. Katka-e says:

    1st time - 70 sec (no penalties)
    2nd time - 23 sec (no penalties)

  10. Matth78 says:

    I think there is a problem when using an excel version which is not english.
    I was wondering why I was always getting 18 penalties and it comes from how is calculate penalties in calc sheet.
    The formula in I3 is "=pCount+COUNTIF(lstVisited,"<>TRUE")"
    I think "=pCount+COUNT(lstVisited,"<>"&TRUE)" should make it working no matter your excel language.

  11. Nadeem Shaikh says:

    First Time I tried -- 30 Seconds ( I was stuck at x & gotosheet thinking the game has ended)

    2nd Try - 18 seconds
    3rd Try - 14 Secs
    last Try - 11 Secs

    M Lovin' it...

  12. Jeff says:

    11 seconds, no penalties! /flex

  13. Tom says:

    12 seconds, 0 penalties.

  14. Jason says:

    Very fun!  Ironically I was a really good hurdler in high school and now I'm an Excel pro.  So, it should be fitting that I got NINE seconds!

  15. Kapil Israni says:

    19 sec 🙂 1 Penalty 🙁

  16. Lisa says:

    28 secs and 30 minutes of looking up shortcuts using help. for this new Excel user, I am proud of that.  Thanks for giving me a quest today.  Learning something new, and making it fun, made my day

  17. Colleen says:

    I got 14 seconds (after a few practice runs), so I'm not feeling too bad!

  18. D.Daneke says:

    That was fun. My time was 16  sec. using CTRL and ALT keyboard clicks (with one F5).

  19. Juanito says:

    Hi guys - I'm sort of the other end of the spectrum.
    I think Chandoo's hurdle challenge is one of the most interesting things he's ever done... and that's saying something!
    I'm an excel nerd (or so I thought) and it takes me more than a minute: please share the shortcut secrets!

    - Juanito

    • Chandoo says:

      Thanks Juanito.. To begin with use CTRL+Arrow keys. To select an item from drop down list, use ALT+Down arrow key. To navigate between sheet, use CTRL+Page up / Page down keys.

      And to jump to a particular cell, Press F5 and then enter the address of cell.

      • Juanito says:

        Thanks Chandoo - I was using most of the shortcuts in fact (actually end+Arrow instead of Crtl+Arrow, must be that my reflexes are slow! Got it down to 28 secs now!
        Saludos de juanito

  20. Fred says:

    I got 3,553,776,519 seconds with 18 penalties.  That's 112.69 years! 


  21. kdibai says:

    got it in 13 sec 0 penalts (after tried 3 times).

    @Juanito, try using ctrl+arrows to navigate between cells with content. This not work with blank cells.
    You can use ctrl+page down to change to second sheet too.

  22. cALi says:

    On my first try I used all those KB shortcuts you mentioned, [CTRL]+[Arrow keys], [ALT]+[Dn Arrow] or [ALT]+[PgDn], and I thought that was cheating because I made 35 penalties.

    Taking into consideration your comments I found out that my Spanish version of MS Excel is not fully compatible with the rules set in VBA.

  23. Ajith Roy says:

    I have finished it in 18 sec at 2nd try 🙂 its was awesome man

  24. shrihari says:

    I have completed in 76 sec with 10 penalties in first attempt

  25. Vijaykumar says:

    I have completed in 10 Sec

  26. jay prakash says:

    23 Seconds

  27. Ramesh Koli says:

    1st 48 then 5th attempt 18 seconds

  28. Ramesh Koli says:

    Record macro by start as normal process and then stop and record the macro save it.  now go to first sheet.... press reset button.... run macro.... it will be much faster then usain bolt.....!!!! i tried it and result was 6 second on laptop.... on desktop it will give 1 to 6 seconds

  29. ram says:

    Hey i got in 26 seconds.....

    I am ram from http://www.grandpacoins.in 

  30. Ayush Jain says:

    I did it in 16 sec after few tries.....

    Cheers...loved it..

    Excel MVP

  31. Nishanth says:

    time taken 12 secs and penalties 2 secs
    in total 14 secs..
    i couldnt do that without penalties.. can anyone guide me on how to go to C33 from M33 in second sheet without penalties?

  32. Geoff Lilley says:

    27 seconds...could have been better...

  33. Rushabh says:

    20 secs...

  34. Benoy says:

    16 sec with (9 penalty).
    This is pretty cool Chandoo. Till now I was unaware of using F5 for jumping cells. 
    Thanks for Excel Hurdles... 🙂

    • TcOwen says:

      For F5, you can also use Ctrl+G.

      How do you move from First sheet E26 over to K26?

      I think that is causing one of my penalties. 

  35. Adrian says:

    9 seconds, 0 penalties.

  36. Raghuram says:

    Completed in 16 sec with 0 penalities

  37. dwi budi says:

    16 seconds...

  38. 10 seconds 0 penalties.. was quite easy...

  39. Naresh Koganti says:

    good task, i took 16 sec.. trying hard to reduce the time.

  40. Naresh Koganti says:

    did it in 13 sec!

  41. Asar says:

    11 seconds, no penalties... 🙂
    Too late for the weekend though. 😉

  42. Darin says:

    19 seconds with no penalties on my first try. Let's get that down a bit more shall we?

  43. Sachin Warudkar says:

    Using control, up down and alt keys, managed to complete in 15 seconds. Awesome

  44. Chris says:

    Fun game Chandoo! It confirmed what I knew about myself: my fingers are slow. 23 seconds, no penalties.

  45. Sachin Warudkar says:

    13 seconds using the control + left right up down, alt + up down, ctrl G

  46. Glen says:

    I teach MSO to high school students.  So for those that have not already learned F5 for jumping to a specific cell, Ctrl+G works as what I call a "common sense" keyboard shortcut: Go To.
    The shortcut is from the "Find and Replace" family in Word and Excel (FGH); although, Excel gives Go To its own dialog box.
    Try it out in both applications.
    Ctrl+F : Find
    Ctrl+G : Go To
    Ctrl+H : Replace
    Just remember F for Find or G for Go To, and then you can use Ctrl+Pg Up/Down to switch between the other tabs (Word).

  47. Anil Managoli says:

    16 seconds (> 10 attempts later )... 🙁

  48. Sharique says:

    My best is 16 seconds without penalties so far!! 🙁

  49. Cristian says:

    17 seconds no penalties, it was tremendously fun, did it after few tries

  50. Ols says:

    This is so cool! And a fantastic website,
    To extend the challenge a bit, how about putting a bit of the track in column A, put an x in every second column on the way there (making ctrl+arrow a bit sluggish, but End as a "sprint").
    Also, it says to use drop down list in E26 but you can manually enter also, this could shave of a second and should be considered cheating:). I couldn't find an easy way to prevent this, could probably protect sheet. But I modified the dropdown list with a space in front of each letter, and also the conditional formatting. Then you need to know to enter space and x to open up next part. Is there anything in the settings for a dropdown list to prevent manual input?

  51. Alejandro says:

    6 seconds!!!!! Have tried doing it in 5 but it's near to impossible, perhaps if the clock would start running only in the first letter!!

  52. Christian V. says:

    I work on a non English version and had the same problem as Matth78, 18 penalties every time, so thanks to him, I was able correct the error in the workbook and take the "test".

    10 seconds, no penalties.

  53. Debraj Roy says:

    Hi ShorcutMaster's
    Lets Play...

  54. Rohit says:

    17 seconds, 0 penalties

  55. Chris says:

    Dear Chandoo,
    Great exercice and very good idea as usual !
    If you don't bother I will give it to my students.
    For other langages in Excel, Matth78 is right, you should amend the formula. In French Excel version, I changed the TRUE in VRAI and it is fixed !
    Best to you all.

  56. Brij Arora says:

    In 21 Seconds

    Trying to improve will update

  57. Brandon says:

    A fun exercise for sure. There should be more interactive ones like this!

    1 - 29 seconds
    2 - 18 seconds
    3 - 10 seconds
    4 - 9 seconds
    5 - 8 seconds

  58. Chirayu says:

    22 seconds

  59. xlpadawan says:

    10 seconds

  60. vishal says:

    14 seconds

  61. vishal says:

    Now 13 seconds

  62. vishal says:

    Now its 11 seconds

  63. vishal says:

    down performance with
    12 and 13 seconds in subsequent attempt

Leave a Reply