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I struggle doing __________ with Excel. Fill in the blanks…,



As I am doing a road-trip across parts of southern India (we are in the beautiful temple town of Madurai as you read this post), here is something to keep you busy.

Fill in the blanks & post in comments.

I struggle doing _________________ with Excel.

I will go first.

I struggle doing statistical analysiswith Excel.

Now your turn.

You can leave a comment or post it on our facebook page.

And if you struggle with everything, then start with our Excel Basics & head over to Advanced Excel skills page.


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188 Responses to “I struggle doing __________ with Excel. Fill in the blanks…,”

  1. Martin says:

    Pivot tables

  2. i am learning excel and right now struggling for which formula use to when ...

  3. Stef@n says:


  4. Amit says:

    I struggle doing Date related array's with Excel.

  5. Rahim says:

    I struggle doing "Array Formulas" with Excel.

  6. Rudra says:

    Scenario Manager

  7. Sabeesh says:

    I struggle doing VBA programming in excel

  8. dan l says:

    conditional formatting and array formulas.

  9. Imran says:

    I struggle doing VBA Programming in Excel

  10. Prisha says:

    I struggle with different cell format error in my excel

  11. Prisha says:

    I struggle with" different cell format error " in excel

  12. Jay O'Neill says:

    I struggle with VBA and Array Formulas

  13. Carl says:

    I'm struggling with just about everything in Excel. I would love to just streamline some processing. I had Excel many many years ago and I forgot just about everything. I don't know simple ways to do anything.

  14. Samtheman says:

    I struggle with VBA, Array Formula and PowerPivot.

  15. Mayuri says:

    highlighting duplicates

  16. Jessica says:

    Macros make my brain hurt!

  17. Kathy says:

    I am struggling with the Combo Box on Excel. The step by step instructions provided do not work, and some of the options for setting up the combo box are not an option for me to select????

  18. Maria says:

    Nested ifs!

  19. MaryLou says:

    Time date calculations: 1. fiscal work weeks which do not align with a normal calendar year 2. how to subtract holidays from working days

    • Kerry says:

      =networkdays() function! Includes an option to refer to a list of holidays, this function saved me from ever having to count days on a calendar again.

    • Sachin says:

      I do a lot of fiscal day and fiscal week calculations, and our fiscal year starts on October 1.

      For the days elapsed in a fiscal year, I use:


      If your fiscal year begins on a different day, then change the "/10/1" to the month and day your year begins.

      To calculate number of weeks elapsed, simply use:
      INT(previous formula/7)

      To calculate weeks elapsed directly, use:


      NOTE: This returns the number of whole weeks elapsed. If you want to include the partial week, then don't use the INT function.

  20. Bharat Hadkar says:

    need to lear dashboard a to z (smipl to difficult)

  21. Jennifer says:

    Pivot tables, getting the right variable in the right section. Absolute vs relative macros.

  22. Daanish says:

    learning how to do vbasic.

  23. Wafaa says:

    Pivot tables

  24. Wafaa says:

    Pivot tables

  25. Daanish says:

    learning how to do vbasic.

  26. Pabitra says:

    Charts, especially with three variables

  27. Pabitra says:

    Charts, especially with three variables

  28. Pabitra says:

    Charts, especially with three variables

  29. Dileep says:

    Dashboards, Colour Formatting, Creating Graphs

  30. Vetrina says:

    I struggle with creating a formula, that will allow me to have a rolling balance.

  31. DJ Arnoldo says:

    I struggle with WRITING MACROS in Excel.

  32. Vijay Kutty says:


    Macros written in Euro ie , is used for decimal point and . for million,thousand, hundred separators. I am in London we use . for decimal (like in India, the real way) and , for for million,thousand, hundred separators.

    When I use my data the macros crash.

    Any suggestions?


  33. Simran says:

    I struggle using Excel in MAC? Do you think it is a good idea to use it that way?

  34. David B says:

    I struggle doing planning applications.

  35. Liam Davies says:

    Nothing. Not because I know it all, but because when I'm in Excel, I just want to play

  36. Gino says:

    FORECASTING!!! Lack of data, lack of clean data, different methodologies for forecasting, outliers, skewing factors and on and on.

    Did I mention how much I struggle with forecasting?? :^)


  37. Liam Davies says:

    Nothing. Not because I know it all, but because when I'm in Excel, I just want to play

  38. Randy Gonsalves says:

    I struggle with Embedded or Nested If statements when doing date calculations, and turning off the result if the date is not met.

  39. I struggle with array multiplication:
    I have a worksheet that is roughly 100 columns wide and 200 columns tall, and I would like to be able to get a sum at the bottom of each column that represents the sum of the product of each cell (quantity) times a common column (unit cost). Obviously, I could do it as an explicit sum of products, but what I want is to be able to use the "$" in front of the common column (unit cost), then copy down / across to create the desired column-by-column sums.

  40. Jose says:

    I struggle doing calcs with texts variables and dates variables in Excel

  41. Theo says:

    I struggle with populating a regression analysis

  42. LAURA HARRIS says:

    I also struggle with VBA , Array Formula

  43. Sivanath says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    I have process improvement project in my hand. But for that I need to write up macro script. I struggle to write it, because I don't know to wrtier macro. I have to pull data from excel and post it in mainframe window (software) and afterwards some two key strokes we do to update it. All these things I should do it by using macro. If I do sure I will get promotion in my office, Kindly do the needful, thanks.

  44. Abbey says:

    Struggle with forecasting, charts, macros and designing templates.

  45. Parag says:

    I struggle doing candlestick with Excel.

  46. Wayne says:

    I struggle with trying to create pivot tables from linked workbooks and being able to display the information the same way as if the pivot table is in the same workbook as the source data. I cannot get alpha-numeric data to display properly.

  47. Dawn Therrian says:

    I struggle with finding the best use of excel in the things that I do on a daily basis. Everytime I learn something new I am very eager to use it!

  48. Nikhilendra Yadav says:

    I also struggle in statistical Analysis 🙂

  49. Simon says:

    1) I struggle printing thin lines with Excel. Even though it's on the smallest line possible, it always print a fat ugly line.

    2) I struggle to find an easy way to create video and audio patch feild labels with Excel.

    • Rudra says:

      If you have any pdf writer as default printer(eg cute pdf writer) and if you use save as option to covert to pdf, these fat lines appear. What I have noticed is, one needs to change his default printer as "Microsoft XPS Document Writer" to get rid of this.

  50. Pedro Paulo says:

    -I struggle with getting summarized data from large databases without pivot table;

    -I struggle with getting a list of exclusives entries from a column without usind "Remove Duplicates";

    -I struggle with raffling random numbers without repetition;

    -I struggle with using Indirect function in worksheets with space in the name.

  51. Ian Mckenzie says:

    I struggle with complex nested formulas, pivot tables. But learning slowly and the aid of the great support found on here and the great forums.

  52. Hohn Halm says:

    with Excel 2013

  53. Robjowens says:

    Array formulae

  54. Sanjay says:

    I struggle with VBA in Excel

  55. OSt8Buckeye says:

    Charts and VBA

  56. Sanjay says:

    I struggle with VBA

  57. John says:

    efficient computation.
    We all know crunching .xls can be stretched as far as your computer can handle the crunching: my constant struggle is to always figure out which approach will consume less computational power in order to allow the extra million data points to be included in the analysis before the model becomes 'unusably slow'

  58. Carolanne says:

    This is a great post because I struggled with so many of the same - but thanks to Chandoo, I've masteted so much! But still learning, just not alone.

  59. doosha says:

    boss/client requirements for dashboard/results.

  60. Jeff says:

    I struggle creating spreadsheets that do not need manual calculation instead of automatic due to the size/complications of the spreadsheet with Excel.

  61. Fred says:

    DAX in Powerpivot

  62. E says:

    Effective graphs with 3rd dimension or variable

  63. lisa says:

    year on year comparisons using powerpivot

  64. manohar says:

    vba programming (module)

  65. Umesh says:

    Charts & Dashboard

  66. Tanja Skocic says:


  67. Developing an Excel timeline with milestones for multiple departments (swimlane format) with adjustable timescale (daily -> year overview). I know this is best done in MS-Project but the CEO is pro-Excel these are department based activities not resource/task.

  68. Khiera says:

    I struggle with macros. ie: taking data dumps to produce seperate sheets with nice tables.
    Also hate the way excel - not responding or hanging & auto saving when I am trying to work in it

  69. Kiev says:

    VBA, Powerpivot and good habit in processig data.

  70. John says:

    I am struggling to automate excel to split and merge files

  71. Mandy says:

    grouping of data into buckets for analysis (in an efficient way)

  72. Mayank says:

    Awesome things

  73. Chandu says:

    Can line-up many things ,will keep posted.
    This seems to be big issue these days. Could not stop changing format when I refresh I pivot albeit I select "Preserve cell formatting on update" in pivot table options.

  74. raj k says:

    I struggle doing _innovative fun_ with Excel.

  75. Kas Atpixie says:

    I struggle with exporting ACCESS data to EXCEL then generating a stunning graph (dashboard?) with labels placed near/on the appropriate bar/line and the same for the axis of the graph and then importing that stunning EXCEL graph into ACCESS. I will pay for such a solution!!!!!

  76. Md. Shajid Hossain says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    Hope you are fine.
    I need to edit some MS Word File with numeric data. I copied the file and paste it to excel, problem is all data paste as a text format, Then I have to re-write all the values. Is there any formula to do that easily.

  77. Abhi says:

    I struggle recording/creating Macros using excel.

  78. Leo says:

    UserForm with Late Binding !! I had a UserForm that I wouldn't open after the first time that it was open. That's right. Very strange behavier ... The UserForm has some Comboboxes that was filled with Late Binding. I discovered that becouse it was using Late Binding after doing any saving to the workbook If would not open again. I don't understand why. After using Early binding I had no more problems.

  79. william says:

    Macros / VBA

  80. Shekhar says:


  81. anuj says:

    I struggle with automating excel ( Macros, not using formulae like index,match to their full power) and I struggle with shortcuts ( My colleagues are much much faster)

  82. Minal says:

    I struggle using structured references and Dashboards. And also in optimizing the reports.

  83. Philip G says:

    I struggle with Indexing

  84. Ujjwal Poudel says:

    making summary from multiple sheets using PIVOT or DATA consolidate

  85. Lokesh says:

    I am finding difficulty in VBA.

  86. Kerry says:

    Designing efficient workbooks to do some of my more repetitive work, highlighting errors with conditional formatting. Just generally how to be logical and think in Excel to work through solutions. Designing tools in excel to help my coworkers who are not so interested in spreadsheets but need to save themselves time.

  87. Thierry C says:

    I struggle making editable (format) dynamic lists with Xactive control forms. As the data validation doesn't allow format changes (more as 8 rows shown) and Xactive control form do.

  88. Thierry C says:

    I struggle with using formulas with relative ranges in named definitions.

  89. Thierry C says:

    I struggle with using array formulas. I never know when to use ctrl + shift + enter and when not required.

  90. Pabitra says:

    Attempting to put streaming data into excel

  91. Gulshan Hinduja says:

    i am struggling to use excel as a robust secured tool for various processes and analysis. The macros fail so often.

  92. Mahantesh says:

    I am struggling to prepare Macro with Excel.

  93. Abhimanyu says:

    I struggle with the start itself. When I have to start working on an excel sheet, I find it hard to visualize in my mind, how the end matter would/should look.

  94. Fahim says:

    I struggle doing/writing VBA with excel...

  95. Wilco() says:

    I struggle with complex data and how to organise it into a dashboard.

    You had a few contests using quite complex data. But how to structure and understand it?!??

    And I am not clear when to use pivots or (array) formulas. And I struggle with Array formulas.

  96. Navin says:

    Charts and chart formatting

  97. Luigi says:

    I am struggling in understanding why when I am debugging the code sometimes I am not able to see all the steps (there are some instructions for which this happens, before you can go step-by-step [F8] but there are certain instructions in which you cannot.

    Why is it so Chandoo??

  98. Darryl says:

    Doing statistical forecasting in excel!

  99. Vishesh says:

    I struggle doing _________________ with Excel.

    I have created an tool in Ms-excel and took that file on e-mail, after downloading that file from my e-mail, I am unable to open that, kindly help me in this.

    Tool which I have created is very important for me.

  100. daRny says:

    i struggle with even a static bullet chart for Pearson's r in Excel. so i turned to Geogebra and it was easier and highly interactive, learning while having fun.

  101. Carol says:

    Formatting numbers, dates, for linking!!!!! Excel just changes it and I can't change it back!

  102. Krishna Teja says:

    data analysis

  103. Scott says:

    - Access to Excel, Excel to Access Automation

    - Advanced Conditional Formatting

  104. David says:

    Reading JSON data

  105. sreekhosh says:

    formulated [""] blank is not reading as blank while using isblank

  106. Cesarino says:

    I struggle doing all with Excel

  107. Michael says:

    I struggle with arrays, scenario manager and data tables. This is probably due their infrequency of use in my spreadsheets

  108. ahhhmed says:

    I struggle finding the 2nd and third rows for a certain cell value using VLOOKUP with Excel.

  109. Marsha says:

    I struggle with simple things such as...how do I just copy and paste a number... to how do I make useful, pretty charts?

    Also, I agree, very simple to complex instructions (for things such as Dashboards) would be VERY helpful. The directions can never be too simple for me!

    It might be useful if some weekly newsletters/emails were geared for the beginner--or at least include a very beginner tip now and then!

  110. PSG says:

    Engineering Functions (Commerce Background)

  111. Prasad says:

    Statistical function used in business analysis

  112. Debraj Roy says:

    I struggle doing Regular Expression Excel

  113. Jude Shyju says:

    struggling to find a formula to make a unique list from a list that have items more than once.


    • subbu says:

      Use this simple vlookup to get unique values from list.


  114. Shailendra says:

    Data Analysis. How to present data.

  115. Padmini says:

    I struggle with tailoring all the excel formulas available on chandoo.org to my need. usually examples published on excel websites are cleaned up and formatted nicely-just about right to use the formula/trick in question, but when I start with a task, often I need to tweak the formula or combine more than one excel trick from chandoo.org.

    In short, I struggle in coming up with tailoring a solution to my need

  116. Andy says:

    I struggle doing Array Formulas with Excel.

  117. MF says:

    I struggle not using Excel in my daily work... ;p

  118. devilwearsbata says:

    I struggle using right color combinations in Excel

  119. Arnab says:

    I struggle doing statistics in excel

  120. subbu says:

    I struggle using DAX formulas & Arrays.
    Love chandoo.org

  121. Anne says:

    I struggle using a scroll bar when I protect a sheet in Excel.

  122. Andrew Baker says:

    I struggle with charts, especially at year end when I have to create new charts for the coming year .

  123. Modeste says:

    I struggle using my Excel to speak french ...
    I use Windows seven 64bits and Excel 2007
    I already download French TTS, 🙁 there is always Anna

    Application.Speech.Speak "Bonjour Chandoo, Merci !!"

  124. Brian LeMay says:

    I struggle doing formula combinations with Excel. I can do some, but I have no logic to support my methods other than hit or miss. I suspect there is some logic to using multiple formulas in one cell, and would love to know of any tricks.

    Thanks for asking,

  125. Tom Styron says:

    I use Excel 2007 and am looking for ways to do the following without using VBA:

    1. Scaling chart value axis (min, max and interval)
    2. Hiding series from PivotTable chart without removing those series from the related tabular PivotTable
    3. Avoiding a PivotTable refresh deletes manually added trend lines from the related PivotTable chart

    I appreciate your solution !


  126. angela says:

    I struggle to create relationships between tables in power pivot

  127. […] want to know what you struggle to do in Excel. There are over 100 comments, so there’s lots of struggling going […]

  128. Tonie Salzano says:

    I struggle with tracking changes to functions and modules.

  129. That blank can never be filled - Excel is a vast subject.

  130. Sai says:

    automation with VBA

  131. Scooby says:

    teaching others how to use it properly... it's obvious isn't it?

    getting people to give up bad habits (stop using sumif start using sumifs)

  132. Kyle Baker says:

    I struggle with macros.

  133. Wainers says:

    I struggle with the many different ways there are to do the same thing (COUNTing, SUMming, MAXing, MINing etc). So I find what seems to be the neatest one and stick with it.

  134. Vic says:

    I struggle with modifying the custom tools [numbers] in getting ( ) around negative figures

  135. Jason says:

    Hello Sir,

    IN excel 2013 I noticed I can copy from 1 workbook to anther workbook.
    I'm pulling a file name over to another work book, and hitting save as, then I noticed what I had on my clipboard is now gone.

    Any help would be appreciated.



  136. Fahad says:

    I struggle doing ______Macros___________ with Excel.

  137. Cindy Irvin says:

    How to determine what value is an outlier. For instance, I'm analyzing 100+ shipments to see how many days it took for the shipment to arrive versus the agreed transit time - let's say 5 days. On average, 90% of the shipments arrive on time. I would like to analyze the outliers separately, but I'm not sure how to determine the outliers or the cut-off for the number of days above the agreed transit (5 days in this example). Some outliers are obvious, such as a shipment that took 20 days to arrive, but what about a shipment that took 7, 9 or 11 days? Is there a formula to determine outliers or is it an organizational decision? Thank you for your time.

  138. Vic says:

    I struggle with putting parenthesis around negative figures in accounts. It can be done using format>numbers>custom and then putting brackets around one of the custom types. It works but I have to find this each time. It's impossible to save that as a recall formula.
    Any ideas?

  139. Cesarino says:

    I struggle doing WORLD CUP 2014- Brasil, with Excel.


  140. Samantha says:

    I struggle doing/dealing with scientific formatting with Excel.

    To provide clarity - We have systems that export data into an excel format and some of our numbers turn into the old 1.00000E+XX (where XX is an actual number). What causes something to go scientfic, why do two cells the same length get different results (i.e. 1.0115E+12 vs 1.01631E+12 when bothcekks are 13 characters long)

  141. Kristie says:

    I am struggling with Macros, specifically with editing it so that it is useful to repeat and ask for input values when running it

  142. Kathy says:

    I struggle with vlookup.

    I can read about most things I want to do online and figure it out, but not vlookup. A couple of people have shown me how, and it still doesn't stick.

    My application is with student data. If I have a list of student id numbers only, I would like to be able to export a list of all student id's and names from my student information system, compare to the list of id's I have, and get the students' names. I've seen it done--I just can't wrap my mind around it.

  143. Dale says:

    I struggle with OFFSET, trying to auto update my charts & data without having to re-select the data ranges each time I add updates.

  144. John A Robinson says:

    I struggle with writing SQL to get the information I want from databases (usually OBDC, but even Access).

  145. Arindam says:

    I struggle doing forecasting using Exponential method.
    I have got a list of 150+skus for which I need to generate 12 month fore casting every month. I am doing his using regression method but want to do it using triple exponential method for better control and flexibility.

  146. DS says:

    i struggle with If then and nesting functions. I just don't seem to get them right...

  147. Beverly Flynn says:

    I struggle doing Macros with Excel.

  148. Deepa says:

    Hi, please help in making a performance score card with a Target value, weightage & difficulty level specified.

  149. Phil Gonzalez says:

    I struggle doing meaningful scatter plots with Excel

  150. DS says:

    I struggle in pasting data in only visible cells (in case of active filters)

  151. Diann says:

    I struggle with doing index formulas in named ranges.

  152. Frank says:


  153. Francisco Arevalo says:

    I am an engineer interested in (as a module to call from my current VBA program that I have to improve so others can use it) :
    Subroutine to:
    1) You are right about averages. I would want to compute the mode in a long (>10000) numbers ranging 1-200 step 1.
    2) To easiliy work GUI (with options buttons, entry boxes, lists, etc) for VBA Excel for a unexperienced user in GUI matters as me.
    3) Chart : Shadow a solid color between two curves, between curve and Left or Right margins.
    4) Chart: Multiple X axis for a curve (one or two more than existing Primary and Secondary)...all with single Y axis.

    If you or somebody give me some help or just a clue how to find out how to resolve this items, it would save me a lot of time and effort, and I would greatly appreciate it.


  154. Krishnamoorthy.R says:

    HI Chandoo, happy to know you visited Madurai my home town! Hope you have enjoyed the tasty food varieties of Madurai and enjoyed!

    I would like to Analytics (Power Pivot) using Excel and built a Defect prediction framework for Testing projects!

  155. Kerin says:

    Pivot tables! (Mostly not Excel's fault, I just never learned enough about them to use them)

  156. Dave says:

    Formulas within pivot tables or referencing pivot table data in formulas from cells not contained within pivot table.

  157. Ronald Obwoni says:

    I struggle doing linking a control with a given data in Excel.i.e for example using a drop down list contrrol, when one is selected among the list, and the rrespective data to display

  158. Ronald Obwoni says:

    I struggle linking a control with a given data in Excel.i.e for example using a drop down list contrrol, when one is selected among the list, and the rrespective data to display

  159. Vic says:

    Does anyone ever get a reply and solution to the questions posed??

    • Chandoo says:

      Hi Vic, this was a survey and not a Q&A post. We usually address reader comments in other posts, but in polls or surveys we just listen and use the questions for future posts.

      Coming to your question, the quickest way to get () around negative numbers is to use Accounting number format. You can quickly access this by pressing $ button on home ribbon, number area.

    • Hui... says:


      I know that Chandoo and I try and answer most questions both here and on the forums but from time to time we miss questions especially on days when hundreds of comments are received

      Do you have a specific question / post in mind ?

  160. Sadanand G Kini says:

    I struggle in importing data from locally connected system with Excel.

  161. Jay Ferguson says:

    I am trying to do a time stamp in column B each time something is entered in column A. However I do not want all the data in column B to change and have the same time stamp. How can I do such? Please help!

  162. Tejech Mehta says:

    Hey there, I found your blog very informative and helpful. I've read almost all your blog posts and would really love to read more of it. I suggest you also syndicate your blog on popular sites like ManagementParadise.com where you will find millions of like minded people as a ready audience. Keep Blogging. Cheers!

  163. Eduardo says:

    I struggle doing charts and graphs with excel.

  164. Dee says:

    macros & arrays

  165. Alhassan says:

    I am familiar with dashboard. I will want to learn everything about dashboard from simple to advance.

  166. Ahiraj says:

    Recently am joined in sales department, am not much familiar with the excel. Hope to get daily excel tips .

  167. yang says:

    i struggle doing dashboard / vba in excel.

  168. Trevor says:

    Efficient & fast code/design/formulas, picking a set of best practices regarind VBA and sticking to them, handling backwards compatibility for legacy users...

  169. Steve says:

    I am building a sports model, I have all the data I need, I'm just looking for a little help automating it.
    I have the following columns.
    Home Team
    Home Score
    HF (Form - W, D, L)
    HP (Points - 3, 1, 0)
    Away Team
    Away Score
    AF (Form - W, D, L)
    AP (Points - 3, 1, 0)

    For each current fixture, I want to lookup on my master data set and pull back the last 5 fixtures that team played

    eg Home Team = Last 5 times that team played at home
    and pull back Home Score into a cell, for fixtures 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5
    with 1 being the latest occurence in a list, the same for HF and HP

    Any suggestions ?

  170. Shaikhrulez says:

    Hello Chandoo, While going through your blog found this post, although its quite old. But I thought to share what bothers me.

    Could you help me learn OFFSET, INDIRECT, ROW and COLUMN Functions. I often find use of above mentioned 4 function on your blog & in forum, and they always give me tough time in understanding. Can you please help me master these four? with some examples where to use them.


  171. Nisha Shukla says:

    I am struggling with charts in excel. especially with data to accommodate in more than 2 axis (X&Y axis) and not use 3D graphs instead.

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