All articles with 'screencasts' Tag
Time for some good, old fashioned VLOOKUP love. Let’s say you are writing VLOOKUP()s to get data from an unusually fat table, ie one with heaps of columns. You want to get to lookup ID in first column and get thingamajig in what is that column number. Well, better get counting from 1 and after 19 seconds and lots of squinting you arrive at column number 53 – which has thingamajig.
If this sounds like your VLOOKUP routine, check out these three amazingly simple tips to save some time and effort with your lookups.Continue »
Game for some charting awesomeness?
Off late, I have been doing a lot of data analysis and visualization on performance ratings, salary hike, gender pay equality etc. Today let me share you an awesome way to visualize massive amounts of data.
Scenario: Your organization of 3,686 people recently went thru annual performance ratings & review process. At the end of it, everyone was offered some salary increase (from $0 to $24,000 per year). You have 7 business groups. How do you tell the story of all these salary hikes in one chart?
How about the one above?
Ready to know how to create this in Excel? Read on.Continue »
Yesterday we saw a beautiful example of panel charts with R. Today let me show you how to create the same (or even better) with Power BI & R. What you need: Power BI Desktop and R Raw data set – rem-data.csv Creating Panel Charts in Power BI with R Load CSV data in to […]Continue »
Ever had a workbook with multiple protected worksheets? May be you are enterprise architect at Death Star or chief strategist at Mordor and got all the plans in a tidy little but protected workbook. Of course, you hate having to unprotect many of the worksheets every time you have a new evil plan for world domination. Don’t you worry, you can use this handy little trick to unproect en masse.
- Just open the workbook
- Go to File > Info
- Right on the top, you can see all protected worksheets and a link to unprotect them.
- Click to unprotect the ones you want to.
Let’s say you got some text values and want to extract the amounts from them. Something like above.
How to go about it?
We could use a variety of techniques to extract the values.
- Formulas – not easy given the unstructured nature of data. But almost possible. See this for an example.
- VBA – possible, read this forum discussion few ways to do it.
- Power Query – at first glance it might seem tricky, but PQ makes this all too easy. Read on.
Imagine you run an office furniture company. You want to stop reordering two brands of furniture – Relaxer (a type of chair) and Boca Top (a type of table). You currently have 20,000 Relaxer chairs and 5,000 Boca Tops. These are valued at $200,000 and $100,000 respectively. When sold, they will yield $100,000 and $25,000 gross profit. You are hoping to sell them off in 2 or 3 years. You forecast that we can sell off these as per some yearly schedule.
You need to analyze this and prepare a cash flow model.
Let’s learn how to answer such open ended questions using various analysis techniques in Excel.Continue »
One of the regular reporting tasks I do involves a manual step I hated. It goes like this:
- Dump several columns of data in the template file.
- Hide a particular set of columns (these are not together, so must be done one at a time or with CTRL+selection)
- Save and publish the file.
After doing this manually for last few fortnights, today I wanted to automate the column hide process. I was about to write a VBA macro to clone the hide settings from one workbook to another. But then I thought, may be paste special can be of use.
And what do you know. It does exactly that.Continue »
Few days ago, I saw a beautiful homemade science experiment on Sand Pendulums on Bruce Yeany‘s YouTube channel. Go ahead and check it out. It is a cool project to do with your kids.
I will try this experiment with kids during school term holidays around Easter. But first, I wanted to try the simulation in Excel.
Simulating sand pendulum pattern in Excel
Take a look at the final simulation above. This is what we will create in Excel.Continue »
The other day, I found myself making copies of a templated report worksheet. After trying the usual route of “right click on source sheet, select move or copy, check create a copy and press OK” a few times, I thought “well that is asinine.” So I figured, may be CTRL+Drag will create a copy. And what do you know, it does.
So that is our quick tip for the day. Whenever you need to make a copy of something, simply hold CTRL key and drag the thing.
It works for charts, drawing shapes, worksheets and even ranges.Continue »
I started a new consulting gig with NZ Ministry of Business (aside: when I told my daughter about this, she widened her eyes and said ministry of MAGIC!!! ). On my first day, while having lunch in breakout area, I chatted with the gentleman sitting opposite me. We got talking about this and that and eventually the topic turned to What I do at MB. So I told him that I am helping the HR with some data analysis and reporting using Excel & SQL Server. He asks me, “So you must be familiar with Excel object model”. I said, “oh, why yes”. He then asks me, “I have this problem that is bothering me for years. You see, I get a lot of data. And I use Find (Ctrl+F) to find all the cells that contain certain code. But the results are all over the place. I want to know how to extract all the finds to a target worksheet – value & address format.”
I explained him how to do this while chewing mouthfuls of rice & veggies.
But once I am home, I thought, “hey, maybe there are others out in the world who want to do this”.
So here we go.Continue »
It is election time in USA, and that means there is a whole lot of drama, discussions and of course data analysis. There are tons of cool visualizations published on all the data. Previously, we talked about “How Trump happened” chart.
Today let’s take a look at the beautiful decision tree chart by NY Times explaining what would happen if each of the 10 swing states vote for Democrats or Republicans. Go ahead and look at that chart. And when you are done playing with it, come back.
My first thought after looking at the chart is: Wow, that is cool. I wonder how we can recreate that experience in Excel?
But as you can guess, making a dynamic tree visualization in Excel is pretty hard. You can create a bubble chart mixed with XY chart to show all the nodes of the decision tree, but as this tree has 2^10 nodes at the bottom level (and 2^11-1 total nodes) our chart would look very clumsy and busy.
So, instead of replicating NY Times chart, why not make our own version that explains the data? You can reuse this idea when visualizing outcomes of several what-if scenarios.Continue »
Anyone who has made a pivot table and their grandma knows that formatting them is a pain. Let’s recap the steps to apply one of the most common formats – currency format.
- Right click on any value field
- Go to Value field settings
- Click on “Number Format” button
- Choose Currency format
- Close the boxes, one after another
Unless you get paid per click, you wont be happy with all those clicks.
Wouldn’t it be cool to just click once and apply most common format to your pivot fields?
Of course you can. Just add oneClickCurrency macro to your personal macros workbook. And then add this to your Home ribbon as a custom button and you have a one click format option for any pivot.Continue »
Over the years, we have discussed a whole heap of techniques to visualize budget vs. actual charts. Today let’s take a ride on this slope again and learn another fun, silly & awesome way to depict target vs. actual progress.
Introducing biker on a hill chart
Biker on a hill!?! Don’t worry, I didn’t fall down on a descent and lose my brain. I am talking about an Excel chart to visualize target vs. actual progress on a time line with biker on a hill analogy. See the above chart, you will know.
Looks interesting? Read on to learn how to create this in Excel.Continue »
Around 2 months back, I asked you to visualize multiple variable data for 4 companies using Excel. 30 of you responded to the challenge with several interesting and awesome charts, dashboards and reports to visualize the financial metric data. Today, let’s take a look at the contest entries and learn from them.
First a quick note:
I am really sorry for the delay in compiling the results for this contest. Originally I planned to announce them during last week of July. But my move to New Zealand disrupted the workflow. I know the contestants have poured in a lot of time & effort in creating these fabulous workbook and it is unfair on my part. I am sorry and I will manage future contests better.Continue »
So here is a news from strange but true department. Microsoft Excel blamed for gene study errors [bbc.com].
Microsoft’s Excel has been blamed for errors in academic papers on genomics.
Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates.
Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to “September 2”.
This is what happens when you spend countless hours learning genome sequencing and very little about the software tools where your data goes. May be we need clippy back to warn people about such sticky situations.Continue »