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All articles with 'spreadsheets' Tag

How to Lookup Values to Left?

Published on Nov 2, 2010 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
How to Lookup Values to Left?

Situation

There is no argument that VLOOKUP is a beautiful & useful formula. But it suffers from one nagging limitation. It cannot go left.

Let me explain, Imagine you have data like below. Now, if you want to find-out who is the sales person who made $2,133 in sales, there is no way VLOOKUP can come to rescue. This is because, once you search a list using VLOOKUP, you can only return corresponding items from the column at right, not at left.

One easy fix would be move the sales data to the left of person name. But this is an annoying fix, because, god knows you may want to lookup based on profit values or something else in future. A better alternative is,…

Read more to find how to solve this.

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Mix VLOOKUP with Data Validation for some magic! [VLOOKUP Week]

Published on Nov 1, 2010 in Learn Excel
Mix VLOOKUP with Data Validation for some magic! [VLOOKUP Week]

Situation

Sometimes we don’t know what we want. If this happens when I am in a bar, I usually order a cocktail. Just a mix of everything. The same will work in Excel too.

For eg. If you have lots of data, but the value you want to look up needs to change based on whims and fancies of your users, then you can resort to a cocktail. A mix of VLOOKUP with Drop down lists (Data validation)

Read more to find how to solve this.

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What is VLOOKUP Formula & How to use it?

Published on Nov 1, 2010 in Learn Excel
What is VLOOKUP Formula & How to use it?

I often tell my excel school students that learning VLOOKUP formulas will change your basic approach towards data. You will suddenly feel that you have discovered a superman cape in your attic. It is that awesome.
What does VLOOKUP really do?

Imagine you have a list of data and you want answer a question like, “How many sales did Jimmy make?”

VLOOKUP is one of the formulas you can use in this situation. VLOOKUP searches a list for a value in left most column and returns corresponding value from adjacent columns.

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Hiding Error Messages – Quick Tip

Published on Oct 28, 2010 in Excel Howtos
Hiding Error Messages – Quick Tip

I like to leave certain error messages in place because they can show you what your data is doing, but they look horrible when you print out reports. This will show you an alternative method for dealing with error messages.

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How to make a Birthday Reminder in Excel ? [Video]

Published on Oct 26, 2010 in Excel Howtos

Learn how to create a birthday reminder worksheet in excel in this video post. You can also download a template to keep track of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries.

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Excel Links – Happy Birthday Edition

Published on Oct 20, 2010 in excel links

First some personal matters. Today I am celebrating my 28th birthday. The last one year has been very good for us. We have been very busy parenting 2 hilarious and naughty twins, I moved back to India, quit my job and started a company. My business became a mild success crossing $100k revenues in 12 […]

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Learn an Excel Feature: Picture Links (or Camera Snapshots)

Published on Oct 19, 2010 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Learn an Excel Feature: Picture Links (or Camera Snapshots)

Today I want to introduce a new excel feature to you, called as Picture link.

Well, picture links are not really new, they are called as camera snapshots in earlier versions. They provide a live snapshot of a range of cells to you in an image. So that you can move the image, resize it, position it wherever you want and when the source cells change, the picture gets updated, immediately.

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Insert Currency Symbols & Other Special Characters in Excel [Quick Tip]

Published on Oct 11, 2010 in Excel Howtos
Insert Currency Symbols & Other Special Characters in Excel [Quick Tip]

Often, we need to input special symbols like €£¥©½» in to our Excel sheets. Now, how do we do that? Simple, you can use Insert > Symbol to add several different kinds of symbols. See this animation to understand how you can add symbols to an excel cell. (the file is kind of big, so […]

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Remove duplicates & sort a list using Pivot Tables

Published on Sep 27, 2010 in Analytics, Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts
Remove duplicates & sort a list using Pivot Tables

Removing duplicate data is like morning coffee for us, data analysts. Our day must start with it. It is no wonder that I have written extensively about it (here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). But today I want to show you a technique I have been using to dynamically extract and sort […]

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Show all the names & their References [Spreadsheet Audit]

Published on Sep 20, 2010 in Excel Howtos
Show all the names & their References [Spreadsheet Audit]

We all have been there. You started to build a simple workbook to keep track of an ongoing project or dashboard or something equally complicated. Even before you realize the workbook has 23 sheets and 41 named ranges all going from one place to another, like flying spaghetti monster, only less awesome. Now, how do […]

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Make your data validations dynamic! [quick tip]

Published on Sep 13, 2010 in Excel Howtos
Make your data validations dynamic! [quick tip]

Ok, since excel school 3rd batch is going to open on 15th, I wasnt going to write anything today. I have slept just 4 hours last night, blame it on work (and that funny video on youtube). But I found 30 minutes free time, so here you go, a quick but delicious tip on making your data validation dynamic.

Dynamic Data Validation?!? What in the name of slice bread and peanut butter is that?

See the demo aside to understand and read on to master the trick.

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How many hours did Johnny work? [Excel Homework]

Published on Aug 27, 2010 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
How many hours did Johnny work? [Excel Homework]

Today we have home work for you. You need to help Johnny figure out how many hours he worked on splitting atoms. He has crazy boss who is behind him for that timesheet. Now Johnny needs your help to write the correct formula so that he can tell his boss how many hours he worked and go home.

Go ahead and read rest of this post and tell your answers using comments. Go!

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Jump to Any Cell / Worksheet using Name Box [Quick Tip]

Published on Aug 16, 2010 in Learn Excel
Jump to Any Cell / Worksheet using Name Box [Quick Tip]

Welcome back. Did you have a good weekend?

We ate fish, watched a movie, had hilarious moments watching the kids and didn’t even leave the house for anything other than to buy some fish.

Coming back to Excel, I want to share a simple productivity tip with all of you. I accidentally learned this and now I use it often to speed up when I am working on large excel files.
Jump to Any Cell / Worksheet using Name Box

If you want to quickly jump to a named range or another worksheet, here is a quick trick. Just enter that name or address in the name box (top-left corner, next to formula bar). And bingo, you are on the target cell or sheet.

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What is the most unusual thing you have used Excel for? [Quick Poll]

Published on Aug 13, 2010 in Featured, Learn Excel
What is the most unusual thing you have used Excel for? [Quick Poll]

Ok. This is quick and short. What is the most weird, unusual, out of the world thing you have used excel for?

I have used excel to generate and clean a list of tags for this blog, to keep track of which movies I have seen in the IMDb Top 250 list, to simulate monopoly board game, just so I can play it better than my wife 😉 etc.

What about you? Share using comments.

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Take your Excel Baby Steps with 89 Minutes of FREE Online Training

Published on Aug 11, 2010 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel

I don’t remember when was the last time both of us (Jo and I) were this excited. And the reason?

Nakshatra and Nishanth have started taking their first steps last week !!!

It is such a joy watching them take one step at a time. Aah, the beauty of parenting 🙂

So I asked myself, “What is a good way to celebrate this without looking like a super-excited dad?” and I got my answer in 72 milli-seconds.

I have created 10 short (<10 min) videos helping you to take baby steps in Excel world. Each video introduces you to one new functionality of Excel and shows you some nice examples. Before jumping straight in to the videos, I want to share a short clip (30 seconds) of our kids taking their baby steps.

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