Sunday, 8 September 2013

Camera Tool in Excel

Camera tool is your way of creating visual reference in an excel sheet. It is one of the useful and hidden features of excel. Here is how it works. You specify a rectangular area in your workbook and camera tool creates a mirror image of that area as a drawing object. You can move it or resize it. And whenever the contents of original rectangular area changes (charts, drawings or cell values) the mirror image changes too.
How to add camera tool to standard toolbar?
In order to use camera tool, you must add the tool to a tool bar in excel menu area. Here is how you can do that:
  1. Go to menu > tools > customize
  2. In the dialog go to “Commands” tab and select “tools” in categories.
  3. Scroll down in the commands area until you see a little camera tool
  4. Now drag and drop this in your tool bar as shown below
Adding Camera tool to Excel Toolbar

How to use excel camera tool?

We will use camera tool to create a micro-chart in excel.
  1. First make a normal chart.
  2. Now select the cells surrounding the chart
  3. Click on camera tool
  4. Now click any where in the worksheet and excel places a snapshot of the range you have selected
  5. Resize it until you get the microchart effect.
  6. Bingo !
  7. Btw, excel adds a border to the camera tool output. You can remove it by using drawing tool bar

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Excel Formulae to Solve the Situational Needs

26. To get the first name of a person, use =left(name,find(” “,name)-1)
27. To calculate mortgage payments, use =PMT(interest-rate,number-of-payments,how-much-loan)
28. To get nth largest number in a range, use =large(range,n)
29. To get nth smallest number in a range, use = small(range,n)
30. To generate a random phone number, use =randbetween(1000000000,9999999999), needs analysis toolpak if you are using excel 2003 or earlier… 
31. To count number of words in a cell, use =len(trim(text))-len(SUBSTITUTE(trim(text),” “,”"))
32. To count positive values in a range, use =countif(range,”>0″)
33. To calculate weighted average, use SUMPRODUCT() function
34. To remove unnecessary spaces, use =trim(text)
35. To format a number as SSN using formulas, use =text(ssn-text,”000-00-0000″)
36. To find age of a person based on DOB, use =TEXT((NOW()-birth_date)&”",”yy “”years”" m “”months”" dd “”days”"”), output will be like 27 years 7 months 29 days
37. To get name from initials from a name, use IF(), FIND(), LEN() and SUBSTITUTE() formulas
38. To get proper fraction from a number (for eg 1/3 from 6/18), use =text(fraction, “?/?”)
39. To get partial matches in vlookup, use * operator like this: =vlookup(“abc*”,lookup_range,return_column)
40. To simulate averageif() in earlier versions of excel, use =sumif(range, criteria)/countif(range, criteria)
41. To debug your formulas, select the portions of formula and press F9 to see the result of that portion
42. To get the file extension from a file name, use =right(filename,3) (doesn’t work for files that have weird extensions like .docx, .htaccess etc.)
43. To quickly insert an in cell micro-chart, use REPT() function
44. COUNT() only counts number of cells with numbers in them, if you want to count number of cells with anything in them, use COUNTA()
45. Using named ranges in formulas saves you a lot of time. To define one, just select some cells, and go to menu > insert > named ranges > define

Friday, 6 September 2013

Excel Useful Shortcut Keys

1. To format any selected object, press ctrl+1
2. To insert current date, press ctrl+;
3. To insert current time, press ctrl+shift+;
4. To repeat last action, press F4
5. To edit a cell comment, press shift + F2
6. To autosum selected cells, press alt + =
7. To see the suggest drop-down in a cell, press alt + down arrow
8. To enter multiple lines in a cell, press alt+enter
9. To insert a new sheet, press shift + F11
10. To edit active cell, press F2 (places cursor in the end)
11. To hide current row, press ctrl+9
12. To hide current column, press ctrl+0
13. To unhide rows in selected range, press ctrl+shift+9
14. To unhide columns in selected range, press ctrl+shift+0
15. To recalculate formulas, press F9
16. To select data in current region, press ctrl+shift+8
17. To see formulas in the worksheet, press ctrl+shift+` (ctrl+~)
18. While editing formulas to change the reference type from absolute to relative vice versa, press F4
19. To format a number as currency, press ctrl+shift+4 (ctrl+$)
20. To apply outline border around selected cells, press ctrl+shift+7
21. To open the macros dialog box, press alt+F8
22. To copy value from above cell, press ctrl+’
23. To format current cell with comma formats, press ctrl+shift+1
24. To go to the next worksheet, press ctrl+shift+pg down
25. To go to the previous worksheet, press ctrl+shift+pg up

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Power Pivot

What is Power Pivot?

Power Pivot is an Excel add-in to connect, analyze & visualize massive amounts of data.
Lets take a closer look at the definition.
Connect: You can use multiple tables of data & set up relationships between them using Power Pivot. For example, you can connect customer details to sales transactions so that you can summarize sales by customer location or gender easily.
Analyze: You can create simple pivot table style reports or create something exceedingly complex by defining your own calculated fields for values area of the pivot. There is a whole set of formulas defined for exactly this purpose, called as DAX formulas.
Visualize: Instantly filter your reports using slicers, time lines (Excel 2013 or above only), conditional formats, pivot charts etc. You can even define KPIs and see the performance in bands.
Massive Amounts of Data: Although your typical Excel worksheet contains a million rows, if you tried to load even half of those with any data, Excel would quickly become slow & lazy. Power Pivot can take a million rows for breakfast and would be hungry for more. It can processes millions of rows of data very quickly and easily, all from the comfort of a standard desktop or laptop.
Excel Add-in: Power Pivot is an optional free add-in that works with Excel 2010 or above. If you are running Excel 2010, you need to download and install it. Users of Excel 2013 have it easy. Power Pivot comes pre-packaged with Excel, you just need to enable it.
You can do so much more by using & mixing various features of Excel & Power Pivot. Few possibilities are,
  • Define your own measures (calculated fields for power pivot reports) that can summarize data the way you want
    • Sum of sales YTD
    • Count of distinct customers per product
    • Ratio of sales made to single moms vs. single dads
    • % of products made by top 10 employees in all etc.
  • Slice and dice data anyway you want
    • Filter all reports & charts based on multiple linked slicers
    • Slice reports based on values in another (non) related table
  • Fetch data from different data sources & integrate
  • Set up Power View sheets to create rich visualizations of your data (Excel 2013 only)
    • Create maps, rich interactive charts & more
  • Integrate with Excel features to create stunning reports & dashboards
    • Combine Power Pivot outputs with Excel features like sparklines, conditional formats, charts & form controls
    • Use references to fetch pivot table values & present them in dashboards

Saturday, 27 July 2013

3 things that are not so impressive in Excel 2013

The whole cloud thing:

While it is understandable that Microsoft wants us all to purchase shiny new Surface tablets and use spreadsheets on the go, it seems like a bad idea. It annoys me that when I want to save a file, the first option I see is Kokula Krishna Hari K’s sky drive. The process of saving files to sky drive and later viewing them in browsers is very slow and often results in errors or warnings. Instead, for desktop versions, why not make My computer as first preference?!?

Sharing & Social features:

Share to Facebook?!? seriously! Why would anyone want to share their spreadsheets on twitter or facebook? Do we really want facebook to know our annual budget & appraisal ratings (so that they can show us ads that say –Buy our scissors and cut your budget in half )?

Power Pivot is not for masses:

Microsoft positioned Power Pivot as BI for masses, offered it for free in Excel 2010. Then in Excel 2013, they went ahead and implemented a licensing policy that looks just as complicated as my lawyer’s invoice. Why would a for-profit company like MS want to not offer powerful tools like Power Pivot to masses for a fee? Why sell it only to corporate customers through volume licensing program? beats me.

Bottom line

Despite these minor annoyances, I think Excel 2013 is a well designed, solid & powerful software ready to make more people awesome in their work. With features like tablet compatibility, data model, slicers & timelines, improved UI & color schemes it has quickly become my first choice when I want to use a spreadsheet (I run Excel 2010 & 2013 on same computer).

Friday, 26 July 2013

Easier Charting

In Excel 2013, there are massive changes in charting. Now you can create combination charts, add secondary axis, set up smart data labels, format the chart or switch styles with ease. Microsoft revamped the default formats too so that when you make a chart from data, it is ready for presentation (with out too many tweaks).
Some of favorite charting features are,
  • Recommended charts feature that tells you which charts go well with your data.
  • A screen where you can change the chart type for each series easily.
  • Common chart customizations are a click away
  • Ability to create scatter plots based on a variety of input data layouts.
Creating a combination chart in Excel 2013 is very easy
That said not everything is rosy with 2013 charting. For example, I do not like that we have to go through sidebar pane to customize charts (formatting etc.) instead of dialog box.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Distinct Counts & more in your Pivot

If you are really quiet, you can hear an analyst in your company screaming with joy once they realize that in Excel 2013, you can get distinct count of values in pivot reports!!!
Distinct counts in Excel 2013 pivot tables
That is right, using Excel 2013 pivot reports, you can find out distinct counts. No extra formulas or no arrays or no VBA.