Excel Hero Academy Is Reopening!

I am very happy to announce that the Excel Hero Academy will be starting the 2nd group of students on August 1, 2011.
I know many of you have been waiting the better part of a year for this.  The wait is almost over! 
I am pleased to announce that the firs 100 students to enroll will be eligible for the Early Bird Special discount of $50.  The actual buy buttons won’t be in place on the enrollment page until first thing, August 1, Pacific Standard Time.
To claim the Early Bird Discount when enrolling, please enter the code: HEROBIRD.
If you are not on the EHA Interest List, what are you waiting for?

Note: If you cannot see this clock, click here.

Excel Narrated Animated Business Chart

Sometime ago, I stumbled onto an interesting narrated chart at the NY Times that told the story of Oil’s price and consumption.
I thought it would be an interesting challenge to recreate this chart in Excel.  Here’s the result…
Click on the above image to see and hear a Flash video of this Excel 2010 chart in action!
I think this narrated and animated chart concept is very compelling for business presentations. I’m sure I would not have understood the story the chart tells, just by looking at a static version.
I love the fading images and how effectively they stir memories.  They really add to the chart story.
There’s a lot of interesting bits happening behind the scenes with this one.  Jad’s narration is a recorded WAV file from the NY Times original.  I’m using DirectShow from VBA to play and pause the WAV file.  It’s important for the WAV file and the Excel workbook to be in the same folder, so please unzip them together before opening the workbook.
The animation plays at a different speed on every computer, so the big challenge with this project was to devise a way to keep the WAV file, which plays at a constant rate in sync with the animation, on every computer.  I’d be interested in your feedback on how well the solution I settled on (synchronization points) works.
Tear this thing apart and figure out how it works.  There are a lot of valuable techniques showcased with this chart project.
Here is the zip archive:
If learning advanced Excel interests you, please stay tuned.  I will be making a major announcement on Monday regarding the next session of the Excel Hero Academy!
Add yourself to the Excel Hero Academy interest list.  Just fill in the form on this page.
Here’s a list of other animated charts on Excel Hero:
 – solarsong
 – Excel, A Presentation Platform (Number Spiral)
 – Lilac Chaser (Optical Illusion)
 – Stereokinetic (Optical Illusion)
 – Illusory Contours (Optical Illusion)
 – Breathing Square (Optical Illusion)
 – Enigma (Optical Illusion)
 – Two Sinusoids (Optical Illusion)
 – Perpetual Collisions (Optical Illusion)
 – Freezing Rotation (Optical Illusion)
 – Reverse Spoke Illusion (Optical Illusion)
 – Stepping Feet Radial Illusion (Optical Illusion)
 – Swimming Fish (Optical Illusion)

– Mutually Interfering Shapes (Optical Illusion)

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Excel MVP

On July 1, 2011, I woke to a very pleasant surprise.  
In my inbox was a message from Microsoft congratulating me on the fact that they had just awarded me an Excel MVP for 2011!
I am not exactly sure what this means yet, but it is exciting.
I just wanted to say thank you to Microsoft and to the anonymous nominators!
The physical award is being shipped currently.  When it arrives I’ll publish a photo here…