Category Archives: Uncategorized

Excel School – Last Day to Sign-Up!

This weekend I had the honor of reviewing Chandoo’s Excel School.

I can tell you categorically that he has done a fine job. The online school is first rate, as are the downloadable workbooks and videos. It is obvious from the moment you first log on that Chandoo has put a lot of effort into designing the curriculum and developing the lessons, with the business user in mind.
The motto of Chandoo’s blog is Become Awesome in Excel. Excel School will definitely help get you there. In fact, if you are interested in being an Excel Hero, I would go so far as to say that the information in Chandoo’s Excel School is a prerequisite.
Every lesson can be viewed online or downloaded, and the class includes over 1,200 minutes of video instruction hosted by Chandoo himself who not only is the creative force behind the famous Excel blog, but he is also a Microsoft Excel MVP.
Working your way through this pertinent material will leave you with a solid, well-rounded Excel foundation. Just look at the lesson plan:
And in addition, Chandoo is adding three more lessons to the school:
  1. Using Excel’s Text formulas
  2. Introduction to Excel 2010’s new features
  3. Integration of Excel & Access – a lesson by Mike Alexander from Data Pig Technologies
Chandoo’s Excel School comes with over 40 crystal clear example workbooks and access to the Online Classroom which is an extremely valuable resource where class-members share ideas, ask questions, and discuss lessons.
There are already over 100 students enrolled, so the debate will be stimulating.
Classes begin as soon as you sign-up. Classes will end on July 28, 2010 and the school closes on August 20, 2010. However, all of the downloadable content will continue to work for you forever.
I receive inquiries all the time regarding where someone should go to gain a solid foundation in Excel. Obviously my blog and others are good resources, John Walkenbach’s books are first rate. But for a hands-on, immersive experience, Chandoo’s Excel School is unparalleled.
The only catch is that today is the last day to enroll. Chandoo has graciously extended the registration deadline until 12 Noon tomorrow (June 22, 2010) Pacific Standard Time (GMT-08:00). I wish that I had had the time to review the course before today. The Excel School is a tremendous value and an outstanding opportunity that will pay you productivity dividends for the rest of your life!
If you are serious about expanding your Excel knowledge, here is the link.

Excel Business Application Development Services

The Excel Hero blog is now four months old, and this is my 49th blog entry. What an adventure it has been. I have never blogged before and to go through the process of nurturing the fledgling blog like a seedling and watching it flourish is very rewarding. The process, and indeed the blog itself, takes on a life of its own. In the past seven days Excel Hero has had five different days where the number of unique visitors was over 1,000 and one day where it was almost 2,000.

In my lifetime this has been one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done. I would like to thank each and everyone of you for bothering to read, for downloading my samples, and for your input. My goal from the beginning has been to build a community of creative solutions. That community cannot exist without you!
If this is starting to sound like a goodbye – fear not. I’m just getting started.
For many years I have made my living 100% from freelance Excel development. That means I’m a programmer with a focus on Excel. Clients from all over the world hire me to design and implement Excel based solutions to their business needs. I’m not cheap. Hey, I live in California with unbelievable costs of living. But I would venture to say that every single client I have believes that they receive excellent value for money. Well, there was this one guy who wanted to… but that’s a different story.
My rate is $150 per hour.
As a heart felt thank you I would like to offer my readers a $50 per hour discount for any work you might want to have done anytime over the next 60 days! Just send me an email and mention Excel Hero, and I will gratefully extend this promotional discount.
This week I plan to have two new articles posted. The first discusses the pros and cons of using [ ] shortcut range references from VBA. The second is when to choose INDEX/MATCH vs VLOOKUP and some other methods of looking up information. And of course, I will have a new Excel based optical illusion on Friday.
I’m also looking for a few volunteers to test a new business productivity tool I’m bringing out. It allows you to create an Org Chart for your business with one click, pulling data from your spreadsheet. All a user needs to do is select a column of employees and a column of managers and click the Make Chart button. That’s it. The add-in instantly creates a beautifully formatted Organizational Chart from connected shapes. Of course there are options available to spruce things up. The user can copy the chart to PowerPoint or Word. The chart is live, and it can be edited. It’s a powerful time saver and it’s already in beta testing. I have several people testing it right now and am looking for a couple more. If you are interested please send me an email. I plan to release the product for general distribution within the next two weeks.
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Chess Viewer Update

I was getting a lot of requests from people who do not have Excel 2007 to have a chance to see the Chess Viewer operate.

I converted the 2007 file to an .xls and spent a few minutes updating the graphics and formulas. It now works in previous versions of Excel, but I’ll warn you that the graphics pretty much suck. Excel 2007 is way better at rendering graphics.
The link to the .xls is at the bottom of the original post:

What’s an Excel Hero?

An Excel Hero saves money.  Lots of money.
NASDAQ in Times Square, New York City, USA.

Image via Wikipedia

The vast majority of users are doing some business activity with Excel.  An Excel Hero looks at an activity and sees how to use advanced techniques to save time.  It might be a small formula; it might be an entire project integrated with a database that can eliminate wasted time, possibly in your own job, department or division.
You may even be able to eliminate your position… or your office!  All businesses that succeed are ever mindful of the bottom line and that translates into keeping expenses in check.  In most organizations, labor is the number one cost.  Look for ways to prune and you’ll definitely be a hero.  Believe me, just about every company has wasteful activities done by staff by hand or on computer.  Ironically they’re often done in Excel.  And that’s the crux of this book.  Excel offers so many ways to do things that well-intentioned managers and executives choose simple over better.  Simple to them, that is.
My goal is to post entries that will spark your imagination, so that you’ll be anxious to craft time-saving solutions immediately.  Go ahead.  Money saved today is better than money saved once you become a master.  Keep returning and I promise to keep posting new techniques.  At first you may learn how to shave minutes even hours on a daily task.  Later you may learn how to eliminate the task from your business altogether!  I want this blog to be that valuable.
Just the other day I delivered a project to one of my clients.  They are in the business of modeling subtle and complex trends in historical stock market data, tracking dozens of indicators such as business cycles, credit availability, and sector risk to see what affect myriad variations of these have on selected portfolio returns.  Using Excel, it was taking a minimum of 10 analyst-days of highly compensated analyst time to complete each simulation.  My Excel solution for them completes a simulation in less than five minutes and makes no mistakes.  They run thousands of simulations.  My project eliminated a department.  I’ve done this type of thing many times.  You can too.
When you start saving your company serious time, you’ll be noticed.  You’ll have wonderful choices.   As you read this blog always ask yourself, can I use this to save my company money?
In short order you will be an Excel Hero!

Excel, a Remarkable Tool

What is Excel and what can I do with it?
Microsoft Excel (Windows)

Image via Wikipedia

Excel is a calculator.  You can add with it.  This is short and true, and misses the point completely.  
Outside of Windows, Excel is the most successful software ever.  Tens of millions of people use it every day as part of their work or at home.  It is used to store information, sort, filter, present, and oh yes, calculate.  It’s used to make shopping lists, budgets, and to design the upcoming manned mission to Mars.  Of the millions of daily users of this amazing product, only a tiny fraction of a percent know how to do more than sum a column of figures.  That’s tragic, when you consider the depth of capability Excel offers to analyze and visualize data and to solve problems.
If you have the ability to understand a problem, this blog is designed to help you judge whether Excel would be a useful tool for solving the problem.  It will illuminate dozens of simple, yet powerful techniques that once understood, will enable you to direct Excel in unexpected ways.  If you have never used Excel before, if you use it every day and wish you knew how to lighten your workload, even if you are an expert, you can be an Excel Hero and this blog will show you the path.
I have been using Excel since the very beginning and Lotus 123 before that.  As a consultant, I have crafted literally thousands of projects, solving problems for businesses large and small using Excel and Access.  This blog will draw from that experience and teach you how to do things that you likely never imagined before.
Most activities with Excel can be classified into three broad groups.  1. IMPORTING information (data) into Excel.  2. Manipulating data for ANALYSIS.  3. Polishing the data for PRESENTATION and reporting.  Some projects focus in just one of these categories; others will require all three. 
As you will discover, any given task in Excel will likely have many different solutions. I once won a formula competition on’s Challenge of the Month.  There were over 500 unique formulas to solve the contest problem entered by people the world ’round. Over 500 solutions to one problem!  I was honored that’s readers chose my formula as the best of the bunch.
What I want you to learn is that there may not be a “best” method for doing a task, but some are clearly better than others.  I would say that a method is better if it is interactive, faster, shorter, easier to maintain (because you are the one that will maintain your projects), or simpler, and in that order.
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