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Excel Weekly News from Contextures July 29, 2014

Set minimum row height + more Excel tips

During the summer, I am sending you the newsletter twice each month, instead of weekly. You will get the next newsletter on August 12th. In this week's Excel news, you'll see how to set a minimum row height in a table, and other tips. Thank you for reading the Excel news, and I hope that you are enjoying the Excel articles. If you have suggestions for future topics, please let me know.

 -  Debra -

Excel Dashboard Course

What would you like to learn this summer, so you're ready to tackle exciting new projects this fall? If you'd like to improve your dashboard skills, Mynda Treacy from My Online training Hub is re-opening her popular Excel Dashboard Course, and registration closes on July 31st.

I've been through this course, and highly recommend it. The course is video based, delivered online and is available 24/7. You'll receive comprehensive workbooks and sample dashboards to keep, and there’s even an option to download the videos.

Bonus: If you sign up for Mynda's course through one of my links, type DebraD in the Referral code box, just below the Buy Now button. Then, let me know, and you can have a copy of one of my Contextures products, such as the PivotPower Premium add-in.

Set Minimum Row Height

A long table can be hard to read, if all the rows are tightly packed together. To add a little white space, you can use the REPT function, and set a minimum row height. I've also used this trick in a table with pictures, to make sure all the rows are the same height. That way, I can sort the table, without having all the pictures end up in a pile!

Click here to see the details, and watch the video: Set Minimum Row Height

Pivot Table Tips

I post tutorials on my Pivot Table blog every week, so you're familiar with those articles, if you've been reading this newsletter. There are lots of tutorials on my Contextures website too, and I've added a pivot table index so you can see what's available.

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page that I'm updating, and a list of popular pivot table articles on my site -- you might learn some new tricks in those..

Click here to read the details: Pivot Table Tips

FastExcel to Speed Up Calculations

FastExcel is a product that can pinpoint calculation bottlenecks in your Excel files, and help you remove them, or speed them up. I'd seen other people use it, and finally got a copy to try on my own files. It's a complex and powerful tool, and a bit daunting at first! You can read my review, to see my first impressions of the tool. I made a short video to show the key features.

It's certainly not for everyone, but if you are working with big, slow Excel files, it's worth taking a look. The FastExcel bundle is 50% off for the next couple of days (until July 31st), if you use the code FXLV3Intro

More Excel Tips

Here are a few of the Excel articles that I read last week, that you might find useful:

  • While teaching an Excel class, Gretchen Uhas discovered that the Pivot Table Field List can float. I usually leave the task panes docked at the right side, but you can move them to the left side too.
  • You can use RAND or RANDBETWEEN to create random data in a Uniform Distribution. If you need Normally Distributed random numbers, Mike Alexander shares a User Defined Function to create them.
  • Ricky Brundritt, Bing Maps Program Manager, shows how to visualize Excel data on Bing maps. Most of the methods require Office 2013, but there is an add-in for older versions too (2007 and 2010).
  • When you’re programming in VBA, you might get a popup Compiler error message, if you make a mistake. Garry Robinson shows how to turn that feature off.
  • If you’d like to listen to some Excel tips, instead of reading them, Chandoo has upload a new podcast. You can download the transcript too, if you’d rather read.
  • Finally, for a humorous peek at what other people are saying about spreadsheets, read this week's collection of Excel tweets, on my Excel Theatre blog.

Video: 3 Types of Drop Down Lists

You're probably familiar with making a drop down list in a cell, by using data validation. That has some limitations though, and this video shows a couple of other types of drop down lists that you can create, using combo boxes.

At the Dentist

I took my 7-year-old grandson to the dentist this month, for a checkup and teeth cleaning. When we got home, he drew this picture in his journal, to describe the visit. It looks a little scary to me, and that dentist certainly has long arms!


Recommended Excel Tools

In addition to all the free Excel tips and tutorials, there are other Excel tools that you can invest in. To learn more about the products listed below, click on the links to take a look at their features, and decide if they're right for you.

  • Charles Williams has released a new version his add-in, FastExcel V3, and you’ll get 50% off the bundle price, if you use Coupon Code FXLV3Intro (valid until July 31 2014)

Note: I am an affiliate for some of the products mentioned in this newsletter, and earn a commission on the sales.


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