Goal Seek + more Excel tips

April 7, 2015

Use Excel's Goal Seek feature, pick a random number from a list, and many more tips, in this week's Excel news.

-  Debra -  ddalgleish@contextures.com

When you right-click in Excel, a pop-up menu appears, with a list of commands that you can use in the current situation. If you've ever wondered how you can customize that menu, AlexJ shares his technique, and a sample file that you can download from my website.

### 2. Using Goal Seek

Goal Seek is one of the What If Analysis tools in Excel, and Winston Snyder shows how to use Goal Seek, manually, or with a macro. See how much you would have to increase one number, to reach a target amount.

### 3. Pick a Random Winner

Last week, someone asked me how to pick a winner in a spring raffle, using Excel. I've had a few giveaways on my blog, and I always use the RAND function to pick a random winner. Just create a list of names or numbers, and put =RAND() in the next column. Sort by the RAND column, and the winner is the name/number at the top.

If you saw Matthew Eaton's pareto chart a couple of weeks ago, you might want to take a look at his updated version. He uses this chart in Excel, to help improve his writing.

If you have a workbook with lots of sheets, you can use Chris Newman's macro to create a table of contents, with a link to each sheet. His sample file also has a macro that will split a long list into several columns, to make it easier to use.

### 6. Clustered Column Chart Alternatives

If you're tired of seeing clustered column charts, especially the 3-D kind, you'll get 6 new ideas from Ann K. Emery. She helped a colleague overhaul a chart, and wants to know which alternative you like the best.

### 7. Count Rows With At Least One Match

You can use COUNTIF or COUNTIFS to check for a set of criteria when counting. On the ExcelXOR blog, see how to count if at least one criterion is met -- it's a bit complicated!

### 8. Video: More Than One Filter in Pivot Table

There are 3 types of pivot table filters -- Manual, Labels, and Values. If you apply one type, that filter will be automatically removed, when you try to apply an additional filter -- unless you change a pivot table setting.

Watch the short video, to see how to filter for specific months, and then filter again, to show the top 3 values for those months: Apply Multiple Filters

### 9. Don't Use These 7 Characters

Do you know the 7 characters that you can't use in a worksheet tab name? David Ringstrom gives you the list, and also reminds us of the word that we're not allowed to use as a sheet name.

I use letters and underscores in sheet name, but not too many other characters -- and I always avoid apostrophes, even though they are allowed. They can cause problems!

### 10. No Golfing Yet

The temperature reached a balmy 17°C last week, which was a nice surprise, after the long winter. I saw this sign, while we walked through the park, warning us that golf is not allowed. There's no danger of anyone trying to break that rule for a few weeks, at least!

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