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Do you suck at Excel?

September 15, 2015

Quick grand totals, a "You Suck at Excel" video from someone who really knows Excel, and much more, in this week's Excel news. And thanks for your help with my question in the previous newsletter -- I really appreciate it!

 -  Debra -  ddalgleish@contextures.com

7 Ways to Sum

You probably use Excel's AutoSum button when you want to total a columnl just select the amounts, and a blank cell, then click the button. That works for grand totals too -- select a block of cells, and blank cells to the right and below, then click AutoSum.

grand totals with AutoSum

There are many other ways to calculate a total, including SUMIF, SUMIFS and SUBTOTAL. You can see a quick summary of 7 ways to sum in a short video that I posted on my blog.

You Suck at Excel

No you don't, but "You Suck at Excel" is the name of Joel Spolsky's video (approx 54 minutes long), in which he teaches his team members the "bare minimum of non-incompetence". He rambles a bit, and doesn't get to Excel Tables until about the 37:00 mark, but covers many good tips.

I've read many of Joel Spolsky's articles, but this is the first time that I've seen him teaching Excel tips. Joel was a program manager on Microsoft's Excel team from 1991-1994, and led their VBA strategy -- so he certainly knows a lot about Excel!.

Unlike Joel, I use Excel with column letters (not numbers) most of the time, unless I'm troubleshooting -- how about you? If you have a copy of my Excel Tools add-in, you can quickly switch between column letters and numbers with the Toggle Ref Style command on the Sheets button.

grand totals with AutoSum

Excel Articles

Here are a couple of Excel articles I read recently, that you might find interesting and useful.

Date Calculations --Mike Alexander shared his list of 130 date calculations -- more that you'll ever need! For example, what date is the last Friday of the current month? There is a problem with the "Next Occurring Monday" example though. You can calculate it with this formula:
=TODAY()+CHOOSE(WEEKDAY(TODAY()),1,7,6,5,4,3,2)   (Level - Intermediate)

Mark Completed Items -- If you like to mark completed items in a list, Sumit Bansal shows how to apply strikethrough format with conditional formatting, based on the contents of another cell. Then, you can use that other column if you need to sort or filter the list. (Level - Intermediate)

More Excel Articles -- Find links to more articles in the latest Excel Weekly Roundup on my Contextures blog. And for a bit of spreadsheet humour, you can see what people are saying about Excel, in my weekly collection of tweets.

Identifying the Mystery Flowers

Thanks for your help in identifying the bright orange flowers that are blooming in my garden. I feel much smarter now that I know what they are: Rudbeckia -- commonly called coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. And I put that information into an Excel file, so I'll remember for next year!

Last weekend I searched my computer, and finally found a picture of that long-lost plant card. It's a Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Little Goldstar'. Please excuse the dirt on the picture!

NOTE: If you have any problems with the links in the email, you can see this newsletter on my website -- copy this link and paste it into your browser: http://www.contextures.com/newsletter/excelnews2015/20150915ctx.html

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