Contextures News 20150428

Faster VLOOKUP + more Excel tips

April 28, 2015

Make VLOOKUP faster, use keyboard shortcuts, run macros when Excel is closed, and more, in this week's Excel news. Visit my Excel website for more tips, tutorials and videos, and check the index for past issues of this newsletter.

Note: For some products mentioned below, I earn a commission on sales. That helps support the free tutorials on my site.

1. Contextures Posts

In case you missed them, here are the articles that I posted recently:

  • For a humorous peek at what other people are saying about spreadsheets, read the latest collection of Excel tweets, on my Excel Theatre blog.

2. Excel Dashboard Course

Registration is open for Mynda Treacy's Excel Dashboard Course, and the deadline is this Thursday (April 30th). The course is a great investment, and you can read my review for the highlights, and more information.

Level - Intermediate


On the Daily Dose of Excel blog, Jeff Weir checks the speed of the double VLOOKUP trick, that he learned from Charles Williams. This only works on sorted data, so are the faster calculations worth the the extra effort of sorting? Read the comments too -- it's an interesting discussion.

Level - Intermediate

4. Highlight Blank Cells

Even when he is sitting in airport lounges, Chandoo is still helping people with Excel problems. Read his tips for highlighting blank cells – he shares 3 ways to do that.

Level - Basic/Intermediate

5. Schedule It

Have you ever wanted to run an Excel macro, even when Excel is closed? No problem! Zack Barresse shows how you can schedule it to run automatically, if your IT department allows this kind of activity.

Level - Advanced

6. Use the Menu Key

Do you ever use the Menu key, in the bottom row of your keyboard? MF Wong shows how to save time, by entering shortcuts with that key. In his example, he use our old friend, the Filter By Selection command.

Level - Basic

7. Save Some Trees

Ben J. Kusmin shows how to shorten a long text document, by pasting it into Excel, and cleaning it up there, before printing. He uses a transcript as the example, but I've done similar cleanup on other types of documents.

Level - Basic

8. Learn from Microsoft MVPs

The first ever Microsoft Americas MVP Virtual Conference will be held online, May 14-15, 2015, with sessions from 8 AM to 6 PM (Pacific Time), both days. When you register for the event, you'll get a confirmation email, with links and the instructions for attending the sessions.

Do decide which sessions to attend, you can see the full agenda, to find sessions you're most interested in.

  • For example, on May 15th, at 10 AM (Pacific), there is a session on Pivot Table Data Crunching.
  • And after the problem with ActiveX controls, maybe we should all attend the session, "Understanding Windows updating", on May 14th, at 5 PM (Pacific)

Level - Intermediate

9. OpenVis Presentation Videos

The videos from the recent OpenVis conference are available online, and I love the Table of Contents that's used to access them. Click on a topic or word at the top, and see a marker, where that occurs in the video. Unfortunately, Excel isn't one of the available words, but I found a reference to it at the 2:00 mark in the video on Scrolling.

Level - Intermediate

10. My New (Old) Plant Table

My father-in-law made this glass-topped coffee table long ago -- nobody can remember exactly when. As long as I can remember, it was in front of their living room window, and had a collection of plants on it. Now they're downsizing, so the table has come to live at our house. To make it feel at home, I've put my spring seedlings on it, and they seem to be getting along nicely.

weekly photo

That's it for this week! If you have any comments or questions, send me an email.

Debra Dalgleish

Debra Dalgleish

P.S. You can choose the full Contextures news package (news and occasional special announcements), or basic news package (news only). Click either link to change your option.


Last updated: January 2, 2020 3:46 PM