Contextures News 20150519

Fast Formulas + more Excel tips

May 19, 2015

Choose a chart type, check formula speed, work with pivot table source data, 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. Choose a Chart Type

If you're not sure which chart type will work best for your data, or if you'd like to experiment with something different, use Ann Emery's Chart Choosing Tool. Click a filter at the top, such as "Do-able in Excel", to see the chart types in that category. Then, click on a chart image, to see more information, and examples. Level - Basic/Intermediate

3. Bar Chart

Speaking of charts, have you ever seen a chocolate bar chart, like the example that Andy Kirk shows? Usually "chart junk" is frowned on, but in this case, it's cleverly done. Level - Intermediate

4. Calculated Items

Mynda Treacy explains how to create a calculated item in a pivot table, and gives a couple of examples of how to use this feature. If you're not sure whether you need a calculated item or calculated field, you can read my overview. Level - Intermediate

5. Power Query Updates

There were 11 updates to Power Query this month, and you can read the details on Microsoft's Excel Team blog. I'm happy to see that it's now supported for all Excel 2013 desktop SKUs. And remember, Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar have a new online Power Query course. Level - Intermediate/Advanced

6. Office 2016 Preview

Gašper Kamenšek has been testing the public preview of Office 2016, and shares his 3 favourite new features. It's more colourful than Excel 2013 too! Level - Basic

7. Timing Excel Formulas

Are the formulas in your workbooks slowing things down? If you have to choose between 2 formulas, which is faster? Charles Williams looks at the reasons for timing Excel calculations, and explains what you should be measuring. Level - Advanced/VBA

8. Fibonacci Clock in Excel

Apparently, the Fibonacci clock, that uses squares to tell time, is becoming popular on the Internet. Would you want to do that much arithmetic, to know if you're late for a meeting? If you like the concept, Teylyn shows how to build one in Excel, without any programming. Level - Intermediate

9. Check Dates

Chandoo shows how to use conditional formatting to check if a date was entered in a cell. A red X appears beside the cell, if you enter text, and an exclamation mark is shown, if the cell is empty. You can also use Data Validation to control how dates are entered on a worksheet, by restricting the date range, or creating a dynamic drop down list of dates. Level - Intermediate

10. Lovely Lilacs

The lilacs in our back yard are almost ready to bloom, and they already have a wonderful aroma. In another couple of days they should be in full bloom, and last for a week or so. For the rest of the summer, this will look like any other garden shrub, but it certainly stands out at this time of year.

weekly photo

NOTE: If you have any problems with the links in the email, you can see this newsletter on my website:

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: December 30, 2019 4:12 PM