Contextures News

Great Excel Resources from Microsoft

May 16, 2017

Find free Excel resources from Microsoft, and more, in this week's Excel news. Visit my Excel website for many more tips, tutorials and videos -- let me know if you're looking for something and can't find it there.

Create Random Numbers

If you need to create random numbers for testing or for a sample workbook, you can use the RANDBETWEEN function. For example, use this formula to get numbers between 1 and 1000:


That works well if you want whole numbers, but sometimes you need data that includes a couple of decimal places. To get that result, use higher numbers as your Min and Max, and divide by 100.


Or, use the RAND function, and round to two decimal places:


There are more examples of RANDBETWEEN on my website, and a sample file to download. You can even use it to choose random text!

rand and round functions

Excel Resources

The Excel team at Microsoft has started a new "Table Talk" series, and you can see the first episode on YouTube. Host Olaf Hubel and guest Jonnie Thomas discuss what's new in Excel, and they showed the Excel community site, where you can find tons of great Excel resources.

They also showed the UserVoice site, where you can send feedback to Microsoft's Excel team, and vote for other people's ideas. Johnnie showed the new default settings for pivot tables, which are available if you are an Office 365 subscriber, and joined the Office Insider program.

Johnnie also shared his favourite Excel tip -- customizing the Quick Access Toolbar. If you want to add the Document Location command that he mentioned, choose "All Commands" from the drop down at the top.

document location on QAT

Excel Articles

Here are a couple of recent Excel articles that you might find useful.

Sorting - Sorting a list of names in Excel seems simple enough, but Kevin Lehrbass looks at different ways to approach the problem, and how to choose the best option. His key questions could be asked before doing almost anything in Excel. (Level - All)

Power BI -- There were changes to Power BI licenses last week, and Matt Allington looks at the good, the bad, and the why. Jeff Weir gave his opinion too, on the Daily Dose of Excel blog. (Level - All)

Also see: My Excel Products || Excel Events || Excel Humour || Previous Issues

Canadian Art

We had another field trip this week, to the McMichael Gallery, just north of Toronto. It features Canadian art, and there is a special collection of Lawren Harris art on display now, so we wanted to see that. The guitar below, from another special exhibit in the gallery, was inspired by his paintings. Linda Manzer built it, and you can hear Bruce Cockburn playing the guitar on YouTube.

weekly photo

That's it for this week! If there are topics that you'd like to see covered in future emails, please let me know.

NOTE: If you have trouble with the images or links in this email, paste this URL into your web browser, to see the online version:

Debra Dalgleish
ddalgleish @


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Last updated: May 24, 2021 8:39 PM