Contextures News 2021-06-01

Excel - What's in Your Workbook?

June 1, 2021

Auto or manual calculation, see what's in your workbook, 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.

Thank you for reading the news, and you'll get the next email on June 15th.

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

Auto or Manual Calc?

Have you ever been working in an Excel file, and suddenly noticed that your formulas weren't updating?

The first workbook that you open during an Excel session sets the calculation mode for every workbook that you open later in that session. So, if you start with a workbook saved in Manual mode, none of your formulas will calculate automatically.

To check those settings quickly, you can add the Automatic and Manual commands to the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar. (They're in the "All Commands" list)

calculation options on QAT and Ribbon

Or, use UniMord's trick for keeping track of the calculation mode - a macro that changes the gridlines to red!

You can get my version of the macro, and more calculation mode tips, on the Excel Calculation Options page on my Contextures site.

calculation options on QAT and Ribbon

Workbook Stats

Here's a quick tip, if you're using Excel 365. There's a new command that you can show on the Excel Status Bar -- Workbook Statistics.

  • To add it, right-click the Status Bar, and click on Workbook Statistics

The pop-up list shows what's on the current sheet, and in the active workbook. It has counts of pivot tables, images, and objects too, if the file contains those. It even counts hidden and very hidden worksheets.

Is the list showing anything else in your workbook?

workbook statistics on status bar

Excel Articles

Here are some Excel-related links that you might find useful or interesting.

Saving Time: An airbase in Kuwait uses an Excel macro that saves "mind-numbing" hours when processing travel requests. There aren't many details on what the macro does, but it has 700 lines of code! (Level - All)

Power BI: Matt Allington shows how to build a P&L in Power BI without any DAX. And Chris Webb is excited about the new Power BI and Excel integration features (Level - Adv)

Also see: Previous Newsletter Issues


We got our garden planted on the May 24th weekend, because that's the "safe" date for avoiding frost, here in southern Ontario. Apparently, nobody sent that memo to Mother Nature, because we had about an hour of snow falling on Friday! It had been 33C on Tuesday, then went down to 4C on Friday.

You can see the thin layer of icy snow that collected on our patio table. Fortunately, it melted quickly, and none of the plants were damaged.

P.S. We use bungee cords if duct tape or WD-40 won't fix a problem. ;-)

weekly photo

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

Debra Dalgleish

Debra Dalgleish

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Last updated: July 20, 2021 12:57 PM