Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ceiling & Floor

When Excel is displaying slightly different values than what is actually stored in the cells that you are working on, it can be beneficial to use one of the several Rounding functions. Two of these rounding functions are CEILING and FLOOR.

The use of a rounding function is often recommended, especially if the numbers you are investigating are the result of multiple mathematical calculations. Multiple calculations may, of course, result in the introduction of rounding errors. These behind-the-scenes errors can cause small inaccuracies which may be very significant when precision is necessary.

The syntax for CEILING is CEILING(Number, Significance) where
·         Number is the number being rounded, and
·         Significance is the number of additional integers to which the number is being rounded.

The following Examples make this a bit clearer:
·         = CEILING(20.3, 1) = 21
·         = CEILING(20.3, 5) = 25
·         = CEILING(-19.9, 2) = -18

The FLOOR function does the very same thing as the CEILING function; however it always rounds down.

CEILING and FLOOR. Two more very useful functions for your Excel toolbelt.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Time Management with Excel

I admit that I have been a bit overwhelmed with work lately, and as an instructor and avid proponent of Time Management, I find this slightly upsetting. If, in fact, you employ good time management techniques, you can very directly determine what you should be working on and when. By the way, Ready for Anything by David Allen is an excellent book on this subject.

But how can Excel help in this regard? Well, let’s say that you have your Calendar and To-Do Lists in PDF form. You can import data in this formant directly into an Excel spreadsheet using a PDF to Excel Converter. The result is that you to easily keep track of key dates or to-do lists. You can eliminate a plethora of reminder notes and other calendars. In the process, you’ll also save paper and time, (Time Management, get it?...)

A large project with several professionals collaborating can use this Excel spreadsheet as a database for Project Management. Share the spreadsheet, and everyone can add their own information. You can include data such as availability, contact info, element ideas, resource tools, and so forth. For starters, check out the many If you are organized, you won’t be sitting at your desk wondering what to do next and, that my friends, is a very good thing.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sparklines Series # 5

This week we are concluding our examination of Sparklines with this fifth installment of our series on this remarkably versatile Excel tool.

In this series we have explored the basics of creating Sparklines, changing their type, highlighting values, adding text, as well as changing the color and weight. In this final week will take a look at how to handle Hidden and Empty Cells in Sparklines.

Let’s examine the procedure of managing these potentially troublesome hidden and empty cells:

1.   Select the Sparkline group
2.   From the left side of the Sparkline Tools/Design ribbon, click on Edit Data
3.   Select Hidden & Empty Cells
4.   You will be presented with Hidden and Empty Cell Settings
5.   Choose Show Empty Cells:
·       Gaps - Show a space between points
·       Zero: Show as a zero (0) value
·       Connect data points with line: Connects the points before and after the empty cell

Try giving Sparklines a try sometime. You may be surprised at how efficient they are to create, and how well they will be received by your users.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sparklines Series #4

This week we are continuing with the fourth installment of our series on the surprisingly versatile and useful Excel tool called Sparklines.

As we have noted, these Miniature Charts fit into a single cell or range in your worksheet and, as with any chart, they provide you with a visual representation of your data. The beauty of Sparklines, of course is that they provide this visual representation without having to resort to a full-blown chart.
Let’s see what else we can do with these Miniature Marvels. For instance, let’s say that you want to add a little bit more Visual Pizzazz to your Sparkline group. Here is what you do:

Change the Color and Weight of Your Sparklines
1.   First select a Sparkline or Sparkline group, and then choose Sparkline Tools/Design
2.   Then select a style of your choosing to change both the Sparkline and the Marker color
3.   Alternatively, you can change just the Sparkline color and weight

Customize the Axis Settings
1.   Select the Sparkline or Sparkline group
2.   Choose Sparkline Tools/Design
3.   Choose the Axis and options of your choice

Sparklines. Who knew all the wonders of the small but powerful tools?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sparklines Series #3

This week we are proceeding with our series on the wonderful little Excel beasts, Sparklines.

As was mentioned last week, among the several advantages for using Sparklines, is their versatility. We looked at changing Sparkline types and removing Sparklines, but as they say in cheesy TV ads, “That’s not All!” Let’s look at the following Customization Options:

Adding Text
Adding text to a sparkling cell is a Snap (or is it a Spark?)! Simply select the cell, type in the text that you want, and press Enter. The text will display in the foreground with the Sparkline in the background. Totally Cool!

Highlighting Values
Highlighting data with a Sparkline is slightly more complex, but really no big deal. First select the Sparkline, choose Sparkline Tools/Design, and select the following options from the Show group:
1.   Add your markers to all values by checking Markers (go figure…)
2.   You can show negative values by checking Negative Points (not rocket science, eh?)
3.   Showing the highest or lowest values can be accomplished by checking High Point or Low Point
4.   You can also show first or last values simply by checking First Point or Last Point (this really is a Snap!)

I suspect you are beginning to see, there is a bit more to these little Sparkline gems than first meets the eye. The next time you have five minutes to yourself, play around with the surprisingly versatile little tools, and see how you can add some more Pizzazz to your worksheets. Ciao, baby!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sparklines Series #2

Last week we started an overall inspection of the powerful little Excel tool whimsically name Sparklines.
These Miniature Charts fit into a single cell or range in your worksheet and can provide you with a visual representation of your data without having to resort to a full-blown chart.
Among the several advantages for using Sparklines, (Simplifying your visual representations of your data, creating Mini-Trendlines, etc.), they are also quite versatile. Take, for instance, the following:

Changing Sparkline Types
If, let’s say, you have created a Sparkline group, and changed you mind as to the type of design element you wish to use – No Problem! Simply select your Sparkline group and choose Sparkline Tools/Design. Then select one of the alternative types from the (guess what…) “Type” group.

Removing Sparklines
Very easy, and only slightly more difficult than you would expect. Once again, simply select the Sparkline group you wish to delete, choose Sparkline Tools/Design, and click the “Clear” button.

Sparklines! Simple, Powerful, and Effective. Next week we will look at some ways of highlighting values, and other customizing you can freely do with Sparklines!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sparklines Series #1

Today we are going to start a brief series of posts revolving around the powerful little (it truly is “little”) Excel tool referred to as Sparklines.
These amazing miniature appliances were first introduced in Excel 2010, and they have gained a fair amount of popularity. Sparklines simply are Miniature Charts that fit into a single cell or range in your worksheet. As with any chart, they provide you with a visual representation of your data, but in this case, they do so without having to resort to a full-blown chart.
Although these tiny charts are typically used in a separate cell range adjacent to your data, they actually reside in the background of a cell similar to formatting.  It can overlay (or underlay) other contents of a cell, adding creative possibilities for displaying your information.

There are several advantages for using Sparklines. They can Simplify your visual representations of your data, and can do so with just a couple of clicks!  They are particularly useful in creating Mini-Trendlines for tracking a myriad of business metrics. Insert them in an adjacent column of a data-heavy report, and you get a result that can tell you at a glance the direction of your department.

Creating Sparklines
1.         Select a group of cells in which you want to insert your Sparklines.
2.         Find the Sparklines group on the Insert ribbon, and click the type of Sparkline that you want to create, (Line, Column, or even Win/Loss).
3.         In the Data box, select and insert the range of the cells that contain the data on which you want to create your Sparklines.

Bamm - Sparklines! Simple as that! Next week we will look at some creative ways of customizing these little gems, so you can truly make your Excel reports, well, Sparkle!