Spreadsheet Tips Workbook Giveaway

Last week, we had a giveaway for Mike“ExcelIsFun” Girvin’s new book, Ctrl+Shift+Enter: Mastering Excel Array Formulas. The publisher, Bill Jelen (Mr. Excel), generously donated 4 copies of the ebook, and here are the winners:

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Bill for making this possible! I will send each winner an email, and you’ll have 24 hours to reply, so you can get your copy of the ebook.

Spreadsheet Tips Workbook

This week, we’re having another Excel giveaway! Jon Wittwer, from Vertex42, has just published his new Spreadsheet Tips Workbook, with 140+ Excel tips. All the tips are in an Excel file, with practice areas where you can test the tips as you work through them.


Some of the skills are for basic users, and more than half are at the intermediate to advanced level. You can mark each section as completed, as you go through each topic, and see your progress at the top of each sheet.


On the main sheet, you’ll see your overall progress, and how much you’ve completed in each category.


There are links to videos and other articles, throughout the workbook, so you can dig deeper into the topics that you’re most interested in.


I was impressed by both the content and the layout of the workbook. In addition to learning great Excel tips, you’ll be inspired to try some of Jon’s navigation and design ideas in your own files.

Enter the Giveaway

Jon Wittwer, from Vertex42, has provided us with 2 copies of the Spreadsheet Tips Workbook for this giveaway. If you’d like a chance to win a copy, please read the rules, and then make a comment below.

  • In your comment, tell us one area of Excel where you’re not an expert, and could use a few tips.
  • Include your email address, so I can contact you if you win. Your contact information won’t be publicly visible, and it won’t be used for any other mailings.
  • The deadline is Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, at 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time.
  • One entry per person.
  • The 2 winners will be announced on Thursday, August 15th, 2013.
  • Each winner will have 24 hours to claim the prize, and if not claimed, another name will be selected.


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59 Responses

  1. Ahmed AlQadah says:

    I Really need to work on several Excel skills, yet most importantly, I need to master or improve my skills badly when it comes to array formulas; I know they are extremely helpful for me, yet I am yet lacking when it comes to working with them

  2. Rudi says:

    I am a jack of all trades when it comes to Excel. I know a small bit of most things, but fall into the trap of doing things the same way, always….even if there is a quicker way. I guess my shortfall is that I don’t climb out of the box and learn to do things differently. These TIPS will certainly help to broaden my scope in using Excel and encourage me to look at newer and faster ways of doing those common tasks.

    TX for the opportunity. :)

  3. Vasim says:

    The new PowerPivot option in the new version…
    Statistics formula would be the 2nd one….

    P.S: Please, please please announce me as winner……If you dont give me the book (basically cheat me) its fine, but atleast announce me as the winner

    P.P.S: I’m not begging at all :)

  4. David Howells says:

    The area of Excel that I am not an expert in is……Excel. How can any 1 person know everything about this wonderful behemoth of a product :)

    I have to admit that I have fallen behind the times with the new features in Excel 2010 and 2013.

  5. Tim says:

    I know VBA better than I know formulas…and I am no VBA expert! I know I can make better use of formulas and this seems like a neat way to do it.

  6. Elga says:

    I’m not good at formulas (use only the most common). It would be great to widen my knowledge! Thanks :)

  7. Manuel says:

    I feel my weakest area of excel is creating dashboards.

  8. Cynthia Mott says:

    As much as I use charts – I still struggle with them. Advanced formulas usually have me running to our controller for help as well. I really enjoy your blog and have learned much from it.

  9. Bob says:

    The area I need the most help on is using Pivot Tables.

  10. Dibs says:

    I would be delighted to receive a copy of this give away excel tips. I use Excel everyday for my work and all mojor actives. I love to work on Excel and enhance my skills in any content of Excel. I have some challenges on the Array formula usage a different occasion, some functions like INDIRECT() and definitely VBA. If I get a chance to win this give away I am sure I would be able to clear the above concepts and also gain knowledge on some more in depth concepts on other topics.

    Looking forward to see myself as a winner and appreciate such initiatives

    Best Regards,

  11. jimmm says:

    The functions INDEX, MATCH, OFFSET. I _know_ I need them, but haven’t practiced enough!

  12. Steve P says:

    I would love to know more about PowerPivot and VBA. I am a Financial Analyst, and I have been reading several articles that indicate I need to really get familiar with PowerPivot for data analysis. My VBA knowledge is pretty small. I have written a little code, but would love to become a Power excel user.
    Here’s to hoping I win!


  13. Pivot charts have been something I’ve always wanted to know better, but have never really learned. I had a brief introduction in high school 14 years ago but since then, I’ve never used one even though I’m sure it would have been beneficial at times…

  14. Heather R says:

    I’m very comfortable with most formulas, but I need more practice with array formulas and named ranges.
    I the basics of using named ranges – I just keep forgetting about actually using them!

  15. Josh G says:

    I need more help with the frequency formula, and using it to count unique numbers in a list of orders. Frequency and its use can be a nightmare.

  16. Travis says:

    I try to learn at least one new trick in Excel a week that I can put into everyday practice. One area I still strugle with is laying out dashboards with useful content. I see great examples but recreating them isn’t always as easy as one would think.

  17. Michael Pennington says:

    Loops in VBA aren’t very intuitive for me, could definitely use some work there.

  18. Dave Roberts says:

    I’m very light on the abilities of Pivot tables. I need to automate a spreadsheet to a Pivot Table so I guess I should learn a little. Thanks.

  19. Donna Low says:

    There are many functions within excel that I would love to learn more about. Excel is such a powerful program, and I’m always amazed at what it can do for you.

    Here are couple of areas that I would like to learn more about:

    – What-If Analysis
    – Consolidate
    – Pivot tables
    – Array Formulas

    Thanks for the continuous learning opportunities for all of us.

  20. Jon Wittwer says:

    Thanks for the nice review, Debra. Thought I’d mention that the trial version lists all of the tips included in the workbook (plus a few complete examples), in case anyone is interested in seeing what’s included.

    To address some of the comments so far, the workbook includes a basic intro to PivotTables and VBA, though nothing really in depth on those topics. It has examples of the FREQUENCY function (Data Analysis – Tip #8), LOOKUP and INDEX-MATCH (Formulas – Tip #15), OFFSET (Formulas – Tip #14), named ranges (Special Features – Tips #1, #2, #12), a few Array Formula examples (Formulas – Tip #19). Nothing on PivotCharts or PowerPivot in this edition. Many of the tips in the workbook are useful for the creation of dashboard reports (such as how to create sparklines), though we haven’t written anything specifically about dashboards. There is very little on Statistics in general (though there are tips for creating a histogram, generating random numbers, and randomizing a data set).

    Most of the examples and tips have come from techniques that we’ve used in the creation of templates.

    @Josh, I’d recommend using a PivotTable to “count unique numbers in a list of orders”.

  21. Michelle R says:

    Arrays in VBA – There’s so much to know!! I don’t know where to start…

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Debra! I need to learn more about LOOPING macros and understanding VBA tricks/terminology in the short-cut tricks used by folks like yourself.

    I absolutely love the SameCellEdit coding in your DataValMultiSelect. So cool that it allows multiple drop-down list selections to populate a SINGLE cell! Brilliant and useful!

    I could use this Tips guide for help on finding a way to generate a SUM of the corresponding values assigned to each of the multiple text list entries. The text entries are currently assigned a score in a VLOOKUP table but it fails with multiple entries in a SINGLE cell (which is to be expected) Which is also why a VLOOKUP is likely not the best method and why I need to win this TIPS guide! LOL :)

    FYI – I’m not butt-kissing here, but your site and methodology for explaining is clear, concise and AWESOME at stepping me through any of the VAST unexplored territory in EXCEL.

    I think we are alot alike since your site clearly shows you have the heart of a ‘teacher’ with a ‘passion’ for sharing your EXCEL knowledge.

    That’s why I love your site so much, your helping me, helps me help the staff in my office have an EXCEL-lent day.

    Thanks for your consideration and I hope you have an EXCEL-lent day!


    • Thanks Karen! I appreciate your kind words about the Contextures site.

      And to the other commenters — don’t worry, I won’t give Karen any extra entries in the draw. ;-)

      • Karen says:

        LOL! Absolutely other contestants have no worries at all…I couldn’t win a free lunch even if I was the only name in the draw! The draw would likely end up cancelled due to ‘lack of interest’.

        Seriously, just finding this site is enough of a ‘win’ for me as it will be my ‘go-to’ resource going forward!

  23. Fred Newtz says:

    Tell us one area of Excel where you’re not an expert, and could use a few tips:

    The one area that I need help in is making an entry that takes a variable and converts it to the value I’ve defined. E.g., I have created and been using Excel for maintaining my checkbook balance as well as planning expenditures each month. Some of these are static in that they never change. My monthly social security check being one. Another is my monthly truck payment. I hope I was able to clearly express my need for expertise.

  24. Tony says:

    One of my many weeknesses, is the use of Dynamic Named Ranges in Pivot Tables. I get the theory but find it difficult to put into practice.

  25. Mark says:

    A certain weakness for me is charts – I can do basics but often end up writing some weird formula to show what can be achieved in a chart in seconds. Or shall I put down VBA as I love being a code geek and could always do with more tips and tricks to assist in the creation of an excel sheet I can sit back, look at think I made that.. but then again I always find a way to tweak it and make it better and improve it and change it… Does anyone ever finish an Excel sheet :)

  26. Hernán says:

    Array formulas! There are others but that’s one I can see getting a lot of benefit in the short term.

  27. Trouttrap2 says:

    I would like to know more about the Data Analysis and What If Analysis. I could use some tips from these areas.

  28. Rich D says:

    Charts and auditing tips would be useful.

  29. Cheryl says:

    My weakness is the What-If Analysis options. There are many of times I’d like to analyze based on a number of variations; I can kind of get out of them what I need, but I’m sure there are lots of tricks that make this so much easier and I don’t have to stumble over myself to get things done.

  30. Ed Rodman says:

    Weaknesses are formatting, charts and some functions. Pivots

  31. Zurbo says:

    Learning the basics of VBA.

  32. Ute-S says:

    Only last week I learned that statistics functions are the largest group of Excel functions – and they are the ones know the least about. So I would like to learn more bout those.

  33. WillWonka says:

    I am definitely not an expert in using Excel Charts and could definitely use some tips there.

  34. Dipo says:

    I clearly need help with VBA and will appreciate all the support.

  35. The one area where I need to improve is data modeling. Excel formations available on the Internet are mostly talking about specific areas of the software (formulas, Pivot Tables, etc.), but very few formations are about “putting it together”. But I am staring to see a change about that, which is nice. I also think that formations are targeted to “advanced” users, and they talk about VLOOKUP and the basics of Pivot Tables !

  36. Janice D says:

    I work with VBA frequently but am completely uneducated about user forms. I’d like to learn more about how to set up and use a basic form. A non-VBA topic I’m a novice at is using graphics in spreadsheets. I know the camera tool exists, but that’s the extent of it.

  37. Whitney Matson says:

    I would love to learn about VBA and macros. I haven’t started using these at all. With formulas, charts and tables, I find that it is tempting to keep using the same tricks repeatedly. So I need to push myself to look for new approaches. I love finding new formulas, functionality, and strategies because it always saves times and increases my analytic capabilities.

  38. Jeff says:

    One of the areas I struggle with is creating dashboards.

  39. Teresa Vanga says:

    Dynamic ranges, and VBA. I’m alright at recording, reading and tweaking other people’s code, creating buttons, but that’s about it. Dynamic ranges for charts though. I’d start there.

  40. D O'Leary says:

    I think there is always something new to learn or a better way of doing something. The biggest challenge I find is how best to document a spreadsheet in oder that order can use.

  41. Alexis says:

    I most comfortable with vlookups, pivot tables, and basic data manipulation (concatenate and other text functions). I would love to learn EVERYTHING else! More specifically, macros, VBA, match and index, and mute complex IFstatements. This site is a valuable resource. Thanks for providing this forum. The book seems like a must have! for the opportunity and good luck to everyone!

  42. Cheryl Davis says:

    I need help combining formulas and figuring out which method I’ve learned about will get me the results I need. I’ve improved in a lot of areas…but this is the brass ring I haven’t reached yet!

  43. Hermes says:

    Definitely need to learn more about array formulas and VBA & macros. Also in creating dashboards I have not had any experience.

  44. Arturo Lopez says:

    The arcane Power Pivot and DAX formulas. It seems to be the templar of the Excel.

  45. David Johnson says:

    I have mastered calculations and graphs as I just graduated with an engineering degree. However, my position requires marketing and I want to learn more about organizing and simplifying research and great tips that would have not been taught to an engineering student.

  46. Greg Crossland says:

    Hi i struggle with arrays and index and match but my biggest challenge is using excel to schedule a bank of wot centres and use Gantt charts with hourly breakdowns. I could use some serious help on that one. Since I have been applying the various tips and how tos on Contextures I feel I’m finally getting somewhere but this is still my biggest headache. Any suggestions as to how to get to the bottom of this scheduling would be greatly appreciated. I would particularly appreciate the structured learning this interactive learning offers so fingers crossed for this solid gold giveaway!

  47. John A Robinson says:

    I have always used ActiveX form controls (because more properties to work with). But since I have been allowed to work remotely at times, I found these controls resize themselves. So I have been gradually changing the controls to Form Controls. They do not resize but I do not have as many options. What is the difference betweent the two?

    Also, some information on the different data analysis tools, Power Pivot, Tableau, DataXLMiner etc. Some are Excel Add-ins, some stand alones. What are the pros and cons of each. :)

  48. Maxim Manuel says:

    I would use this to amaze my own self and go beyond my limits in excel. Good luck to me! :-)

  49. Renee says:

    I have been working in Excel for years and have quite a bit of experience with pivot tables and related charts. I have recently begun creating dashboards for my work place and have discovered that while I know a fair amount of formulas, my weakness is knowing how to combine them effectively to get my desired result. If I see a formula in completed form, with several nested formulas included, I can understand how it works. But I would have difficulty orchestrating the syntax to make it work if I had to create it on my own.

  50. Monique says:

    One area of weakness for me is definitely arrays. I’d also love to learn more about macros.

  51. Sara says:

    I have recently been using Excel mainly for data manipulation, VLOOKUP, MATCH, INDEX and pivot tables. I would like to learn more about pivot tables, macros, and comparing data between multiple columns to determine multiple differences.

  52. John Hines says:

    Dashboard reporting! I’m proficient in most areas of excel (and I love it), but Dashboards still confuse me. I purchased some templates from esceluser.com which are fantastic, but adding and manipulating my own data ‘does my head in’!

  53. John Hines says:

    Dashboard reporting! I’m proficient in most areas of excel (and I love it), but Dashboards still confuse me. I purchased some templates from exceluser.com which are fantastic, but adding and manipulating my own data ‘does my head in’!

  54. MFExcel says:

    VBA is definitely an area of my weakness… need to invest time to learn sth that will finally help save a lot of time for doing boring and tedious jobs :)

  55. Inigo says:

    My area of weakness is VBA… and array formulas, certainly!

  56. Thanks for all your entries and the deadline has passed. I will announce the winners tomorrow, August 15th, 2013.

  57. bill1r says:

    Sorry I missed the contest but I still enjoy reading the information and learning more all the time about Excel.

    Keep u the good work!