Excel Roundup 20150928

In this week’s roundup, learn some Excel history, read Office 2016 reviews, download free add-ins to reduce Excel errors, and much more.

Excel Roundup http://blog.contextures.com/

1. Excel 30th Anniversary – Recalc or Die

This Wednesday, Sept 30th, is Excel’s 30th anniversary. Check out GeekWire’s interview with 4 original members of Microsoft’s Excel team — Mike Koss, Jabe Blumenthal, Doug Klunder and Jon DeVaan. Learn what they almost called it, and find out why Excel’s motto is “Recalc or Die”. Read the comments too!

If you’d like to share your earliest memories of Excel, please email me your story today, so I can include it in an anniversary blog post here, on Wednesday. Also, let me know what name/nickname and URL link you’d like to use.

2. Excel Add-ins to Reduce Errors

During his doctoral research as a University of Eastern Finland PhD candidate, Bennett Kankuzi developed two Excel add-ins, to help reduce errors in spreadsheets. You can read about them (in English) on the university’s website, and there is a link to download the add-ins and test them. You can read more about the DomainTermsViz add-in, and how it works, on Bennett’s blog.

3. Excel and Chart Tips

Mike Wong shares 5 Excel tips “that you’ll actually use”. Note – The FORMULATEXT tip will only work in Excel 2013 and later versions. And I hope that date grouping in pivot tables isn’t really a “little known” feature.

If you’re building charts, there’s good advice in Scott McLeod’s article on 10 Design Tips for Excel Charts.

4. Charting Utility Version 3.0

Don’t miss the discount! Jon Peltier has released Version 3.0 of his Excel Charting Utility. There is a $10 discount if you buy before this Wednesday — September 30th. You’ll get additional discounts if you upgrade from a previous version. If you build Excel charts more than occasionally, you need this time-saving add-in!

5. Office 2016 Review

Office 2016 was released on Sept. 22nd, and Ed Bott took a look at the new features. It looks a little different from Excel 2013, and apparently the Help is better, with a little light bulb to click on the Ribbon. (Do you remember the old “Tip of the Day” that had a light bulb too?) There are many other small improvements, and you can read about them in Ed’s blog post.

The Verge also reviewed Office 2016, and reports that “Excel only has one notable change: six new chart types.”

6. Combine Text and Numbers

Ben Kusmin shows how to use the TEXT function to combine text and formatted numbers, in a specific pattern. In his example for a law firm, Ben combines a client name with raw numbers, to create a list of properly-formatted Bates numbers, such as BigBank_007550.

7. Data Culture Day – London

If you’re in the London area, you can register for the free The Data Culture Day London – Power BI Edition.

  • Date: Saturday Nov. 28, 2015
  • Time: 9.00 AM to 5.30 PM
  • Where: Microsoft UK Ltd, Cardinal Place, Victoria Street, Victoria, LONDON SW1E 5JD
  • Cost: FREE
  • Registration and details:  Data Culture Day London – Power BI Edition

8. Excel Humour

Finally, for a bit of spreadsheet humour, you can see what people are saying about Excel, in my weekly collection of tweets. Here’s one of my favourite tweets from this week’s collection. Can you work faster than Excel?

twitter20150925b

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Excel Roundup http://blog.contextures.com/

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4 Responses

  1. ervit says:

    I’ve tried out the domain terms visualization addins (only the samples, didn’t try on my own files). It is close to what you get from structured references in a named table, although visualization is more prominent. However, it recalculates forever after every change, which is unacceptable in a working environment. It is more of a help for final error-checking step, I suppose.

  2. Bennett Kankuzi says:

    Thanks so much Debra Dalgleish for featuring the domain terms visualization add-ins in this round-up post. Many people around the world have accessed the add-ins through this blog post. I am so thankful!

    @ervit, thanks so much for testing the add-ins and for your feedback. The purpose of the add-in is to mainly let spreadsheet developers use more of their mental model of their application domain as they work on their spreadsheet. Moreover, the add-in also lets spreadsheet developers to be more aware of changes happening in a spreadsheet as they work on it through the on-spot feedback to the spreadsheet developer on changes being done to the spreadsheet. The recalculation step is therefore an important step that makes sure that as a spreadsheet user makes changes to a spreadsheet, all the domain narratives and formula cell markings are up to date (correct). With the current add-ins, the recalculation does not happen when, say, one is just inputting a number in a cell as this does not need the domain narrative referencing the cell to be updated. However, it is important to do a recalculation when a label is updated as a cell which is referenced in a particular domain narrative whose label has changed, will need to have the domain narrative updated accordingly. A recalculation is also necessary when formula has been edited so that the corresponding domain narrative is updated accordingly. Similarly, say when a whole row or column is deleted or inserted, a recalculation is necessary to have all affected domain narratives updated accordingly. Currently this recalculation affects all cells in a spreadsheet hence affecting the efficiency of the add-in. In the next version of the add-in, I will address this bottleneck by restricting the range of cells to be recalculated such that after a change, only the cells whose domain narratives are affected by the change, should be the only ones recalculated. Once again, many thanks for the testing and feedback!

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