Sunday, November 29, 2009

Excel 2010 - More News!

Now that we are nearing 2010, you may be interested in what is going to be New and Cool in the latest release of Microsoft Excel 2010. Here is a brief overview of some of the new and/or improved features:

  • Continued innovation in the charting engine, with features like “sparklines”, a better user-interface, cross-sheet conditional formatting, and improved interactivity.
  • Improved Excel Web App experience, with many core features available in your favorite browser. Multiple users can now edit the same spreadsheet simultaneously.
  • Speedier calculations with improvements in file load and charting that make Excel feel faster overall.
  • New functions have been added, along with a new version of Solver.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my geeky hands on a copy of the new Excel. Please let me know if you are one of the privileged few to get an advance copy. Cheers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Add More Lines of Text in a Cell

Although the focus of Excel is numbers, there are times when you want to enter text into cells as well. Sometimes you may even want to add another paragraph (or perhaps just a line break) in a single cell. If you are working in Word, that’s easy – just hit the Enter key.

In Excel, however, hitting Enter will just take you to the next row below. “Bummer!” you say, but take heart, the solution is so easy it will make you laugh.

All you need to do is press Alt+Enter to start a new line in the cell in which you are typing or editing. That’s all there is to it! (See if you colleagues know that one…).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Viewing Excel on Two Monitors

Unlike MS Word, the great minds at Microsoft have chosen to not make the default ability to view different Excel workbooks simultaneously on two monitors. Since many of us use multiple monitors and would occasionally like to compare worksheets, this can be annoying.

Although you can mess around with the folder options in the Windows Tools, there is a very easy way to make Excel display to your liking. All you have to do is hold down on the CTRL key when you launch Excel for a second time and it will open a second instance that you can drag into a second window.

Yup! That’s all there is to it! If you use two or more monitors, give it a try sometime! It is easy and effective.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Using Goal Seek

"What If” scenarios are a valuable instrument for nearly any business. Excel provides a great tool to accomplish this by automatically making changes in a variable using Goal Seek (it can save you a ton of work, and make you look good in the process).

Using a very simple example, let’s say that you are a call center sales manager, and you know the approximate number of calls you are going to receive for the next month, as well as the sales goal that has been set by the executive branch. You wish to know the call-to-sale-conversion-rate so you can advise your staff. A rudimentary calculator can be created in the cells of your Excel worksheet as follows:

Number of Calls x Conversion Rate = Number of Sales (e.g. C4*C5 = C6)

After filling in the values for C4 and C6, you can use Goal Seek to calculate the required value for C5.

Obviously, this tool can be used to greater advantage with more complex scenarios, but you get the picture. Goal Seek can be a handy tool for the boardroom or any planning venue. Give it a try sometime!