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Excel Weekly News from Contextures Jan. 29, 2013

Ugly charts, free Excel audit tool, and other tips, in this week's Excel news from Contextures.

 -  Debra

Custom Ribbon Tab Introduction

Last week I showed you how to create a custom Ribbon tab for a workbook, with buttons to run its macros. Have you tried this technique in your own workbooks yet?

If you're still hesitating, here is another custom Ribbon tab video, showing the basics of viewing the Ribbon code, and making a minor change to it.

To see the details, and to download the sample file, click here: Excel Ribbon - Custom Tabs Intro

Avoid Backstage View in Excel 2013

In Excel 2013, if you click the File tab, you go to the Backstage view. The Open command is selected, and you can select a file and open it.

However, it takes a few clicks to get to the Open window, where you can see all of your folders and files. If you'd prefer to avoid the Backstage view, and get right to the Open window, you can change a setting in Excel's Options.

To see the instructions for turning off the Backstage view, click here: Show File Open Window in Excel 2013

Spreadsheet Studio

[Update: The site is no longer available]

Chartered accountant, Joseph McDaid, has created an impressive free Excel add-in, Spreadsheet Studio. This add-in's tools let you review and audit your Excel files, and create comments with priority ranking and task allocation.

You can colour formulas to see if they are consistent, highlight the input and output cells, and use the Formula Explorer to go to any range reference in a formula. Thanks to Julie Quick, from Blockhead Data, who recommended that I try this add-in. I'm very impressed with what it can do.

To watch the two minute demo video, and download the free add-in, click here: Spreadsheet Studio

Create a Column-Line Chart in Excel 2013

In Excel 2010, you can create a Column-Line chart by right-clicking on one of the series in a column chart, and selecting Change Series Chart Type

In Excel 2013, the old "Combo Chart" option is back, and Robin Wakefield shows how it works, in this article on Microsoft's Excel blog: Need to Combine Two Chart Types?

Color Vision Issues with Charts

Last week, I pointed out a truly awful heat map donut chart to Excel charting expert, Jon Peltier. Once his eyes had recovered, he wrote three articles about it:

Wow! Heat Map Donut Chart! - How the chart was built, and why it's ineffective

Chart Busters: Fix the Heat Map Donut Chart - Better ways to present the data

Color Vision Issues with Heat Map Donut Chart - Problems with using color to show data

And here is the original chart, in all its glory. Please do not try this at home!

International Settings in Excel

Excel aficionados, Kris, Robert and Gábor, have started a project to collect international settings used in Excel, and they would appreciate your help.

"The aim of our project is to collect and publish the list of regional settings used in different language Excel versions. Some of these settings come from Windows, others are defaults of Excel, so we need the help of users who can send us their "real world" settings. We believe this collection could be a great help for those developing international applications in Excel."

On the website, you can see which languages and Excel versions have already been submitted, and what language/Excel version combinations are missing.

To participate, or for more information, click here: International Settings in Excel

Excel Dashboard Course Discount

Mynda Treacy from My Online training Hub has re-opened her Excel Dashboard course, and if you sign up by tomorrow, January 30th, you can get it for 20% off. The course is video based, delivered online and is available 24/7. You also receive comprehensive workbooks and sample dashboards to keep. There's even an option to download the videos.

The previous classes were very successful, and you can read the glowing reviews from the students, who loved all the techniques that they learned in the course, and are using them to impress their colleagues. Click here to find out details of the course, read the student comments, and watch the 'behind the scenes' video that shows you what you'll receive as a member.

Remember, if you sign up by tomorrow, January 30th, you can get the dashboard course for 20% off.

Learn Excel Dashboards

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