Excel Weekly News from Contextures Sep 10, 2013

Create your own icon sets + more Excel tips

In this week's Excel news, you'll see how to create icon sets, and other tips. Thank you for reading the Excel news!

 -  Debra ddalgleish@contextures.com

Excel Dashboard Tool Giveaway

The four winners of last week's giveaway, for the Excel Gantt Chart Template, by Jon Wittwer at Vertex42, are John A Robinson, Neil R, jimmm and Beth. Congratulations!

This week, you can enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Mike Alexander's new Excel Dashboard Tool. This handy add-in will help you plan and design your dashboard. Two winners will be selected in a random draw.

Go to my blog post, read the rules, and add your comment, to enter the draw for this add-in. The deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 11th, at 12 noon, Eastern time.

Click here to see the details, and to enter the giveaway: Excel Dashboard Tool Giveaway

Create Pivot Chart from Data in Excel 2013

There is a new feature in Excel 2013, that lets you create a pivot chart without building a pivot table first. Just select a cell in the data, then click the Recommended Charts button on the Ribbon.

You'll see a list of charts, and some have a pivot table icon at the top right. Use one of those charts to create a pivot chart -- a connected pivot table will be automatically added to the worksheet.

Click here to see the details, and watch the video: Create Pivot Chart from Data in Excel 2013

Create Your Own Excel Icon Set

In Excel 2007 and later, you can use conditional formatting icon sets to highlight cell values. You can customize the icon sets, in Excel 2010, and pick from any of the available icons. However, you can't create your own icons, or change the icon colors.

If you need icons or colors that aren't available, you can create your own, by inserting symbols and using conditional formatting to change their color. In the screen shot below, you can see the symbols that I created - a red up arrow for high numbers and green down arrow for low numbers.

Click here to see the details: Create Your Own Excel Icon Set

More Excel Tips

Here are a few more Excel articles that I read this week, that you might find useful:

  1. The BBC listed five embarrassing spreadsheet snafus, including oversold Olympic tickets, and a cut and paste error that cost $24 million.
  2. Jon Peltier takes a deep and detailed look at using colors in Excel, from the old color palette, to the newer themes and color pickers.
  3. For a humorous peek at what other people are saying about Excel, read this week's collection of Excel tweets, on my Excel Theatre blog.
  4. Do you follow all 5 of Chandoo's rules for making awesome column charts? Read the comments too, for more opinions on the building charts.

Video: Adjust the Formula Bar and Ribbon

To make it easier to work in Excel, you can adjust the Formula Bar, Name Box and Ribbon. By changing the size of these tools, you can give yourself more room to work.

Watch the steps for adjusting these tools in this video -- it shows Excel 2007, and the steps are the same in later versions.

First Apples Ready to Pick

We live in Mississauga, one of Canada's largest cities. Fortunately, we're close to the city's border, and farmland is just a few minutes away. Last weekend, we visited one of the nearby apple orchards, and picked some of the early crop. Our favourite variety -- Macintosh -- won't be ready for a few weeks, but these Ginger Gold apples were tasty too.


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