Excel Weekly News from Contextures Oct 22, 2013

Show % Difference + more Excel tips

In this week's Excel news, you'll see how to show percent difference in a pivot table, and other tips. Thank you for reading the Excel news!

 -  Debra ddalgleish@contextures.com

Spreadsheet Day 2013

On October 17, 1979, the first version of the VisiCalc spreadsheet application was shipped, and that's why we celebrate Spreadsheet Day on October 17th. I hope that you had a party at your office, and carried on the festivities at home.

In honour of the occasion, I posted a collection of my favourite Excel tweets on my Spreadsheet Day blog, and listed a few interesting spreadsheet articles on my Contextures blog.

Show Percent Difference in Pivot Table Amounts

With one of the built-in custom calculations in a pivot table, you can quickly show the percent difference between two amounts. In this example, forecast amounts have been entered for each product, and the pivot table shows the % difference between the forecast and the actual units sold.

Click here to see the details: Show Percent Difference in Pivot Table Amounts

Check Winning Numbers with COUNTIF Function

The COUNTIF function can check a range of cells, and see if it contains a specific value. For example, type your lucky number in cell D2, and use a COUNTIF formula to see if that number is found in the list of winning numbers. If you have multiple numbers to check, you can use an array-entered COUNTIF formula press Ctrl + Shift + Enter, instead of just pressing Enter.

Click here to see the details: Check Winning Numbers with COUNTIF Function

More Excel Tips

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

  1. Instead of creating an Excel wizard with UserForms, Jordan Goldmeier shows you how to create a spreadsheet-based wizard.
  2. Can anything possibly be better than a pivot table? It's hard to believe, but Gasper Kamensek says that a PowerPivot pivot table is superior to an Excel pivot table.
  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. If you work with time and dates in Excel (and who doesn't?), Chandoo has a list of 42 time and date tips for you.

Video: Conditional Formatting Bars

In Excel 2007, data bars were added to the conditional formatting options, and this feature was improved in Excel 2010. Data bars can be used in cells with numbers, to give a quick visual representation of the data.

Watch this short video to see how they work.

Excel Dashboard Course Recommendation

For a limited time, Mynda Treacy from My Online training Hub is opening her Excel Dashboard Course, and if you sign up by October 24th, you can get the course for 20% off.

I've been through this course, and highly recommend it. The course is video based, delivered online and is available 24/7. You'll receive comprehensive workbooks and sample dashboards to keep, and there's even an option to download the videos.

Bonus: If you sign up for Mynda's course through one of my links, I'll send you a copy of my new Excel add-in -- Contextures Excel Tools -- when it's ready next month. (If you signed up for one of Mynda's earlier courses through my link, send me an email if you'd like a copy of the new add-in.)

Fading Fall Flowers

We cleaned out our garden on the weekend, so it will be ready for a new crop next spring. Most of the plants have stopped growing, except for the weeds, of course -- they thrive in any weather! So, it was surprising to see that these lovely purple flowers are still blooming, trailing over the fence from the neighbour's yard.


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