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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Easily remove blank rows in Excel data

Another wonderfully simple tip from Chandoo at his Pointy Haired Dilbert blog:

Removing blank rows from other peoples' spreadsheets is something that has taken up my time on a number of occasions. I love this simple tip (that works in Excel 2003 as well as 2007) that reduces this to a few key strokes to remove the lot.

See the tip.




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The importance of personality in communications - A lesson learned from Freddie

I learned a useful lesson yesterday regarding the importance of putting personality into my professional communications.

Subscribers to this blog will know that yesterday, when sending out an email letting you know about Spreadsheets by Email's January 20% off deal, I managed to call you all "Freddie"! This was the result of a copying and pasting error, entirely of my own doing.

I spotted the error and immediately fired off a new email to all subscribers apologising for my stupidity. What happened next surprised me. This brief apology email solicited many more replies than probably anything I have ever sent out. I started to look at the reasons for this and came to the conclusion - it clearly came from a human being!

Training as a Chartered Accountant, I was brought up to write professional reports and letters (it was the 1990s!). Clearly professionalism has its place but things have changed - with the amount of information flying into everyone's Inbox these days, personality is the only thing that makes any communication stand out. I like to think that there is some personality in my emails to individuals but when sending an email (or a blog post) that is aimed at a group I tend to get a bit dry and professional.

Following my little "Freddie" incident however, I have hopefully learned a valuable lesson. In future I will try to ensure that there is more of "me" in my emails and blog posts. You will let me know when I slip up and revert to being boring and professional, won't you?


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Thursday, 14 January 2010

What effect has the bad weather had on your business?

Here in the UK we have had one of the worst spells of weather for many years, with deep snow and freezing temperatures for weeks. The media seem to have gone overboard on the disruption caused but I would like to hear some real stories of how it has (or hasn't) affected your business.

In my business it has not stopped anyone getting to work, but I do get the impression that clients are taking longer to get moving after the Christmas break than would be normal. Whether this is due to staff absences as a result of the weather or simply the distraction of constantly talking about it, I don't know.

Please tell me your experience in the comments to this post.

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Thursday, 7 January 2010

Give yourself the gift of time in 2010

I'm always telling my son that time is our most precious possession - once a minute has passed, we can never get it back again. As the old saying goes, "Time is money", but it is much more valuable than that if you think about it - you can swap your time for money, but money can't buy you any more time (to horribly misquote The Beatles).

We may not be able to buy more time but we can have a similar effect, by saving time on regular tasks, so that we can use it for something more productive or enjoyable.

Why not start the year by automating a regular job or task to save you time for the whole year.

I have done some quick calculations to show three simple ways to gift yourself a whole extra working day (8 hours) in 2010 (assuming you act now!):

Automate a monthly job that usually takes 40 minutes;
or
Automate a weekly job that usually takes 10 minutes;
or
Automate a daily job that usually takes 2 minutes;

How hard can that be? Think of all the jobs that you do that could be speeded up, or eliminated, with a little thought and maybe a simple spreadsheet. IBold bet you could gift yourself more than a day. Just think, saving a 10 minute job a day would save you a working week!

If you think you'll need a spreadsheet to automate the job, you don't even have to do it yourself - we can do it for you at Spreadsheets by Email.

The key is that you look at what you are spending these precious minutes of your life on.

Here's to a happy and productive year!

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

January Poll - Which version of Excel do you mostly use?

With the impending launch of Office 2010 this year, I thought it would be interesting to know what versions of Excel readers were currently using.

Please use the poll at the top left of this blog to let me know.

Personally, I have both 2007 and 2003 installed but I still do most of my development work for clients in Microsoft Excel 2003, because of the backwards compatibility issues from Excel 2007. Excel 2007 is much more powerful, particularly with large datasets, but the potential problems if the client is using 2003 are too great to justify changing my default position. I also have many corporate clients who have not made the move up to 2007 for similar reasons.

I also have the Beta version of 2010 but have not had the time to properly play with it yet.


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