## Thursday 18 February 2010

### Become a Pivot Table Expert and save

Apologies for a blatantly promotional post, but I think many of you might find it very useful.

To celebrate the 1st birthday of Spreadsheets by Email I am making a very special offer on our Introduction to Pivot Tables course.

Purchase the Introduction to Pivot Tables video course on or before 25th February and receive a massive 50% discount on the purchase price.

But that's not all - Purchase the course before this date and you will receive a voucher for 20% off any spreadsheet you want built at Spreadsheets by Email.

So, what better time than right now to become a Pivot Table Expert.

End of blatant promotionalism.

If you enjoyed this post, go to the top left corner of the blog, where you can subscribe for regular updates and your free report.

## Wednesday 17 February 2010

### Using the OFFSET function in Microsoft Excel (Great for budgets)

The OFFSET function is incredibly useful, especially when looking up budget information. It allows you to look up data based upon its position relative to another cell.

The format is:

=OFFSET(reference,rows,cols,[height],[width])

[arguments in square brackets are optional]

where:

reference is the cell reference from which you wish to calculate the offset
rows is how many rows you wish to count down (up if negative) from reference
cols is how many columns you wish to count to the right (left if negative) of reference
height is the height of the range returned (1 if not entered)
width is the width of the range returned (1 if not entered)

To use this to look up budget data in management accounts:

Where your 12 months budget figures are in cells E5 to P5, and your current period number is stored in cell A5, you can use the formula =OFFSET(E5,0,A5-1) to return the current month's budget.

To return the cumulative budget for the current month, you would use the optional arguments along with the SUM function - i.e. =SUM(OFFSET(E5,0,0,1,A5)). This returns a the sum of the range that starts at cell E5 (month 1), has a height of 1 row and a width of the number of months to date.

Have a play with this function, see what you can do with it. Also, let me know in the comments below any other uses you have for this function.

If you enjoyed this post, go to the top left corner of the blog, where you can subscribe for regular updates and your free report.

## Tuesday 16 February 2010

### Please judge my blog jiggery pokery

I have made a number of changes to the layout of the blog and would appreciate any comments. I have tried to make it look cleaner as well as allowing additional information to be shown in a new side-bar down the right as well as the left.

Please comment below with any feedback.

If you enjoyed this post, go to the top left corner of the blog, where you can subscribe for regular updates and your free report.

## Tuesday 9 February 2010

### Top 5 Tips to make Excel Spreadsheets work for you

I thought I would share with you an article I was kindly asked to write for Malcolm Gallagher's Achiever Newsletter. It's a nice summary of what I think are the top 5 most useful things to learn to get the most out of Excel. I'd also love to hear any you feel I have missed (please use the comments below).

Here is the article:

Top 5 Tips to make Excel Spreadsheets work for you

You probably already use Excel in your business to some extent, but very few businesses even scratch the surface of what it can do for them. I build spreadsheets for businesses throughout the world and below I will show you the top 5 things you should know to really start making Excel work for your business:

1.      Learn Pivot Tables - The number one spot has to go to learning how to create a Pivot Table. A pivot table allows you to analyse any data you have, whether you have keyed it in or pulled it from a database such as your accounting software, in seconds. Master these and you will amaze yourself with how you can master your data. There is not enough space here to show you how to do this, but here is a FREE VIDEO that will take you through it step-by-step.
2.      Find the Insert Function (fx) button - This little tip pushed pivot tables close for the number one spot because it allows you to use any function Excel has, without knowing it first. All you need to do is click the little fx button to the left of the formula bar and you can browse all of Excel’s formulae. It will tell you what the formula does, how to use it and then help you to fill in the arguments step-by-step. To see how it does this, just click on it, or see this blog post for more detail.
3.      Use dropdowns for data entry – The information you get from a spreadsheet is only as good as the data you (or your employees) put in. It is very easy to use Excel’s Data Validation to create a drop-down list that only allows you to enter data from that list. I have created a blog post that covers how to do this in detail.
4.      Learn the VLOOKUP formula – You can access this via the Insert Function (fx) facility discussed in point 2. VLOOKUP allows you to look up data from a list in a spreadsheet. For example, you could enter a product code and automatically show the description and price from a separate price list. Use the fx button for more detail or watch the FREE VIDEO on my blog.
5.      Learn how to record a macro – a macro is a short program attached to a spreadsheet that carries out a particular task. The good news is that you do not need to be a programmer to create one – when you have a repetitive task you can simply ask Excel to record you carrying out the task and create a macro to do it automatically next time. You do this by selecting Tools > Macro > Record New Macro… Again, there is a short FREE VIDEO on my blog.
Hopefully these tips help you to tap into how Excel can help your business, just question whenever you are manually manipulating data whether it can be done in Excel – it almost certainly can.
For those of you who don’t have the time, or the inclination, to build the spreadsheet you need, why not let my team and I do it for you at Spreadsheets by Email?

If you enjoyed this post, go to the top left corner of the blog, where you can subscribe for regular updates and your free report. If you wish to help me to provide future posts like this, please consider donating using the button in the right hand column.