Friday reading: resources and inspiration for spreadsheet buffs

Here’s a collection of resources for you: a strange mix of advanced, esoteric and inspirational spreadsheet uses, showing how far some (mad)men and women push their spreadsheets. The list gets more light-hearted towards the bottom of the post!

Somehow I doubt Dan Bricklin would have envisioned all this when he invented the spreadsheet…

Spreadsheet programming

Functional programming in Excel from Felienne Hermans all about her research into treating Excel as programming language. Well worth a watch.

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Excel tutorial: build a dynamic bump chart of the English Premier League

Premier League team performance

Find your team: See the history of each of the 47 teams in the Premier League here.

In this post I’ll show you how to create a dynamic bump chart like the one above, using historical data for the English Premier League going back to 1992-93 when it was created.

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Spice Up Your Sheet Life Ebook

Enter your email below to get your copy of my free, 79-page ebook with 35 interesting tips and tricks for Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

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Spice Up Your Sheet Life Ebook

This book contains 35 detailed case studies, covering practical and esoteric, easy and difficult, short and long, Excel and Google Sheet tricks and techniques. My hope is that you’ll find some magic in these pages, to inspire you or show you new ways to use spreadsheets you didn’t know were possible.

For example, did you know you can build a language translation tool in a Google sheet? Or create a chart of stock prices in under 30 seconds? All possible and covered in these pages!

Thank you for all the great excel “hacks” and so on!!! It’s really helpful. – A reader from Germany

What about other weird tricks like looking up leftwards with VLOOKUP? Or lookups with multiple criteria? Writing SQL code in your spreadsheets? Check, check and check. All possible and covered in this book.

Great! – A reader from Melbourne, Australia

Wow! Really nice job – A reader from Washington, D.C., USA

Already am enjoying it – A reader from Virginia, USA

Excel-fficiency: 10 tips for boosting productivity in Excel

Status bar formulas

1. Shortcuts

Let’s start with keyboard shortcuts. It’s one of the single best investments of time you can make to further your spreadsheet skills. It’s all about reducing your reliance on the mouse and instead harnessing the awesome efficiency of navigating spreadsheets from the keyboard.

Try these for starters:
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Excel tutorial: Building a dynamic, animated dashboard for U.S. political data

Excel dynamic dashboard screenshot

Who doesn’t love a dynamic, animated Excel dashboard?

Here’s one I’ve been working on recently, a data visualization of historical U.S. political data, showing party trends, state populations and sitting presidents over time:

Excel Dynamic Dashboard - US Political data
Click to see full size

In the following post, I delve into the details of how I created this dashboard. It’s not a full cell-by-cell account of how I did it, because that would require an article at least twice as long, but rather a look at the various steps and thought processes along the way.

If it appears a little ragged, that’s because it probably is! Most likely because I’m writing this bleary eyed at 1am, between feeds and diaper changes of my 6 week old son. 😉

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