Category Archive: AccountingWEB Excel articles

Mar 14

The Indispensable NCAA Bracket Tool: Excel

by David Ringstrom,CPA

 

It’s almost Selection Sunday, when it seems that everyone in the country, including President Obama, makes their picks for the Final Four. There’s no need to search the Internet for a bracket template – you’re just a few mouse clicks away from one in Microsoft Excel. Many users overlook the wide variety of templates that are readily available in Excel. Poke around a bit, and you’ll find a dizzying array of business templates, along with a cricket scorecard, football pool squares, and much more.

 

To continue reading see  www.accountingweb.com

An alternate version of this article also appeared at GoingConcern.com.

About the author:
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, teaches webcasts for CPE Link, and writes freelance articles on Excel for AccountingWEB, Going Concern, et.al.

 

Mar 11

Part 2 of Identifying Duplicate Values in an Excel List.

by David Ringstrom,CPA

 

In a previous article I explained how you can use Conditional Formatting in Excel 2007 and later to highlight duplicate values with just a couple of mouse-clicks. Although easy to implement, this technique identifies all instances of a duplicate value. A reader then asked how to format only the second and any subsequent instances. In this article I'll explain how, along with instructions on identifying duplicate values in Excel 2003 and earlier.

Let's say that we have a list of names, such as shown in Figure 1. Our goal is to highlight the second and any subsequent times that a name appears more than once on a list. To do so, we'll select the names, and then carry out these steps:

 

To continue reading see  www.accountingweb.com .

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

 

Mar 11

Techniques for When Excel Worksheet Tabs Go Missing

by David Ringstrom,CPA

 

It can be disconcerting when you open an Excel workbook that has several worksheets, but you only see single worksheet. If this happens, your “missing” worksheets may be hiding in plain sight due to a simple Excel setting. In addition to restoring vanished worksheet tabs, I'll also describe a couple of techniques for navigating workbooks easier, as well as other ways to find hidden worksheets.
 
Typically, within an Excel workbook you'll see worksheet tabs along the bottom of the screen, but it's also possible to hide the worksheet tabs, as shown in Figure 1. To manage this setting:
  • Excel 2010/2013: As shown in Figure 2, choose File, Options, and then enable the Show Sheet Tabs setting in the Display Options section of the Advanced options.
  • Excel 2007: Click the Office button, choose Excel Options, and then then enable the Show Sheet Tabs setting in the Display Options section of the Advanced options.
  • Excel 2003 and earlier: Choose Tools, Options, Display, and then Show Sheet Tabs.
  • Excel 2011 for Mac: Choose Excel, Preferences, View, and then Show Sheet Tabs. 
 

 To continue reading see www.accountingweb.com . 

 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

Mar 10

Many Ways to Use Excel’s Name Box

 

by David Ringstrom,CPA

 

It's pretty much impossible to use Excel and not notice the Name Box, which appears just above the upper-left-hand corner of the worksheet frame. Most users know this as the space in Excel where you can determine the address of the currently selected cell. A smaller subset of users relies on the Name Box as a navigation aid. However, that unobtrusive rectangle belies a dizzying array of functionality in Microsoft Excel. 
 
Twenty-Five Techniques:
 
 To continue reading see www.accountingweb.com  

 

Hat tip to Richard Harker for his serendipitous discovery of how the letters R and C have special meaning within the Name Box.
.
 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

 

Feb 21

How to Improve Spreadsheet Integrity with VLOOKUP

By David Ringstrom, CPA

 

Building complex spreadsheets without lookup formulas, such as VLOOKUP, is akin to putting a screw in the wall with a hammer. It’s possible, but the results aren’t pretty, and most probably won’t maintain integrity. The same can be said for spreadsheets where you manually reference individual cells over and over again, instead of letting Excel do the work for you.
Let’s say that you want to be able to look up addresses from a list based on a name. Users that are unaware of VLOOKUP often resort to manually copying and pasting the information, or creating simple formulas that point to the information. In the context of an invoice or other form, these “manual” lookups can become tedious. Instead, we can give Excel’s VLOOKUP function four pieces of information:

 

Continue reading on www.accountingweb.com

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Feb 13

How to Resolve Duplicate Data within Excel Pivot Tables

By David Ringstrom, CPA

 

An attendee from my recent pivot table webinar posed a question that I hadn’t encountered before.
Pamela had an issue where some, but not all, items within her pivot table were being duplicated, with two different totals. If you’re new to pivot tables, you can catch up by watching a free recording of the webinar.

 

Continue reading on www.accountingweb.com

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Jan 13

Spreadsheet-Based Form 1040 Available at No Cost for 2013 Tax Year

By David Ringstrom, CPA

Although the IRS is still madly preparing for the 2013 filing season, one man remains ahead of the curve.

Glenn Reeves of Burlington, Kansas, has released his seventeenth spreadsheet-based version of the US Individual Income Tax Return, commonly known as Form 1040. Since 1997, Mr. Reeves has pursued this “labor of love,” which means he allows any taxpayer to download and use the spreadsheet for free.

 

Continue reading on www.accountingweb.com

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Dec 12

The Curious Case of Strikethrough in Word and Excel

By David Ringstrom, CPA
I often find myself using the strikethrough feature in both Word and Excel to mark items as completed. This feature is fairly straightforward in Word, as a strikethrough icon appears prominently on the Home tab in Word 2007 and later. Conversely, in Excel this feature doesn't have its own icon, but it does have a keyboard shortcut, Ctrl-5. Yet there's no built-in shortcut for strikethrough in Word. In this article, I'll describe a couple of ways that you can streamline access to this – and pretty much any feature – in both Word and Excel.
As shown in Figure 1, the strikethrough feature is a font setting that allows you to draw a line through text. In Word 2007 and later, you can select a block of text and then toggle strikethrough on or off with a mouse click. You can also access this feature from the Effects section of the Fonts dialog box shown in Figure 1. The traditional way to apply strikethrough in Excel involves carrying out steps A through C by way of the Format Cells dialog box.
Continue reading on www.accountingweb.com

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Nov 23

How to Conditionally Display Decimal Places in Excel: Part 2

 
by David Ringstrom,CPA
 
In Part 1 of this series I showed how to use a custom number format to conditionally display decimal places. Although the technique is simple, the downside is it may not work in every situation. For instance, the number formats shown in Part 1 would display 0.75 with two decimal places, but would round 4,200.75 up to 4,201 since 4,200.75 is greater than 1. In this article, I'll describe how to use Excel's Conditional Formatting feature to handle just about every imaginable situation.
 
Excel's Conditional Formatting feature is available on the Home tab of Excel 2007 and later for Windows as well as Excel 2011 for Mac, or the Format menu of Excel 2003 and earlier. You can establish up to 64 levels of Conditional Formatting in Excel 2007 and later, or 3 levels in Excel 2003 and earlier.
 

 

Related article:

A previous version of this article first appeared on www.accountingweb.com .
 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

 

Nov 13

How to Conditionally Display Decimal Places in Excel: Part 1

 
by David Ringstrom,CPA
 
 
The simple task of displaying decimal places sometimes causes angst for spreadsheet users. If you have a list of both large and small numbers, there's tension between rounding the small numbers to whole values and making the large numbers harder to read by adding two trailing zeros.
 
In this article, I'll describe how to add decimal places on demand by way of using a custom number format. In Part 2 of this series, I'll demonstrate an alternative that uses the MOD function along with Excel's Conditional Formatting feature.
 

 

Related article:
 Continue reading on www.accountingweb.com .
 
 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

 

Aug 08

Maximizing Excel’s Recent Items Menu

 
By David Ringstrom, CPA
 
 

Depending upon your version of Excel, the Recent list on the File menu can streamline access to both files and folders. If you work on numerous spreadsheets, this list offers marginal value in Excel 2003 and earlier. The list gained some new functionality in Excel 2007, reached its zenith in Excel 2010, and fell back somewhat in Excel 2013. This list provides one-click access to between 4 and 25 files (and sometimes folders). As you'll see in this article, each version of Excel offers markedly different functionality with regard to accessing recent spreadsheets.
 
 
 

Continue reading this article  where it first appeared: www.accountingweb.com

 
 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

 

Aug 02

Converting a Digital Photo into an Excel Spreadsheet

By David Ringstrom, CPA

In an unlikely mash-up, Matt Parker of Think Maths offers a free tool that converts a digital photo of your choice into an Excel spreadsheet. According to the website, “digital photographs are actually just spreadsheets. When you take a photo, your camera measures the amount of red, green, and blue light hitting each pixel, ranks them on a scale of 0 to 255, and then records those values as a spreadsheet.” Parker's website is able to extract said values from a digital photo, record the numeric values in worksheet cells, and then use Excel's Conditional Formatting feature to recreate the photograph.

 

 

Continue reading where this article first appeared:  www.accountingweb.com .
 

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link


 
 

Jul 26

How to Automate Text File Links in Microsoft Excel

By David Ringstrom, CPA
 

Some time ago, I explained how to use Excel's Text to Columns Wizard for separating text within a spreadsheet into columns. Although this approach is helpful for data that's in a spreadsheet, in other cases, you may wish to link spreadsheets to text files that change periodically. In this article, I'll walk you through the steps of automating this process.

 

Continue reading this article where it first appeared:  www.accountingweb.com .

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Jul 12

How to Eliminate a Common Spreadsheet Design Flaw

By David Ringstrom, CPA
 

Data within Excel spreadsheets is commonly organized in columns, with explanatory titles at the top of each section. When carrying out this most basic of data entry tasks, many Excel users often unwittingly cause Excel to be harder to use. Whenever column headings within a worksheet span two or more rows, a cascade of issues can occur. Fortunately, a simple technique can help you avoid frustration and save time when working in Microsoft Excel.

 

  Continue reading this article where it first appeared: www.accountingweb.com .

 

 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

Jun 28

Three Ways to Convert Text-Based Numbers to Values

By David Ringstrom, CPA



Periodically, you may encounter numbers in Excel that you can't sum or use arithmetically. A common cause for this is numbers formatted as text. Often, reports exported from other programs, such as an accounting package, will be formatted as text or they might contain embedded spaces.

In this article, I'll describe three ways you can convert numbers that appear trapped under glass into a usable format.


First, there are a couple of ways to determine if your numbers are formatted as text. Select one or more of the suspect values and then in:
  • Excel 2007 and later or Excel:Mac 2011: Determine if the word Text appears on the Home tab, as shown in Figure 1.
  • Excel 2003 and earlier: Choose Format, Cells, and then determine if the Number tab is set to Text.
Figure 1: The Text format prevents you from using numbers with mathematical functions.


The Text format in a cell displays the contents of a worksheet cell rather than its result. Thus, if you enter a formula in a cell formatted as text, the underlying formula will appear in your worksheet cell rather than the result.


However, the Text format is not the only way to store values as text. If you look closely within a worksheet cell, you may see that a numeric value is prefaced with a single quote. This is another means to display the contents of a cell rather than the result.


You can categorically determine if a number is stored as text by way of the ISTEXT worksheet function. For instance, if cell A1 contains a value you think may be stored as text, type this formula in a nearby blank cell:
=ISTEXT(A1)
The ISTEXT function will return TRUE if the value in cell A1 is being stored as text, or FALSE if it isn't.


Now that we know how to determine if a number is stored as text, let's look at three ways to convert one or more cells back to numeric values:


One approach is to use the =VALUE function, as shown in Figure 2. If the cell that you reference with the VALUE formula can be converted to a numeric value, you'll see the corresponding number. Otherwise, you'll see a #VALUE! error, which signifies that the referenced cell contains letters or other non-numeric contents. You can then copy the VALUE formula as needed to convert additional values to numbers. Keep in mind that you'll then need to copy these formulas to the clipboard, and then use Paste Special, Values to preserve the numeric results. You might choose to replace the original set of numbers with the results from the VALUE formulas, after which you can clear the VALUE formulas from the spreadsheet.
Figure 2: You can use the VALUE function to convert numbers stored as text to usable values.


A somewhat simpler approach involves using the Paste Special, Multiply command. In any version of Excel, enter the number 1 in a blank cell and then copy that value to the clipboard. Next, select the range of values stored as text, right-click, and choose Paste Special, Multiply, and then OK. You can then clear 1 from the worksheet cell.
Figure 3: You can also convert numbers stored as text to values by multiplying the cells by 1.


The easiest way to convert a range of values to text, though, involves using the Text to Columns feature. In any version of Excel, select the range of cells that contain numbers stored as text, then choose Data, Text to Columns, and then click Finish. Don't select any choices within Text to Columns; simply launch the wizard and then click Finish, as shown in Figure 4. Your text-based numbers will be usable numbers in Excel.


Figure 4: The Text to Columns wizard is the easiest way to convert numbers stored as text to values.


A previous version of this article first appeared on www.accountingweb.com .
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@nullacctadv.com  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link

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