Excel University Blog

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Import and Clean Bank Activity

By Jeff Lenning | February 15, 2018 |

If you have ever downloaded bank activity from your bank’s website, you know there is some amount of cleaning you need to do before the data is ready to use. Perhaps the next step is to summarize the bank activity with a PivotTable, or, perhaps to perform a bank rec. Regardless of your ultimate objective,…

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Tips from 20 Excel Experts

By Jeff Lenning | February 7, 2018 |

My Excel-friend John Michaloudis does an annual interview of Excel experts from all over the world. The format of his interview is an audio podcast. This year, you can hear directly from 20 Excel experts as they share their best Excel tips and ideas. The tips include shortcuts, functions, and features, and it is a…

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One-Click Data Model Date Table

By Jeff Lenning | January 31, 2018 |

Using the Data Model (or Power Pivot) helps us build some amazing PivotTables. A date table (or calendar table) is integral to most data models as they allow us to group reports by various date periods and use a wide variety of time intelligence functions. Although there are many ways to build such a date…

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Basic Excel Time-Savings Tips

By Jeff Lenning | January 24, 2018 |

If you like shortcuts, features, and tools that can save you time in Excel, I’d like to call your attention to a Journal of Accountancy article that includes tips from several Excel experts. I’m honored that my tips were included in the article 🙂 The article includes these main categories of tips: Keyboard shortcuts Quick…

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Comparing Lists with Conditional Formatting

By Jeff Lenning | January 17, 2018 |

Comparing lists is a fairly common task in Excel, and as with anything, there are many ways to approach it. When we compare two lists, we are essentially trying to find out which names appear in both lists, or, which names appear in only one list. Tony posted a blog comment about how to perform…

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VLOOKUP Hack #10: Maslow’s Hammer

By Jeff Lenning | January 10, 2018 |

Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a line that is often referred to as Maslow’s Hammer. It goes something like this: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” I’ve heard the simplified version more often: “If all you have is a…

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VLOOKUP Hack #9: Partial Match

By Jeff Lenning | January 3, 2018 |

Let’s say we want VLOOKUP to match the lookup value “North Region” with “North Region Subtotal” stored in the lookup range. We started this series by looking at the 4th argument. We know it can be TRUE or FALSE. FALSE means exact match and TRUE means approximate match. So, what exactly is an approximate match?…

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VLOOKUP Hack #8: Extra Spaces

By Jeff Lenning | December 12, 2017 |

Here’s a VLOOKUP question for you: What happens when the lookup value includes extra spaces? For example, a few trailing spaces, or leading spaces, or, extra spaces in the middle of the text string. When the lookup value has extra spaces, but the lookup range values don’t, VLOOKUP runs into problems. This leads us to…

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VLOOKUP Hack #7: Different Columns

By Jeff Lenning | December 6, 2017 |

In this post, we’ll continue hacking the 1st argument. Here is the basic setup. We are building a report. The report structure uses multiple columns to store the report labels, such as sales, cost of sales, selling expenses, and so on. So, can we write a formula that works when the lookup values are stored…

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VLOOKUP Hack #6: Different Data Types

By Jeff Lenning | November 29, 2017 |

We started this blog series by examining the 4th argument. We’ve since hacked the 3rd argument and then the 2nd argument. Now, as you can imagine, it is time to hack the 1st argument. There are many fun hacks we can do with the 1st argument, so, I’ll cover them over a few posts. In…

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