Excel University Blog

Read on for in-depth articles, tutorials, and videos. Search or browse for specific topics. Be sure to subscribe if you'd like to be notified when we write something new.


Display a Negative Number as Positive

By Jeff Lenning | June 12, 2015 |

With a simple custom format code, we can display negative numbers as positive…but…why would we want to? So that we can simplify our formulas and make our workbooks more reliable of course. Let’s check it out. Objective Before we get to the mechanics, let’s confirm our goal. We have a worksheet, in this case a little…

Read More

Excel University Volume 4 Update

By Jeff Lenning | June 4, 2015 |

Alright friends, I have an update about Excel University Volume 4. I’ve just about completed the initial draft, and am very pleased with how it is shaping up so far. Volume 1 is the foundations volume. Volume 2 is where we discuss formula-based reports. Volume 3 is where we cover PivotTable reports. Volume 4 is…

Read More

Two-Dimensional VLOOKUP

By Jeff Lenning | May 14, 2015 |

In this post, we’ll perform a two-dimensional lookup with Excel’s VLOOKUP function. Objective Let’s begin by clarifying our objective and what is meant by the term two-dimensional lookup. We have stored our price list in a table, and the price for each item varies based on the region. This is illustrated in the screenshot below. To…

Read More
PivotTable article by Jeff Lenning

PivotTable Month Groups Article

By Jeff Lenning | May 7, 2015 |

Did you know that PivotTables can automatically group date fields by month? And by quarter and year? This date group capability makes it easy to summarize data in monthly columns without writing a single formula. Check out my recent California CPA Magazine article for the details. Publication: California CPA Magazine Author: Jeff Lenning CPA Date: May 2015…

Read More
Formula override alert by Jeff Lenning

Formula Override Conditional Formatting Alert

By Jeff Lenning | April 23, 2015 |

Let me ask you a question. How do you know when a user has entered a value into a formula cell, essentially overriding your formula? Since this is Excel, there are several ways to address this issue, but starting with Excel 2013, we can use conditional formatting with the new ISFORMULA function. Objective Our worksheet…

Read More

Announcing Excel University Scholarships

By Jeff Lenning | April 9, 2015 |

I’m excited to announce the Excel University scholarship program! Excel University will recognize outstanding accounting students enrolled in an accredited college or university in the US, and will provide a $500 cash award as well as free enrollment into our online training program. These scholarships are awarded annually.  Please help me spread the word by forwarding…

Read More

Histogram with a PivotChart

By Jeff Lenning | March 26, 2015 |

A histogram graphically displays the number of items that fall within equal intervals, or, bins. For example, the number of days with a high temperature between 71-80 degrees, 81-90, and 91-100, the number of students with test scores between 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, or the number of invoices that are due in 31-60, 61-90, or 91-120…

Read More

Moving, Rolling, and Trailing Averages

By Jeff Lenning | March 19, 2015 |

The terms Moving, Rolling, and Trailing are commonly used to describe the same calculation idea…that we want to operate on the previous say 3, 6, or 12 data rows. In this post, we’ll allow the user to define the number of rows to include and use the OFFSET function to dynamically define the desired range. Objective…

Read More

Sum Last N Columns

By Jeff Lenning | March 12, 2015 |

If you have a data table that is updated frequently, for example, a new column is added each month, you may want to find the sum of the last three columns. But, you don’t want to rewrite your formula each time you add a new column. Fortunately, you can accomplish this task with two lookup functions,…

Read More

Custom Date Formats

By Jeff Lenning | February 26, 2015 |

In this post, we’ll examine custom format codes that allow you to get your date values formatted exactly as desired. This post is inspired by Sidney, who asked how to change date formats in Excel. Format Cells To change the format of a date value, select the cell and then open the Format Cells dialog…

Read More