Excel University Sparkline

A newsletter designed to help you learn Excel and work faster

Excel University Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 1 © excel-university.com - all rights reserved


Message from Jeff

Jeff Lenning

I'd like to chat with you about the fact that it is never too late to learn Excel and improve your skills. Maybe you feel like Chris Pratt in the image above. Or maybe you feel like you already know the basics and want to take your skills to the next level. Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to continue moving forward in your Excel journey. Excel is a big place, and learning more will help you get your work done more efficiently.

Excel Topic of the Week

Speaking of learning Excel, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite Excel functions. In fact, I love it so much that I actually wrote an article about it for the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs.

Before I tell you the function, let me ask you a question:

What is your most-used Excel function? Is it SUM?

If so, it probably shouldn't be ... well, at least not for reports that have subtotals such as financial statements.

Microsoft developed a function specifically for subtotals. It is called, appropriately enough, SUBTOTAL.

It has many benefits, including the fact that it excludes other SUBTOTAL functions in its range. This helps us reduce errors (eliminate double-counting) and improve efficiency (automatically include new report items in the future).

If you often create formula-based reports that include subtotals, I'd recommend checking out the SUBTOTAL function.

  • You can learn more about SUBTOTAL by reading my SUM No More article.

Student Success

I'd like to take a quick moment to highlight one of our students. Tina is a cost accountant in North Carolina, and she uses Excel constantly.

One of the functions she learned was SUMIFS, and she says "SUMIFS has become my new best friend!"

Using SUMIFS and other topics she learned at Excel University has helped her save 2-3 hours on a project ... way to go Tina!!

If you haven't explored SUMIFS (or COUNTIFS) this post will get you started.

Weekly Challenge

I'm not sure if you've ever been to an Escape Room, but if not, I'd highly recommend it. Our family loves going to them. You solve logic puzzles to obtain codes that unlock other puzzles. Ultimately, your goal is to find the keycode to the door to escape.

Well, these escape rooms inspired me to create numerous Excel Breakout Puzzles. You need to use your skills to obtain the correct code.

This week's challenge is a Sudoku-themed breakout puzzle. The objective is to find the 4 letter code I’ve hidden. You’ll first need to complete the Sudoku puzzle to get the key. Then, use the key in step 2 to reveal the code. If you aren’t sure how to play Sudoku, the rules are fairly easy. You basically want to use each number 1-9 once in each row, column, and block without overlapping. Do a quick web search for Sudoku rules if needed.

If you decide to play, and would like to confirm your solution, just check out the walkthrough video below. Spoiler alert: the video contains the complete solution.

Excel Shortcut

Insert the current date into the active cell:

  • Windows: Ctrl ;
  • Mac: ^ ;

Closing Thought

I'd like to close this newsletter by sharing the following quote:


"Anyone who keeps learning stays young. 

The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." 

-Henry Ford


So, keep learning Excel! Not only will it help you get your work done faster, it will also keep you young 🙂

Excel University Info

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