Published Now and Again for Business Users of Microsoft Excel.
Spreadsheet Hell + Blog Posts +
Friday, Oct 28, 2010
If you like this newsletter, please forward it to
other Excel users.
Here's a good description of Spreadsheet Hell that a reader sent me
Excel users research and answer a question, then are condemned to
repeat their manual analyses every month for years to come.
It's usually easy to escape this particular Hell:
Set up your data in a source that Excel formulas can reference, then
use the formulas to return data to your reports. To update a report, just change
the report date in a cell and recalculate your workbook.
With this approach, you can use the same report workbook month after month
For Excel users with no budgets, and with data that can fit in a
spreadsheet, the data source could be an Excel database. If you have more
data and a moderate budget, you also could use an Excel-friendly OLAP
product like PowerOLAP or TM1.
Although I've included Excel databases with most of my dashboard
products, I've not said much about them. But I'm finally getting the
chance to do so. In late November I'm conducting a seminar about Excel
databases for the Seattle-area Institute of Management Accountants.
After that presentation, I'll offer an expanded version of the seminar online.
Only Three Days Left
There are only three days left for my introductory offer for the two Kyd
add-ins. Because these are the only Excel add-ins available that allow
worksheet formulas to control chart settings, they bring uniquely powerful
features to Excel.
(As you might know, it's impossible for formulas to control chart settings.
Everyone says so. But that's okay; my add-in does it anyway.)
New Blog Entries
The special offer ends on Sunday night, October 31, 2010. To save at least 20%
on any product listed at
http://exceluser.com/catalog2/index.htm, just enter the secret coupon code:
I've posted two blog entries this week at http://exceluser.com/blog/:
1. Declaring Variables in VBA: Three Keys for Success
This is another article for people who are somewhat new to VBA. If you
want to write understandable VBA code while reducing your coding
errors, you might want to read it.
2. Dashboard gauges are still a terrible idea
Since gauges first became popular, I've strongly recommended against
using them. I'm not the only one to offer this advice, of course. The best-known
expert to write extensively about this topic is Stephen Few at
Even so, I've received several messages recently from people who use
gauges to evaluate dashboards. If a dashboard doesn't do gauges, they've said,
it's not a REAL dashboard.
Using gauges is a horrible way to display business data. The post
links to two Excel charts that offer much better results.
Useful Traffic Light Charts
I just searched Google for: Excel "traffic light charts"
Although I found more than 1000 results, I found only one listing that would
interest me as a manager. As a manager, I'd like my charts to alert me when my
new results are either good, bad, or REALLY bad. This lets me scan the results
quickly and concentrate on the problem areas first.
To see several examples of USEFUL traffic light charts, take a look here:
If you decide to get the add-in that supports these useful charts, enter the
coupon code PUMPKIN to save an additional 20%. But do so now, because the coupon
expires on October 31.