Blog

Check in frequently where I might just surprise you—whether you work in a very large company or a very small one. Expect to find random ideas about Excel productivity, charts, functions & formulas, and so on.

Also expect Excel-centered blogs about economics, agile, collaboration, data plumbing, worksheet formulas, financial analysis, and other topics of interest to business users of Excel.

Articles with Free Downloads

The Monte Carlo method allows you to forecast performance using probability distributions for your assumptions. And Data Tables provide a quick and easy way to implement the Monte Carlo method. Here's how to do it.

How to Create Monte Carlo Models and Forecasts Using Excel Data Tables

(Download the workbook.) (This is the second of two articles about normal distributions. The first article is, How to Return Random Numbers from a Normal...
The LET function is the most powerful function that Microsoft has released for Excel in years. Here's an introduction to its features.

How to Use Excel’s LET Function

In the summer of 2020, Microsoft introduced the LET function for Excel 365—one of the most-significant new worksheet functions that Microsoft has introduced in...
To use Account Groups in Excel formulas, you first must define the groups. Here’s how to do it using either simple lists or Dynamic Arrays.

How to Define General Ledger Account Groups in Excel

In Part 1 of this series, How to Report GL Account Groups in Excel, we explored the strategy for creating financial reports that use...
Excel provides several worksheet functions for working with normal distributions or 'bell-shaped curves.' This introduction to Excel's Normal Distribution functions offers help for the statistically challenged.

An Introduction to Excel’s Normal Distribution Functions

(Download the workbook.) When a visitor asked me how to generate a random number from a Normal distribution she set me to thinking about doing statistics...
Excel's dynamic range names give your formulas the power to adapt automatically in response to changes in your data or settings. Here's how to set them up.

How to Create and Use Dynamic Range Names in Excel

(Download the example workbooks.) We Excel users often refer to ranges that need to move or expand in future versions of our reports. For example: ...
Using Excel's LET, SORTBY, and SEQUENCE functions, and dynamic arrays, you easily can list any number of top and bottom results from a Table.

How to Report Top and Bottom Results Using Dynamic Arrays in Excel

In How to Use Excel’s LET Function, I showed several examples of a powerful function that Microsoft added to Excel 365 in the summer...
How to Work with Dates Before 1900 in Excel

How to Work with Dates Before 1900 in Excel

(Download the workbook.) If you work with dates prior to the year 1900, Excel's standard date-handling system will be no help. However, there are several...
I used the FILTER function to give me IFS-like power for PERCENTILE.INC. But then I realized the same pattern brings IFS-like power to many functions—including MEDIAN, STDEV.S, GEOMEAN, and perhaps even the FORECAST functions!

Using the Hidden Power of Excel’s FILTER Function

When you take the time to explore a new worksheet function, it's amazing what you can discover! And I won't tell you about the really...
We compare Excel's five columnar lookup functions.

XLOOKUP vs VLOOKUP vs INDEX-MATCH vs SUMIFS

SUMIFS? Really? Why is SUMIFS included among those lookup methods? I'll explain in a few minutes. But first, let's look at the lookup methods shown in...
Term loans can have a variety of repayment periods, interest rates, amortizing methods, and so on. Here's how to calculate amortization schedules for the two most common types of amortizing loans.

How to Use Excel Formulas to Calculate a Term-Loan Amortization Schedule

"How do I calculate cumulative principal and interest for term loans? I have scoured the web for a function that will perform this task,...

Find Leading Indicators Using Automated Cross Correlations in Excel, Part 1

It all seems so simple... To improve your forecasts of sales or other measures, you simply need to find leading indicators...measures that are highly correlated...
You can ratchet down errors in your Excel reports by using an Error Summary Table that uses conditional formatting to alert you to errors.

How to Set Up an Automatic Error-Checking System in Excel Reports

Decades ago, I worked as a cost accountant for a large company. But because our department received terrible reports, I wrote my own reports...using...
When you want to look up data in Excel, you should never use a worksheet function with "lookup" in its name. Here's why...

Why INDEX-MATCH Is Far Better Than VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP in Excel

(Download the workbook.) Excel’s VLOOKUP function is more popular than the INDEX-MATCH function combination, probably because when Excel users need to look up data then a "lookup" function...
Excel ranges can work like relational tables. You can join them by common fields. Query them with SQL. And use queries in PivotTables. Here's how.

Use MS Query to Treat Excel as a Relational Data Source

Charley's Note: Because MS Query hasn't changed much since Marty Ryerson wrote this article years ago, his instructions are still quite accurate. I have,...
Here's how to create an Excel array from two others, with the arrays stacked either one on top of the other, or side-by-side, like books on a shelf.

How to Stack and Shelve Dynamic Arrays

While using Excel 365 recently, I needed to create one dynamic array that would consist of two arrays, with one stacked on top of...
Mortgage lenders give you many options for your interest rate and amortization period. This workbook helps you to choose from among them.

Compare Loan Payment Options in Excel

When you’re comparing your payment options for mortgage loans, your choices can be overwhelming... When in St. Ives, I found a home, Then looked at seven...
If you have seasonal sales, or other measures of performance, Cycle Plots can offer more insight into your performance than traditional charting techniques.

How to Create Cycle Plots in Excel to Chart Seasonal Sales Data

If your company's sales are seasonable, you've probably seen a chart that looks something like the first one below. This Excel chart shows the continuous...
Excel's XY (or "scatter") charts provide amazing power. This introduction to XY charts offers a fun way to learn more about this powerful chart type.

Fun with XY (Scatter) Charts in Excel

Because I’d been working hard on a project for many months, I once decided to take a break and play around with XY charts…which...
In Excel, you can report named groups of GL account numbers, product codes, and so on—just as you report one such number. Here’s how.

How to Use Array Formulas to Report Groups of Accounts

Often, in accounting, marketing, and other departments, we'd like to report and analyze groups of items rather than one item at a time. In Part...