Tag Archives: Excel

Remove cell spill-over from Excel data

If a cell has no data in it, the data from the cell on the left side spills over it. This can lead to confusion while reading and understanding the data. How to remove this cell spill-over?  Very simple. Just three steps:

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  1. Select the data range.
  2. Press Ctrl G or F5 to open the Go To dialog.
  3. Click the Special button.
  4. Choose the Blanks option.
  5. Now, all the empty cells in the highlighted area will be selected.
  6. Just type a spacebar. This will go automatically into the active cell.
  7. DO NOT press ENTER. DO NOT disturb the selection.
  8. Press CTRL ENTER.
  9. That’s it. Now all the spill-over items will be truncated.

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Excel Data Model : Simplifying usage

Excel Data Model is a database that is built-in to Excel. It has been around since 2010. Using it increases the capacity of Excel to handle millions of rows, it reduces file size significantly and eliminates VLOOKUP for code to description mapping. These new options in Excel 2016 and above simplify the usage of Excel Data Model and improve performance for large data operations. Go to File – Options – Data tab.

Excel Data Model usage options

Options in section 1 and section 2 are already covered in my previous blog articles. Section 3 helps us incorporate Data Model more easily into day-to-day Excel data management activities.

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Pivot performance improvement options

If you use Office 365 Pro Plus and Excel 2016, you should see a new tab under File – Options. The Data tab. This has many useful features which help improve Pivot performance. In addition, it also helps you with incorporating Data Models more easily into your Excel data management process.

If you do not see the Data tab in File – Options, you are not using the the right version of Excel. Escalate to your IT team to set it right. 

Data tab for Pivot performance adjustment

Here is a set of Practical usage guidelines for some of these new options.

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IFS function: Goodbye nested IFs

With Excel 2016 and Office 365 Pro plus, a less confusing and powerful function was introduced – IFS function. It eliminates the confusion generated by multiple nested IFs for complex calculations. In any case, if you are using multiple nested IF statements, check whether VLOOKUP can solve the issue or use Pivot Table grouping.

Nested IFs look like this:

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The same formula using IFS function is much simpler to type and understand :

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IFS function has just ONE set of brackets, irrespective of the number of conditions used. It also offers the last argument for default return value – in case all other conditions did not produce any output.  Try using it.

The function will return an error if used in versions before Excel 2016. Be careful.

Excel Function Warning

When you type  something in a cell after an = sign in Excel, a list of functions is shown.  Functions have an icon next to them. For some functions, the icon shows a Yellow triangle with an exclamation mark. That is the Excel Function Warning I am talking about.

No warning No Excel Function Warning                         Warning Excel Function Warning for STDEV function

What exactly is the Excel Function Warning?

It basically means: “Do not use this function. We have a new and more accurate function available now”.  If you use only newer versions of Excel, you should use the newer functions.

Standard Deviation

Here is an example. The older STDEV function now has two separate functions STDEV.S and STDEV.P – S means sample and P means population. The mathematical formula used behind the scenes by these functions is different. As mathematics advances further, the logic used also undergoes improvement. The newer functions utilize the latest algorithms to increase accuracy of your results.

Best practice

  • Notice if any of the your formulas have one or more Excel Function Warning icon.
  • Go to the help file of that function.
  • The newer, better or more appropriate function will be listed there.
  • Learn the new function(s). Understand what has changed and why.
  • Change these across your files to ensure more accurate results.
  • Use the new function when you create new workbooks.

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