Recent Posts


Using crosstab queries in reports

A well designed database stores data in a normalized format with dates defined in a field so that new data is simply added as additional records. However, people want to see data with dates grouped by columns. This can be done by using a crosstab query. However, when creating reports based on crosstab queries, we need to control the specific column names that are returned by the query. Otherwise, the report…


Using a Combo Box to search as you type

Here’s a neat trick that you can use to filter a Continuous or Split form while your users are typing in a Combo Box. As the user types, the form filter updates to display full or partial matches for the value entered. This example uses a slightly modified version of the Northwind 2007 Template, available for download from Microsoft. The “Customer List” form is a Split form that displays a…


Excel: Not just for geeks

Ugh. Excel. It’s not as intuitive as a Word doc, and not as aesthetically pleasing as a PowerPoint presentation. If you’re more creative than analytical, you might feel as though it’s dry and boring and filled with numbers you’d rather not look at. However, I can tell you that after you familiarize yourself with it, it is the best tool Microsoft Office has – and extremely easy to use!  This guest…


VLOOKUP Week wraps up: Vote for your favorite post

VLOOKUP Week has ended. The brainchild of Excel MVP Bill Jelen, the idea inspired all things VLOOKUP, including VLOOKUP odes, haikus, vampires, and a way to track shark attacks. Setting all fun aside–Excel experts created a crazy number of useful and innovative applications of VLOOKUP in seven days.  Now Bill wants you to vote for your favorite. Top vote-getter will be named the “Great White Shark” of VLOOKUP week!


VLOOKUP Tutorial: Updating prices in a master price list

In honor of VLOOKUP Week, MVP Bill Jelen has created a VLOOKUP tutorial for those of you who have a basic working knowledge of Excel but want to improve your skills. This tutorial assumes you’ve heard about VLOOKUP and its benefits, but that you don’t really know how to use it. Bill uses the example of updating prices in a product list to introduce the value of this time-saving function.


Today’s giveaway: Odes to VLOOKUP (It ain’t over until the formulas stop singing)

Bill Jelen found it. Erica Rhein started it.  She posted a comment on Facebook declaring her complete dependence on VLOOKUP.  “I use Pivot Tables and VLOOKUP every day. I would be screwed at my job without it.”  To Bill’s formula-possessed mind this statement equals a love poem. So he decided today’s VLOOKUP Week door prize would go to the best Ode to VLOOKUP. Check out the haikus and poems about undying…


Ride the Shark! It’s VLOOKUP Week March 25-31, 2012

What strikes terror into the hearts of Excel beginners? VLOOKUP! Excel power users, though, can’t live without it.  Excel MVP Bill Jelen has declared March 25 – 31, 2012 to be VLOOKUP week. He’s invited his fellow Excel experts to publish VLOOKUP posts on their sites during the week. Already it’s taken on a life of its own with VLOOKUP t-shirts and coffee mugs, and a theme song and logo.


Use PowerPoint slide layouts to make presentations memorable

When all your slides look alike, your entire message can be blurred. At the end of your presentation, you want your audience to remember your main points most, and if they remember some of the details, that’s a plus. By making key slides distinctive, you can help people follow and retain the content in your presentation.  PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein shares her PowerPoint layout tips.


Samples for learning conditional formatting: icons, formulas, cell values, and more

When we released Excel 2010, we published a workbook for you to download, which contains samples of conditional formatting rules. The samples are really helpful for learning how to track trends, check status, spot data, and find top values. Some samples are for busineses and some just for fun. You can find out how to compare bicycles by using a rating scale; calculate sales for a specific region and target;…