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Archive of posts filed under the Excel Basic category.

Generate random numbers in MS Excel

A common requirement is to generate a set of random numbers that meet some underlying criterion. For example, a set of numbers that are uniformly distributed from 1 to 100. Alternatively, one might want random numbers from some other distribution such as a standard normal distribution. While there are specialized algorithms to generate random numbers […]

Analyze ‘free’ money

Recently, I received yet another promotion from yet another company offering me money at zero percent interest with the predictable asterisk next to the zero percent. Instead of just shredding the offer I decided to create a downloadable Excel template to analyze the offer, which was an interest-free 18 month loan for a 4% transaction […]

The Excel FORMULATEXT function

With Excel 2013, Microsoft introduced several new functions, one of which is worth a separate mention. FORMULATEXT displays as text the formula in a cell. For a version in a page by itself (i.e., not in a scrollable iframe as below) visit Tushar Mehta

Model business dependencies in an Excel worksheet

The Civilization game dependency tree How to build a dependency tree when there is no obvious connection between the business model and an Excel model. A long time ago I spend a lot of time playing the strategy game Civilization. For those not familiar with the game, one of its features was “advances.” Each advance […]

Excel Advanced Filter

Excel supports two different ways to filter data that are in tabular format. Autofilter is a built-in capability driven via the user interface. As sophisticated as Autofilter has become in recent versions of Excel, no pre-defined setup can possibly cater to all the different questions that the consumer may want answered. These require a custom […]

Unicode and diacritic characters

The primary role of Excel is analysis and visualization of data, which put less emphasis on the use of special text characters. Nonetheless, there will always be some need for special characters, both Unicode characters and diacritics in Excel. A diacritic in English is a glyph that modifies the sound of the character to which […]

Freeze Panes and Split Panes

When working with a worksheet that contains a large number of rows and/or a large number of columns with row and column headers, it is very helpful to always view the headers no matter where one scrolls through the document. An example is shown below. The table lists the year-by-year carbon dioxide emissions by country […]

Installation Instructions for Office add-ins

I updated the installation instructions for Office VBA add-ins to include Office 2010, Office 2007, and Office 2003. The updated material is at Tushar Mehta

Create a dynamic range reference

One of the most common issues that arise in Excel is that a range that contains data will eventually expand as more data are added or even contract as data are removed. If we have a formula, or an Excel functionality (such as Data Validation or a PivotTable), or a chart, that refers to such […]

Create a header cell with text separated by a diagonal line

In creating a table header that explains what the row and column values represent, a common approach is to use a cell with text separated by a diagonal line. This, first for me, video tutorial explains how. For those who prefer a text explanation: Format the cell “border” to add a diagonal from the left-top […]