Looking for quick tips and “how to” advice?

Get help from our popular blog pages

Excel – How do I change my Pivot Table back to the classic (version 2003 and earlier) display?

If you were familiar with Pivot tables in Excel versions prior to Excel 2007 you will be very used to working with the blue lines of the Pivot Table and the ability to drag and drop data right on to the Pivot Table.

In Excel 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 Pivot Tables are now quite different. The blue lines are gone, along with the wonderful drag-and-drop feature. Read more

How to calculate GST at 15% using Excel formulas

I have been asked twice in one week how to write Excel formulas to calculate GST at the rate of 15%.

You can find information on how to calculate the rate on the NZ Inland Revenue website. I’ve taken this a step further and put together a tutorial on how to put these calculations into Excel formulas. Read more

5 tips for searching for and finding emails in Outlook

Searching in Outlook has improved greatly over the years as newer versions of the ubiquitous email software have been released. But there’s more to searching than just typing something in the Search Box at the top of your messages list. Use these tips to dive deeper into your Inbox and… Read more

Excel – Using VLOOKUP to compare two lists

Years ago the Training and Development manager of a large organisation invited me to spend some time in their Accounts department in order to observe how the Accounts team dealt with their day-to-day tasks. My job was to report on any process that could be improved using Microsoft® Excel.

I’ll always remember asking one of the team (a “just-out-of-school” new recruit) what he was working on after I’d observed him sitting with a red biro and a ruler, diligently drawing red lines on 2 separate sheets of paper. It turned out he was trying to reconcile a customer’s account. Read more

PowerPoint – add additional text, formatting and your logo to audience handouts

Audience hand-outs can easily be printed directly from PowerPoint simply by navigating to the File tab and then to Print. From the Settings options you can change from printing “Full Page Slides” to Handouts. From the Handouts gallery you can choose the layout required.

To add the date, page numbering and additional text click the Edit Header & Footer link at the very bottom of the ‘Print Settings’ panel. This option is great if you want to include small bits of text on all hand-out pages and don’t need to include a cover page, additional paragraphs of info or even your company logo. Read more

Upgrading to Windows 10 – Review

My family shared their mixed opinions about Windows 10 over the break – oh yes, we really know how to let loose and relax on holiday!  My sister-in-law plans to avoid upgrading for as long as possible, she more than once stated she’d go back to the good ole days of Win XP, given half a chance.  My mother lamented the fact her laptop had automatically updated to Win 10, whereas Dad said he was really enjoying the latest version, and that he found it more stable and user-friendly than previous Windows versions.  Yup, the actual words “user-friendly” and “version” came out of my 71 year old father’s mouth.  These are truly digital times.
Read more

Prepare your business for Office 365

If you’re planning to move to Office 365, here are some things to consider that’ll help you prepare your business for life in the cloud. Read more

Should I upgrade to Windows 10? How different is it?

Upgrading to Windows 10 doesn’t have to be scary.  In fact I have definitely found a lot of positives and only one mild negative after making the leap. Read more

Excel – How can I do a VLOOKUP based on more than one value?

There are times when you want to return a match for a VLOOKUP based on two values, not one.  For example, we may have customers who have multiple branches.  Each branch is recorded under the same customer number.  So how do we look up info for a specific branch if all of the branches are using the same customer number?

Read more

Excel – Group dates by month in a Pivot Table

Displaying date values in a Pivot Table can produce unexpected results.

For example, in the Pivot Table below I have added a Date field to the Column area of my Pivot Table.  Unfortunately every date in the underlying data table is different, therefore resulting in a column for every day and a very large Pivot Table. Read more

Excel – How do I sum a range of cells that include #N/A or #DIV/0! errors?

I think most of us will agree that error values can be helpful, and sometimes extremely unhelpful.  For example, the #N/A error (Value Not Available error) is very helpful when cross-referencing two lists using the VLOOKUP function.  If Excel can’t find a lookup value the #N/A error makes it very obvious.

However if you are wanting to total a range that includes #N/A errors all of a sudden they aren’t so special any more.  Read more

Excel – Finding and removing duplicate data

One of the many things I absolutely love about my job is that I get to work with so many different people from all kinds of organisations.

However, it doesn’t matter what industry or region I’m working in the challenges of working with large lists of data are pretty much the same.

Something I see often is the need to be able to quickly locate and remove duplicate rows of data (excellent for VLookups).  Most people just sort the data and then manually skim through the excessive lines of information trying to weed out the annoying duplicates.  This works, but boy-oh-boy it can be a time waster. Wouldn’t it be easier to have Excel quickly display the duplicates for you?  Then all you need to do is deal with them. Read more

Excel – Pasting, excluding hidden columns or rows

Copying a data range that contains hidden data can be challenging. You may have tried this and found that the hidden data travels with the copied range.

In this tutorial I show you how to copy and paste only the visible data – hidden cells are excluded.

 

Read more

Excel – How do I merge cells within a range that is formatted as a Table?

PROBLEM: when I use “Format as Table” to format a range the “Merge and Center” button becomes inactive and I can no longer merge cells.  Why?
SOLUTION: the Table format will stop the merging of cells.  However there is a work-around.

The Format as Table command can be used to quickly apply a professional format to a selected range.  However, in applying the format you are also applying the functionality that Tables offer.  As a result you will no longer be able to merge cells. Read more

Excel – How can I create a list of Weekdays only?

Need a list of weekdays?  The Auto Fill button allows us to quickly create a lists of days of the week.  However, the list includes Saturday and Sunday.   Thankfully Excel offers a very simple solution to create a list that only includes Weekdays. Read more

Word – How do I remove a Footnote separator line in Word?

Here’s a common question about Footnotes in Word. “When I insert a Footnote into my Word document a separator line is automatically inserted above the footnote reference. How do I remove the line?”

It’ a bit of a process to get rid of it.  Let me show you how… Read more