Excel Links

There is so much “stuff” out there, including the “stuff” you have come across on this site. So where to go for good information? Of course yes, a search engine is usually a good place to start (usually, not always). But if you like what I have written here, then you might want to know where I go for my information.

so here’s a short list of my own most useful Exce information sites.

Just remember that Excel is a bit of a beast. It covers so many applications, and is used in so many fields, that you would do well to look for information related, not just to Excel, but to the use of Excel in your field (e.g., in finance, in statistics, etc.).

Of course, when I am looking for help on a specific topic, Microsoft is where I normally start, since Excel is a Microsoft product.

http://www.office.microsoft.com

http://support.microsoft.com/find-solutions/office/

And if you have a problem, chances are someone else has already had it and has already asked for help on it (there truly is nothing new under the sun). So a good place to check where other people asked for help (apart from your friendly search engine of choice) is:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/excel?tab=Threads

Since I try to keep up to date with developments in the world of Excel, I also read the Microsoft Excel team’s blog: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-excel/

Then, there are a huge amount of Excel sites out there. If you read everything everyone wrote on Excel every day, you would never get any work done (unless, of course, that reading was your work)!

Here are some that I look at from time to time (in no particular order):

Probably the blog to read is Dick Kusleika’s Daily Dose of Excel, where most of the who’s who in the world of Excel contribute. The content is advanced (heavy going for novices) but unparalleled.

Chip Pearson’s site is perhaps difficult to navigate, but that’s because it contains so much information on so many important Excel topics. He has some of the definitive Excel articles on the web.

Debra Dalgleish’s Contextures site contains information on Access, Excel and a good blog. Also, her sites contains the definitive repository of information on using data validation in Excel.

Charles Williams is the author of the FastExcel program, and his site Excel and UDF Performance Stuff is peerless if you want information on pushing your Excel VBA programming to the limit.

Jan-Karel Pieterse’s Microsoft Office Application Development page is a trove of great information and some excellent tools. He collaborated with Charles Williams to develop the Name Manager, which can still do things the Excel Name Manager cannot, even through Excel 2013.

Daniel Ferry’s Excel Hero blog is just amazing in opening your eyes to what can be done with Excel. He is not just an Excel expert, he’s an artist.

Excel Do, Dynamic Does is a blog where Bob Phillips posts a lot of stuff.

Dick Moffat’s Excel and Access Blog is, of course, just that–a blog that mixes up Excel and Access, but if you have the time to read his long posts (I often don’t, I confess), you will gain a lot of insight.

Andrew’s Excel Tips contains the right kind of nuts-and-bolts information on working with Excel.

AJP Excel Information: Andy Pope’s site is a treat, and of course he has great information and tools on manipulating the ribbon.

Bill Jelen’s boisterous online personality is not to everyone’s liking, and I read one of his Excel books that was so full of errors that it put me off a bit, but it cannot be disputed that his MrExcel site is simply one of the most important Excel sites around.
(I need to add that I do understand that errors will slip in–you will find errors in my book too–but so many errors reveals shoddy quality control, for which the publisher in question should probably bear the lion’s share of the blame). 

Ron de Bruin’s Excel Tips page contains great information on manipulating Excel with VBA.

Chandoo’s Excel site is the place to go to if you want information on dashboard reporting or project management with Excel, and also contains definitive information on charting, and a host of other Excel tricks.

David McRitche’s My Excel Pages is similar to Chip Pearson’s–don’t let the uninspiring layout let you think that this is not an important Excel site. It contains much must-read information on Excel.

The Spreadsheet Page by John Walkenbach is where I cut my Excel teeth, and he has many great books on Excel to his credit. I really recommend his Excel 2010 Power Programming With VBA. His Power Utility Pak is also a very popular set of tools to extend Excel’s capabilities.

Smurf on Spreadsheets is Simon Murphy’s blog on Excel and life in general.

The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group is an academic discussion on the (proper) use (and abuse) of Excel. If you want to learn how you should set up a spreadsheet, and what not to do, you must work through the information on this site.

I would also not have known about EuSpRIG if it had not been for Patrick O’Beirne’s inputs on the Excel-L list (see below). He also maintains a good blog, and has some good quality spreadsheet auditing tools on his website.

OzGrid’s Excel page also contains a lot of solid information that has helped me through the years.

Tushar Mehta’s site contains useful articles on Excel, and also some Excel and PowerPoint AddIns–especially useful are his charting tools.

Then I have, for years, been an Excel Tips subscriber (http://excelribbon.tips.net). This is a great resource–Allen Wyatt sends out e-mails (daily or weekly, depending on your preferences) with great tips on Excel.

 And last, but certainly not least, I highly recommend joining either of these two e-mail lists, where you can post questions to, receive help from, and learn from, some of the best Excel minds in the world (including a significant number of Excel MVPs):
Excel-G is for general Excel issues
Excel-L is for more advanced programming-related issues (i.e., Excel VBA)

Statistics and charts

I am, amongst others, a statistician, so I naturally use Excel for handling data, although for my current job, I tend to do the heavier lifting in terms of analyses in SAS (and before that, it was SPSS).

But don’t be fooled. Excel can do quite well on the basic and even the slightly-more-advanced statistics side. It has some inherent limitations, so it will never replace a good statistics package for a serious statistician, but for the student out there who needs some analyses done, and who already knows Excel, doing the analysis in Excel might just be the most logical choice. There are a number of decent paid statistical packages out there that work as Excel AddIns, so I won’t mention them all, and I should point out that I really haven’t worked in them. However, I recently came across Charles Zaiontz’s Real Statistics Resource Pack, which looks, at first glace, really good, and is free. I tried some basic stuff with it, and it seems to be working fine, although it bombed out on the first two factor analyses I threw at it, although, to be fair, those kinds of analyses and the data I was using belong in a proper statistics package. You should also not interpret this as a blanket approval of all the advice he has on his site, as, reading through some of it, I find that I do disagree with some things. But again, for a simple, once-off analysis, I would think this is the way to go. For a tool to build a career with, look for, and even pay for, something better (i.e., even a standalone statistics package).

I also tend to do a lot of charting in Excel. Jon Peltier’s Charting in Microsoft Excel is the site for charting in Excel. He is generally considered the world authority on charting in Excel.

 

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