How to create timelines in Excel

October 19, 2006

Create a Timeline in Microsoft ExcelI can’t think of any app more frequently used for something other than its intended purpose. Today I learned how to make timelines in Excel, from Microsoft’s own Education site, of all places. It’s a very short tutorial, but in case you’ve ever needed to create a timeline, and fast, don’t overlook the flexibility of Excel.

source [downloadsquad]


Advanced Gantt Charts in Spreadsheet

September 29, 2006

Gantt Chart is useful. It tracks tasks start and finish dates, dependencies and resources. Unfortunately drawing gantt chart usually requires a project management software. Alternative? Peltier Technical Services shows a way of doing it in Spreadsheet (i.e. Excel):

Gantt charts are useful tools in program management, which help to show graphically when tasks must start and finish, and which tasks are underway at any given time. Gantt charts help in scheduling of the many tasks in a program, and in identifying potential resource issues in the schedule. A simple Gantt chart is merely a floating bar chart, that is, a stacked bar chart in which the first series is formatted to be invisible. The second series of bars are stacked on the first, but these bars appear to float in the middle of the chart, because the first series is formatted to be invisible. My article Gantt Charts in Microsoft Excel in Tech Trax e-zine describes this simple approach.

This example is more detailed, and therefore more complicated. There are two visible bars, so the floating bar can show fraction complete and fraction incomplete. In addition, two line chart series are added to show milestones for completed and not-yet-completed tasks. Excel will not allow an XY series to be added to a Bar-Line combination chart, so an additional line series is used as an anchor for a vertical line and label. Using a line chart allows us to use the versatile time scale axis of the line chart as the horizontal axis of the Gantt chart.

I am not sure about you, but I feel this is a pretty cool way to generate gantt chart, without open up your wallet to purchase a project management application.

Advanced Gantt Charts in Microsoft Excel – [Peltier Technical Services]

source []

Excel Trick – Instant bar charts anywhere

August 14, 2006

Excel instant chartsMicrosoft Excel’s charts are powerful, but boy are they a pain to use, especially if you just want quick, simple bars alongside your data. Well, no more: The blog at Juice Analytics has some very cool tips for making instant bar charts from your data. All it takes is the REPT() function, which will repeat any bit of text as many times as you want, and the | symbol. It certainly doesn’t sound earth-shattering, but the results are impressive. The blog post goes on to show how you can use conditional formatting to color-code the bars according the value, and in a follow-up post there’s even more impressive trickery. If you find yourself using Excel a lot, don’t miss these tips.

source [Lifehacker]

Gliffy: Create diagrams and flowcharts on the web

June 8, 2006

GliffyWeb-based clones of Excel and Word are nothing-how about a diagramming tool a la Visio? Gliffy is a Flash-based diagramming and flowcharting tool for your web browser. Gliffy's interface, though an unpleasant shade of blue, is snappy and fairly easy to use, allowing you to create flowcharts, network diagrams, and even floor plans or UI mock-ups pretty quickly. Of course, it doesn't have the more advanced features that $200 diagramming tools come with, but it does have sharing and collaboration features, revision control (i.e. if someone screws it up, you can roll back to a previous version of your diagram), and the ability to export ot SVG or JPEG (what, no PNG?). Gliffy's examples page shows off some of the impressive stuff it's capable of. Gliffy is currently in public beta and free, but in the future they'll be splitting it into two products, an ad-supported feature-limited version and a premium subscription-based version "for the business user."

source post [download squad

Google Spreadsheets

June 8, 2006

Google Spreadsheets

Back in March Google turned some heads with its purchase of Writely, a collaborative web-based word processor. Yesterday it made waves again with Google Spreadsheets, a web-based app whose purpose isn't necessary to explain. Google Spreadsheets is no Excel-killer by any means, but from the ten minutes or so of poking around I've done, it seems a lot nicer than any of its web-based competition like ajaxXLS, Numbler, iRows, or WikiCalc. Like those others, it's naturally full to the brim with Ajax, but I think what sticks out most is how responsive it is and how easy it is to use coming from years of being trained by Excel. There is a bit of JavaScript lag, but not enough to bug me, and the most common Excel keyboard shortcuts are all present. It of course has the requisite import and export features for both .XLS and .CSV files, plus a nice Export HTML function, and you can invite people via e-mail to view or edit your spreadsheets. Google Spreadsheets will have little draw for people who just use Excel to keep track of, say, personal expenses, but if you need easy web-based collaboration in a tidy package and can forego some-well, almost all–of Excel's more advanced features, Google Spreadsheets is worth checking out.

It's been noted many places that Google now has almost an entire Office-alike (sans PowerPoint) in its collection: Gmail/Google Calendar vs. Outlook, Writely vs. Word, Google Spreadsheets vs. Excel, Google Base vs. Access. What they have is a long way from being an Office-killer–in fact, it seems more like a hodge-podge of unconnected tools rather than a suite, and I think integrating these disparate tools is high on Google's to-do list. Whether they're really looking to usurp Microsoft's Office throne is still pretty unknowable in my opinion, but I do hope they're going somewhere with all of this.

source post [download squad

Excel tip: Show formulas with a keystroke

May 12, 2006

Excel formula viewI've been using Excel for a long time and might even consider myself a power user, so I'm surprised I never came across this tip before: You can toggle a formula view to see all of a spreadsheet's formulas at once by pressing Ctrl+`. That little fleck, in case it's not entirely clear, is a backtick (or, as this site takes way too many paragraphs to explain, a gravé), i.e. the seldom-used character that shares a key with the tilde just to the left of the 1 key on most keyboards. Press Ctrl+` once to show all of your formulas, press it again to switch back to the regular data view.

source post [Digg]

Office 2.0 Database: Web-based office app directory

April 26, 2006

Office 2.0 DatabaseHaving trouble keeping track of all the companies that are building the current crop of web-based office apps? The Office 2.0 Database is a handy directory of all of 'em, broken down into categories. Need a web-based word processor? You've got eight to choose from. PowerPoint replacement? Five of 'em, and so on. There's even quite a few on the list that I hadn't heard of, like Calcoolate, a simple web-based calculator that stays out of your way but has some nice features like keeping track of all of your previous solutions and letting you give them names for easy access later on. The Office 2.0 Database has lots of columns of metadata and even links to TechCrunch's reviews of almost every single one.



source post [download squad]