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January 2009 - The Excel Team Blog

The Excel Team Blog
  • Hidden and Invisible Objects

    Today’s author, Ben Rampson, a Program Manager on the Excel team, talks about cleaning up spreadsheets. I often receive files demonstrating issues customers are experiencing with Excel. Recently I have noticed a common problem in some of these files that impacts the file’s performance and size: hidden and invisible objects. When gathering data in Excel it is common to start with information found in a variety of sources, frequently lists or tables located on the Internet. Customers often copy and...
  • Update to Microsoft's BI Strategy and Vision

    Many of you might have heard or seen posts about a recent change to the Microsoft BI Vision & Strategy, namely, PerformancePoint will no longer be sold as a separate SKU but rather be part of the SharePoint Server enterprise offering, and the specific planning components will receive one more update this summer. More information on this change can be found on Microsoft’s Business Intelligence site and the The BI Blog . Just what does this change mean? For the most part, it means that more customers...
  • Repeating a Set of Data

    I thought this would be interesting to share to see how other Excel folks might have solved this problem. I got a question recently from a customer asking how to automatically take a set of values in one column, say: 1000 5000 600 and repeat each value, say, 4 times in the next column, so that it looks something like this: 1000 1000 1000 1000 5000 5000 5000 5000 ... and so on. My response: the only way to truly do this automatically is to write a custom macro. However, if you can suffer through a...
  • When a Number is Not a Number

    If you use Excel to track identification numbers (serial numbers, tracking numbers, etc.) you may find that if the IDs have more than 15 digits, Excel loses the digits after the 15th and makes them all zero. In other words, type "123456789123456789" into a cell and Excel will show you "123456789123456 000 ". What's going on? Is this a bug?! Nope. You've hit an Excel limit with how large of a number Excel can handle when performing math operations on a number. But in this...
  • Custom Number Formats

    I've decided to start posting some of the replies I send to customers who write me asking for help on how to do something in Excel or Excel Services, especially those which I think might be solutions to problems others are likely to have. For my first go I've picked - for no particular reason other than it was one of the more recent mails I've gotten - a question that has to do with custom number formats. This customer writes: What formula could I use to input a number like this 26-859...
  • Printing Envelopes Using Excel and Word

    Today's author, Eric Patterson, a Program Manager on the Excel team, describes how to use Excel Tables as a source for a mail merge – a great productivity tool for sending out holiday greeting cards! :) Eric wrote this before the holidays but unfortunately I was out of the office and didn’t get to post this until now. Very useful nonetheless. At this time of the year I find myself preparing to send out a large number of greeting cards to friends and family. I have most of my addresses in Excel...
  • Why Can't I Open Two Files With the Same Name?

    This is a common question we hear from customers. The answer: calculation ambiguity with linked cells. If you had a cell ='[Book1.xlsx]Sheet1'!$G$33 and you had two books named “Book1” open, there’s no way to tell which one you mean. Read More...
  • VBA + Excel Performance: Your Feedback Requested...

    The Excel blog is back after a short break for the holidays. Happy New Year! Today's post comes from Chad Rothschiller, a Program Manager on the Excel team, who is looking at ways to improve performance in the next version of Excel. The Excel development team is currently investigating a number of scenarios where VBA macros take longer to run in Excel 2007 than in earlier versions (i.e. Excel 2003). We are looking for folks who believe they have run into a VBA performance slowdown and who would...
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