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Access vs. Excel

Title image that says "Excel vs. Access" and shows the excel and access logos

Excel and Access are both very powerful applications. They are each special in their own way, however; there comes a time when the things you are trying to do can be completed in either work space. So, what do you choose? Neither of these applications are necessarily better than one another, but their features might be better suited for one action versus another action.

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Going Paperless at IU: an Overview

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Reducing paper consumption

Everyone at IU needs to know about how to reduce paper consumption.Paperless systems take up minimal space, they save energy and landfill space. Using digital documents allows easy collaboration with others and on-the-go access wherever you have Internet. In comparison to file cabinet systems, good paperless document organization can help you find the information you need at lighting speed. And there’s no need to worry about fires or floods; using digital documents, it is very easy to create back-ups of all your important data. Moreover, with the security available in backup and storage programs, your digitally stored information has stronger protection from theft. Finally, no need to shred when you are done; virtual documents can be easily  purged.

In keeping with that spirit, IT Training has developed a series of articles under the heading, “Go Paperless.” Read on for the  many reasons to leap into the modern method of document storage. Here are the articles in our “Go Paperless” Series:

About paperless, digital storage:

Using Box at IU for Storage and Sharing:

Collaborating with Others:

Going Paperless in the Classroom:

Easily Collaborate on Any File Type Using Box Apps

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Two Box apps that can make your life easier

Using Box at IU along with two Box add-ins, you and your project group can work on a single file — without having to keep a local copy on your device and then sending your document around via hard copy or email.

In his article about Box, Tom Mason has extolled the merits of using Box Edit. Let’s talk about this Box App a little more. With Box Edit, you can simply open a file directly from the preview page on Box, make edits instantly, and save the new version back to Box automatically. Then, when you share your document with others, your collaborators can use Box Edit to work on the same document in the same way—without ever having to download and re-upload it! As long as you have the application on your computer, you don’t have to worry about the file type.  PSD files, presentations, images, CAD drawings, Illustrator files – any file you can edit on your computer’s desktop you can now edit without leaving Box. Install Box Edit once and it will work on all your browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (Windows) and Safari (Mac).

Another app,  Box for Office, allows you to start up an Office Document such as Word, PowerPoint, or Excel on your own computer–and when you choose Save As, you can save directly to your Box account without having to upload it. Once there, share it with others and they can use Box Edit to edit it.

Read the rest of “Easily Collaborate on Any File Type Using Box Apps” »

Real-time Collaborative Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

 

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

When multiple individuals provide their separate contributions to a single document, this is termed as collaborative editing. Having the ability to allow more than one person to update the same document is often as essential as it is advantageous. Until recently, collaborative editing of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files had a major restriction in that only one person could work on a single file at a time; otherwise, it was necessary to keep multiple versions of the file and reconcile them all into a single file. This restriction can be a bottleneck since only one person may edit the file at a time, additional effort is needed for version control and coordination between contributors, and reconciling between multiple files requires additional effort and increases the risk for missed updates.

Collaborative editing technology, however, has matured significantly over the past few years through the use of cloud storage services. By leveraging cloud technologies, collaborators now have access to a number of tools that help streamline collaborative editing. Of specific interest to Office users, synchronous or real-time collaborative editing is now possible, which allows several people to work on a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file at the same time. Let’s take a brief look at this real-time collaborative editing provided by Google and Microsoft. Before we start, please note that Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage services are not supported by IU and are not suitable for storing or sharing institutional data. However, this information may be of use for personal projects.

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Creating a Research Poster: A Learning Path

Learning paths road sign.I need to assemble a research poster – how do I get started, and what programs can I use to make a poster?  And how do I make graphs to display my data?

With programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Microsoft Publisher, with a little help from Microsoft Excel, you can create an eye-catching poster to showcase your research project.  Illustrator and Excel can be used to create attractive graphs to display any data you wish to share, and you can pull everything together in InDesign or Publisher and lay out the contents of your poster.  Before you start building your poster, there are a few steps you can take to help get things rolling.

Photograph of a pad of paper, with a rough design for a poster sketched out on it.Having a general idea of how your poster will look will help you get started – think about how things will be laid out on the page, what colors you’ll be using, and what fonts you’ll be using for your poster.  A rough sketch of what you want your poster to look like when it’s finished may be helpful, and you can use that as a road map of where things should end up on your poster.  Make notes about the colors you might want to use, and fonts you might want to use for headings and body text – when you start building your poster, you’ll have everything you need planned out already and can focus on laying things out.  You’ll also want to make sure to collect any images you want to include, the data you want to present, and the text of your poster in one location before you start working.  Once you have those items together, the following learning paths will help you create your poster.

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The End of an Era

It is a sad month for Microsoft Office users. Click here to find out why.

Allowing Multiple Filters in Pivot Tables

While working on metrics for our web site, I discovered that by default you are only allowed to apply one filter per field when using a Pivot Table. So if you try to apply a second filter, the first filter will be removed. In good news, you can change the PivotTable Options and allow more than one filter to be applied to the same field.

Here is a video I found that shows specifically how to do this:

Jen

Can’t Uninstall Office 2013

IT Training will be teaching Microsoft Office 2013 workshops this fall, and we are anxious to begin telling the IU community about the new features that are available in this version of the popular suite. If you are planning on taking some of our free workshops or webinars, you might want to download and install the software from IUware. Remember, Indiana University faculty, staff, and students may download most of the software available from IUware for free.

If you decide to download and install Office 2013, I would encourage you to download the 32-bit package, even if you are planning on running it on a 64-bit system. Earlier in the summer I installed the 64-bit suite on a laptop running Windows 7, and I was very unhappy with the results. Every time I tried to use Outlook, Word, or PowerPoint, the application would freeze and/or crash. After discussing this issue with the Support team here at IU, and reading multiple forums and Microsoft Help articles, I uninstalled the 64-bit version and installed the 32-bit version instead. After that, I didn’t have any problems.

I have left out an important part of the story. When I first tried to uninstall Office 2013, I was unable to do so. While in the Control Panel, I selected Microsoft Office 2013, clicked on the Uninstall link at the top of the window, and waited. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing happened. I probably even tried a third and fourth time before I realized that this was simply not going to work.

After a little digging, I found the solution on this Microsoft Support page:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2739501. I downloaded the Fix it tool that they provided, and then I was able to uninstall Office 2013 from the Control Panel just as I normally would.

Hopefully this article will save you some time if you decide that you want to uninstall the package.

Cloud spreadsheets — not ready for statistics?

More of our computing lives are shifting to “the cloud” — organizations are seeing some costs savings, users are seeing more convenience, collaboration, and mobility advantages. But the shift may not be for everyone, yet. For instance, folks who are trying to do statistics using cloud-based spreadsheets — Google Docs, Excel Web App, Zoho Sheet were examined and all were found somewhat lacking, at least according to one study.

via John Walkenbach’s Spreadsheet Page
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Microsoft Excel 2013: Using Flash Fill

A new feature in Excel 2013 called Flash Fill allows the user to separate or combine data within entire columns based on the pattern that Excel picks up from the other columns. You can also use Flash Fill to change the case of text. As long as Excel can pick up a pattern, it will work to complete the column for you. Read the rest of “Microsoft Excel 2013: Using Flash Fill” »

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