Turbocharge Your Spreadsheets with Excel Macros

In this post our VBA for Excel trainer Mark explains how using macros is like turbocharging your car. It also helps eliminate human error!

If Rolls Royce says it’s “Ok to turbo”, then it’s “Ok to turbo”…

…if the Boss says it’s “Ok to Macro”, then it’s “Ok to macro”!


There was a time (for those of us old enough to remember) when a new word hit the motorcar market: “Turbo”. Some of us know it’s slang for “turbine” referring to the part that forces air into the engine rather than merely allowing air to be sucked into the engine resulting in a serious increase in engine speed and power.

For the boy (and girl) racers, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven, for manufacturers pushing an engine to the limits of it’s endurance sometimes resulted in lots of smoke pouring from under the bonnet, combined with the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree.

So the upside, more power, MUCH more power, the downside, more to go wrong, and when it did, VERY wrong!

Now, where IS he going with this I hear you ask? Macros. Read the rest of “Turbocharge Your Spreadsheets with Excel Macros”

Using IF Statements in Excel

excel-if-statementThe IF statement is a useful function of Microsoft Excel that can save a great deal of time spent on analysing and annotating data manually.

It’s a versatile, advanced, formula that can be combined with other formulae where needed. This is exactly the sort of thing we’ll teach you in our Advanced Excel course.

If this is the kind of advanced Excel tip you find useful, you might also want to have a look at our tutorials on the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions of Excel and Conditional Formatting in Excel.

How to Use the IF Formula in Excel

The IF formula is built on a premise of auto-populating a field with the result of a true/false test.

For example, an employer may have a bonus structure where employees get a staggered bonus payment based on how much they sell in a month. If they make more than 60 sales, they get 5 times their sales in pounds in their pay packet! If they make less than 60 sales, they get 2 times their sales.

The formula looks like this: IF (logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false]).

So, using the example above, we’d say =IF(b3<60, 5, 2)


Read the rest of “Using IF Statements in Excel”

How to Create a Sparkline in Excel

Adding a sparkline graph to your Excel spreadsheet is an effective way of summarising your data in a visual aid, without having to take up space with a detailed graph.

Microsoft Excel 2010 has a built-in sparklines feature, but you can easily create them in Excel 2007 – tutorial below. Our public Microsoft Excel for Beginners course teaches you how to use Excel 2010, but we’ll be happy to train you on  Excel 2007 if you choose a private course. (With regards to future updates to Microsoft Office, we’ll always check which version you’re using before we book you onto the course). This is the same for our Advanced Excel training and VBA for Excel course.

The main thing to remember about sparklines is that they are intended to be a simple visual of your data. If you find you want or need more labelling and legends, it’s worth going back to your usual graphs.

Inserting a Sparkline in Excel

Select the data labels for the X-axis, hold down Ctrl, and select the data for the Y axis.

Go to the Insert tab, choose Line and 2D-line

Sparklines in Excel 1With your basic graph now on the page, you could remove all the labels and legends manually. A much quicker way is to click on ‘Chart Layouts’ in the Design tab and choose Layout 11 (no need to hover over them, it’s easily recognisable as the one that makes a sparkline as it has the least detail). Read the rest of “How to Create a Sparkline in Excel”

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