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Posts Tagged ‘Office’

Excel Tip: Month Name Sorting in Excel July 14th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

In my previous article Excel Tip: Month Name Sorting with PowerPivot / PowerView, I wrote about sorting of month name inside PowerPivot. I got a number of ping about the same functionality inside standard Excel sheets. I thought this would be the easiest and known to many – but to my surprise, not all know about the capability of Excel. So in this post, let me take you through the same process for Excel tables.

So let me prep you with the data first. I have two columns Month Name and Sales. When I try to sort by the Month Name, you can see how the sorting happens for A-Z and for Z-A. It is nowhere near to what one would expect to sort as month.

That bring us to an interesting option. It has been there all along, select the “Sort by Color” –> “Custom Sort…”.

This comes up with a small dialog which I am sure most of you would have used. There right at the order dropdown, is a hidden gem called as “Custom List…”. Select this to see the magic.

This bring a standard set of list or feel free to define your own New List for sorting and build the table.

Click on “OK” and see. This is awesome because now the list is sorted automatically back in your table. Now if we sort A-Z and Z-A to see the difference. So how easy and cool is it? Have you ever used this option before, let me know.

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Excel Tip: Month Name Sorting with PowerPivot / PowerView June 25th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I do a lot of presentation on Excel related topics to customers as part of my BI conversations at MTC, Bangalore. Recently one of the developer when looking at the PowerView demo said, he had an unique problem. He said that the PowerView was not ordering the month names in the correct order of Jan, Feb, Mar and so on but was sorting based on Alphabets. I repeatedly asked him if they had enabled the proper sort order. He was little clueless and wanted to see it in action. Here is the 30 seconds demo that I showed how this can be achieved.

In our PowerPivot dataset we have the following. It is a list of MonthNames and sales marked against them.

When I use this dataset and create a PowerView report, I select MonthName and Sales. This comes up with an report like this irrespective of the sort I do. This is the problem that the customer was mentioning.

The solution is simple. Get back to PowerPivot Tab, under Home –> Sort by Column –> Select “Sort by Column”.

We will be presented by the following dialog. Here I am mentioning, whenever the “Month Name” column is selected, use the “Month” integer column to sort behind the scenes. That is it !!

One the above step is complete, our PowerView will show a dialog of change in Data Model, select OK.

And the change can be seen now. The months seems to be in correct order.

Have you encountered this requirement in your report generation anytime? Do let me know.

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Use existing connections in PowerPivot and Visual Studio April 1st, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of data which involve using of PowerPivot or customers using Tabular model using BISM. Though there are striking similarities in building both the tasks, the mistakes made in both these models are almost the same. Let me talk you through this for a moment.

Whenever we work with PowerPivot or BISM model and we are importing data from a data source, the initial tendency is to use the “From Database” or “From Other Sources” tab and we start building the model. This is a fair step and in doing a data mashup, we bring data from multiple sources.

Many a times we might connect to the same data source using the above step. And to our irony we will encounter the following in our existing connections. In the example below, I have made 3 different query to the same data source and it is now pointing to the same source – 3 times. Isn’t it inefficient? I have seen customers having close to 20-25 connections to the same source but they are bringing some 20-25 different tables. I have observed the performance during “refresh” gets severely hampered by this approach.

So how to get around this? The steps are simple. Whenever you want to connect to the same source – click on the “Existing Connections” button.

Select the source that you want to reuse as a connection. And now select “Open”.

We will be presented with the same wizard as we normally do with “New Connection” Wizard.

The steps are similar when using the same in Visual Studio too when developing BISM models.

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Lync: Join Online meetings quickly March 4th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Joining a corporate culture has its own challenges and learnings. As we join a team which is geo-dispersed we are often faced with the challenge of collaborating with various at odd hours and getting into an online meeting setup via Lync can be frustrating and time consuming for many.

I have seen a lot of times folks join a Lync call using the button we have on Outlook reminder. No doubt it is the simplest and the easiest step to join a meeting. But for some strange reason we get dropped off that Lync call or close our window we are scouting to Open Outlook –> Click Calendar Tab –> Click the Meeting Invite –> Click on the Lync Call details. Though this works 100% of the time, it is far too many clicks before we landed into our meeting.

With Lync 2013, I found an interesting behavior. As shown below there is a Calendar tab that you can take a quick look at. This lists all the meetings scheduled for today in a snapshot. Cool ain’t it?

If that was not enough, the even cooler part comes next. All meetings which are normal time blocked for various activities will be marked in black. Interestingly, Lync call embedded meetings will be shown in Blue color. Cool right? Now just double click on the blue meeting invite and it will join you to Lync call immediately. No more scrambling around for invite inside Outlook etc.

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PowerPoint Tip: Crop by shapes March 3rd, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have been actually doing a lot of sessions around tips and tricks and some of them get shared here over blog like Excel – Tips and Tricks, SQL Server Management Studio Tips and tricks etc. I actually a big fan of using a number of office tools to bring the best of what we have from a personal productivity. Recently in one of the demo’s one of the user asked me an interesting question and it was interesting how we miss some of the simple arrows :) – you will understand once you read the article.

Question: I want to crop an image but I want to crop it in circle shape rather than rectangle.

This was an interesting question and most importantly a solution exist for ages. Even though I am showing you the solution using PowerPoint, it is quite possible to do the same in Word, Excel and all other office tools.

So let us start with the simple image inside a PPT as shown below.

The common click we do is with the FORMAT Tab –> Crop button. That has always been the easiest click and we hardly look beyond what is shown. If you watch carefully, there is an interesting dropdown under Crop button – have you ever tried it?

Expanding we will be presented with the number of shapes to choose from. Keep playing around and see the different effects you could do. This is a designers paradise – understand these are ways you can make your presentation interesting.

I have used the cloud bubble effect and now the same mundane rectangular image turns into an interesting image as below.

Tip of the day: Even though this blog was inspired by a simple question, let me tell you – if you see any dropdown inside *any* office product – just click and explore the options. You will be impressed with the options.

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