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Posts Tagged ‘Office’

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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Excel Tip: Undo Shortcuts October 8th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

One of the most used productivity software is Excel. It has always been that way if you are a Data person. Whenever I talk with customers who use reporting or are part of finance operations, their first choice for data manipulation defaults to Excel. There is familiarity of use, predictable and known UI, ease of formula use and many more. So in this blog, let me try to see how much we know of our tool that we use day-in-day-out a.k.a Excel. I have been writing about various Excel tips over my blog and a lot of times people ask some interesting trivia’s that I get to learn from. This post here is inspired by one such question that did come my way and I am happy to share with you.

If I were to ask – “What is the most commonly used shortcut when you are working with Office?”. What is your answer to this question? There are a number of shortcuts, but the survival of all the computer professionals will go for a toss if today’s keyboards missed “CTRL+C” and “CTRL+V”. This is one such shortcut without which our kid’s homework will be complete, our college assignments would become incomplete, and the code that we write would be incomplete and so on. Hands-down this is one of the most commonly used shortcut we would have used in almost any Office product suite – let alone Excel. Lesser known are thousands more shortcuts like these that we can use. In exploration to one such shortcut is our quiz used in later part of this post.

Undo Functionality

So if that was not the quiz, what is the quiz or tip all about anyways? The question now to you is, what are the ways you Undo the operations that you have done inside Excel. There are multiple answers:

Option 1: CTRL+Z

The most widely used shortcut to undo the series of operations is the CTRL+Z key. So we have given you one of the common answers.

Option 2: Using Quick Access Toolbar

This is one of those hidden or must say the second most used method of performing the Undo operation. Very powerful because the dropdown in that arrow shows a history and we can undo to a point in time of our document. This is more than powerful than you think.

Quiz Question

The quiz question is simple. Can you get me a 3rd Option to do the Undo operation inside Excel? This needs to be repeatable just like our CTRL+Z and I must be able to use this shortcut / operation / click and achieve the same result?

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Excel Functions: ROMAN, ARABIC and FORMULATEXT August 16th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

If you a power user of Excel, then there is no way you could have lived without tons of awesome functions available with Excel. In this blog post, let me talk about three such awesome functions which are simple yet powerful. These are not the traditional function’s but are used for special purposes. The functions are as below:

ROMAN Function

How many have wanted in creating your kids homework to convert numbers into Roman numerals? Here is the magic function ROMAN. Below are the options available with ROMAN function. Do play around with them to know the differences.

In the below example, I have used the “0 – Classic” option and the output can be seen below.

ARABIC Function

This is an interesting function. This is the reverse of what we did before. Assume the situation where-in you want to convert from Roman numerals back to normal numeric? Now that is the function to take a look. It is ARABIC, pass it the Roman numeral and you will get the integer value.

Formulatext Function

Now this is not part of the ROMAN and ARABIC function. But when playing around with Excel, sometimes I need to show the formula that is behind the cell. Many a times I use F2, copy the formula and paste it with an apostrophe (‘). There is a even better way to do this – it is via the function FORMULATEXT. A typical use of FORMULATEXT is shown below.

I plan to write many more Excel formula in future. Do let me know if you want me to cover any of them in particular. Will line them up !!! Thanks for reading this far.

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