Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another Solution for 1024 Character per Cell Display Problem

Remember back in January when Mike requested a solution for Excel's (pre-Excel 12) 1,024 character per cell display problem? I worked something up for him, but as part of the solution, I inserted new rows and merged cells. Another person let me know that this caused a problem if the cell was part of a table that one wanted to sort.

So...I went to work on a better solution, and I think what I've produced is far superior, though could still be taken further.

Essentially, what I've written checks each cell in a selection to see if it has more than 1024 characters. If it does, it then automatically places line feed characters -- chr(10) in VB -- at the end of each line based upon an approximate number of characters that should fit on each line (only in Arial 10 regular font). It was a bit tricky figuring out how to determine the end of each line -- it could be looking for a space near the approximate end based upon the width of the cell, or a line feed character somewhere before that point.

In the end, it works well. Some possibilities for enhancements? Well, it could be improved to work with any size, name, and style of font. This one converts affected cells to Arial 10 Regular font, which is typically the default font for Excel anyway.

I think those of you who've signed up for my Excel_Geek Insiders service will enjoy it. Just let me know if you need help "strapping" the code on to an existing file you've got. If you haven't already subscribed, you might think about doing so. It's only $39.95 per year, and you get copies of all the file I produce for $50 Project requestors, as well as a few other projects, like this one, that I simply feel like doing.

Interested? Sign up today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My first Excel/VBA Lesson - Sort by Cell Background Color

The other day I was asked by a colleague to teach her the basics of programming in Excel with VBA. Here's the first task I gave her: write a script that a user can call to sort any selected range of cells by the color of their backgrounds. The reason I selected this task is that it seems fairly often written on on the web, so she would be sure to find plenty of examples.

In the end, with some help from me, she produced a fairly tight little script, which I'll be sending it out to those of you who've subscribed to the Excel_Geek Insiders service.

The basics are 1) insert a temporary column next to the range to be sorted, 2) set the value of each cell in that new column equal to the ColorIndex of the cells in the range to be sorted, 3) select the new column and range together, 4) sort by the new column, 5) delete the temporary column, and 6) reselect the original range to be sorted to give users a seemless feel.

Interesting, straightforward approach, I think.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Database Project - Web Statistics

Just today I (we, actually) wrapped up a project that WASN'T in Excel. How about that?

A request came in from S _ _ _ _ _ _ , who manages around 1,000 domains. Each month he receives a .DAT file with various statistics for each domain. These files can regularly exceed 5,000 to 10,000 rows of data, so until Excel 12 is in more widespread use, MS Access seemed like the best place for this to live.

I pushed this project out to my growing list of Contributors, and had an immediate taker -- a guy with an extensive database background already. My Contributor turned around the project very fast, complete with functionality to browse for and automatically import the .DAT files, as well as several pre-built simple and crosstab queries. Even better, this Contributor put together a quick instructional sheet illustrated with various screen shots, etc. Nice.

I guess I know where to send off all new incoming database projects, eh?

Seriously, though, thank you S _ _ _ _ _ _ for the project, and thank you Contributor for your quick, comprehensive approach.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Manage Google Adwords from Excel

Recently Kelly requested that I build, using Excel, VBA, and the Google Adwords API, a simple means for him/her to manage his/her Adwords account from a spreadsheet. I love the concept, especially for people/businesses that create a long list of ads to manage over time. Basically, the idea is to be able to create and activate new ads, edit existing ads, delete or deactivate ads, etc. from within Excel. Very doable, methinks.

Now, I've not done any projects using the Adwords API, and I'm a bit overloaded on some other projects right now, so I pushed this project out to my vast team international Excel_Geek Contributors. Both very capable, but neither has chosen to tackle this particular project.

So...anyone else in the world know how to do this/want to try to do it? Please, become an Excel_Geek Contributor today!

Kelly, if no one out there is willing to step up and help out with this, I'll get to it, but it won't be tomorrow...or next week...but I do want to do this type of work. I might even use it myself.


BTW, thank you everyone for your overwhelming response to my new Meebo Me chat feature I installed yesterday. I'll stay signed in as often as possible to help you all with those quick little "How do I (blank) in Excel?" questions that always pop up.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Meebo the Excel_Geek

New feature!

Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I 've been super busy, and most of the projects I'm working on lately are of the Private Project variety, which doesn't give me much latitude to tell you all about them, but just to give you all some idea of what the heck I'm doing, here are some ultra-brief descriptions:

  • a fixed income securities optimizer

  • a shipping container optimizer

  • an ecommerce site revenue model for scenario analysis

  • several custom business forms and a staff scheduler

  • code to export a series of Excel charts to image files to use in a mail merge

Now, the real reason for this post: Do you all see it? I've installed a MeeboMe widget on the upper right-hand side of the blog. Super cool. Now, please understand, by their own admission, this thing is a bit buggy right now (sometimes I'm having trouble getting it to show I'm online even when I am), but they'll get those issues worked out, and this will be sweet. When I'm online, you all can shoot me instant messages. Got a quick simple question? Meebo me!

Aren't familiar with Meebo? I suggest reading their blog from start to finish (or skim through it as you've got time). This little company recently landed big venture capital funds to try to figure out a revenue model to support their mutli-instant messaging service aggregating capabilities. I've been following them semi-regularly since near the beginning. I think they may be onto something with this Meebo Me service.