Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heat Charts are so easy in Excel 2007

Before you roll your eyes and say, "Welcome to life after 2003, Excel_Geek," let me just say, "I know, I know." The driver for this project was that I was analyzing my website traffic using my Google Analytics account. I noticed a few things.

One was that "heat chart" or "heat charts" seems to be a pretty popular search term for folks to find me. I've obviously done a couple of heat chart projects, but back when I was still using 2003, so in order to create them with more than four colors (the limit to Conditional Formatting in 2003), I had to do write some VBA code to accomplish it.

Another thing I noticed what the rhythmic up and down of my site traffic. There were a few major spikes -- March Madness season, college football bowl game season, and one recently when @MSExcel mentioned me in their Twitter feed. What I wanted to further analyze, though, was if there was any pattern to traffic patterns based on Day of Week and recency of blog posts.

I combined these two findings and decided to do a heat chart incorporating both Day of Week and recency to blog posts. Here's what the chart itself looks like:

Along the way I used some other favorite techniques along the way: indexing the data (so I'm not sharing my actual web stats...hey, that's my business), a trick to convert a list of dates into a list of days of the week, VLOOKUP using TRUE instead of FALSE (whatever for? right?), and using SUMPRODUCT to create COUNTIFS and SUMIFS functions that will be backward compatible to Excel 2003 and earlier. I highlighted the creation of the heat chart and these other techniques in the source file, which I'll be sharing with my Insiders Subscribers.



Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 March Madness Bracket is coming soon

Mark your calendars, folks. March 13th is Selection Sunday. In what has now become a five year tradition, I'll be releasing the March Madness Bracket spreadsheet late that evening, once the picks are known.

In years past I've charged $3 for the "Master" version of the sheet -- the one for the organizer of your office pools, etc. I used the opportunity to showcase (read: show off) a system I've developed for locking down and protecting, then individually licensing access to my spreadsheets. I plan to keep it locked down (damn, right?), but I'm dropping the price for the Master Spreadsheet to $2. Once you pay via PayPal and send me the "Lock Code" given to you by the spreadsheet once you open it (and have your Macros enabled properly), I'll send you the "Key Code" to gain access.

Can't wait...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Updated: Parse Google Search Results for First URL

Those of you who've been following me for some time may know that I've done quite a few projects related to parsing Google search results for various data -- URLs, number of results, etc. Those of you using the code likely know that some time ago Google apparently made some changes to how they put together their site causing my stuff to stop working. Well, recently one of the requesters of one of these projects - one that returns the first non-paid URL returned - came back and had me update it to work with how Google's site currently displays search results.

This time I made it into a user-defined function. You simply enter the function...

=getFirstGoogleResultURL(A2), where the value of cell A2 is the search term.

It works pretty slick, but know that Google will not allow this sort of thing to be used on large volumes of searches. I'm pretty sure they'd much rather have you using their APIs for this sort of usage.

Excel_Geek Insiders subscribers, your copy of this file is on its way.



Thursday, February 03, 2011

Introducing Gadi, My First Contributor


I'd like to introduce you to Gadi Bizinyan.

Gadi is originally from Isreal, but is currently working in Bangkok, Thailand. Gadi's got a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration and really got into Excel as part of that curriculum. His self-described specialties in Excel are creating dynamic databases, manipulating data, analyzing statistically and graphically, and financial analysis.

Something you may be surprised to learn is that Gadi's been helping me for some time now. Some $50 Projects and some Private Projects have been his handywork. Remember, I've got a full-time "real job" as Director of Sales for Stanley Healthcare Solutions, so I cannot dedicate nearly as much time to this overgrown hobby as I'd like. Gadi's helping me to continue to help people in need and do some neat projects. Gadi's also going to begin contributing posts to the blog, too. Please welcome him and pretend you like his stuff as much as mine. ;-)

Welcome aboard, Gadi!