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.



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