Update to MBA Excel Homework Tracker

In 2012, back when I was in business school, I created a spreadsheet-based task tracker to manage my various commitments.  Because I'm somewhat of a visual design nerd, I leveraged Excel as my platform of choice because of all the detailed conditional formatting options available. It's now been more than 4 years since I created Continue Reading >>

How to Create a Normally Distributed Set of Random Numbers in Excel

Whether you're building a model or trying to simulate a scenario within your analysis, at some point in your Excel career, you're going to need to use a randomized set of data.  If you need to create a purely random set of numbers, with no specific constraints or parameters, you can just use the RAND ... Continue Reading >>

How to Use VLOOKUP’s Range Lookup Feature

The vast majority of Excel users have never used VLOOKUP's range lookup feature.  Most Excel users familiar with the VLOOKUP formula are just conditioned to know that, when they get to the range lookup option portion of the VLOOKUP syntax, they should just put in the word "FALSE" because they want an exact match.  This ... Continue Reading >>

How to Write a Nested IF Statement in Excel

Writing a Nested IF Statement is widely considered a rite of passage for beginning Excel users who are looking to become more advanced.  The first time I used this technique was during my new employee training, right before I became a business analyst in management consulting.  The overall concept of writing a Nested IF is ... Continue Reading >>

How to Use IF ISNA to Hide VLOOKUP Errors

When writing a series of VLOOKUP formulas, one of the annoying things is having to see the "#N/A" error after Excel has determined a lookup value is not available.  While we don't want to show any values when they are truly unavailable, from a visual design perspective, it's sometimes better just to show a blank space ... Continue Reading >>

How to Use the Excel MATCH Formula to Assign Histogram Bins

One of the most annoying things to have to do in Excel is writing a Nested IF statement.  For those of you that haven't done this before, a Nested IF is basically a long formula with multiple IF conditions that you need to account for.  The most common usage of this formula is to assign ... Continue Reading >>

The Most Popular Excel Websites Based on Alexa Ranking

When I started MBA Excel, I never really gave much thought to Excel's broader web community, which I was implicitly joining.  At the time, I was really just posting Excel tips and tricks because I thought they were interesting and would be useful to fellow MBA students.  While my engagement and capacity to contribute to ... Continue Reading >>

The Ultimate Guide to VLOOKUP

Learning the VLOOKUP formula is, for most people, the first step taken towards becoming an advanced Excel user.  For me, this milestone actually occurred in 2004 during an internship at Microsoft in the company's Commercial Operations Division.  One of the senior analysts showed me the ropes by teaching me the formula.  While Continue Reading >>

How to Use OFFSET MATCH MATCH

OFFSET MATCH MATCH is the final lookup combination I'll cover among the lookup formula options you have available to you in Excel.  Of all the different lookup options you have to do a two-way lookup, INDEX MATCH MATCH is still probably your best bet and the approach I would generally recommend.  However, OFFSET MATCH MATCH ... Continue Reading >>

The Eight Things You Should Always Check Whenever You Receive an Excel File

Photo by adamr Taking over another person's Excel file always has the potential to become a difficult task.  While some people actually create documentation, consider a new user's point of view, and take the time to call out the mousetraps that you might encounter, most of the time, you'll be getting a straight file dump.  Therefore, Continue Reading >>