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You suck at Excel

I often see posts on Reddit, HackerNews and other boards websites that ask questions along the lines of “What skill could I learn in an hour that would be invaluable to me?”, and while there’s plenty of novel ideas, like cooking steak, how to tie a tie or manage cables, the one I like to come back to, especially for tech or finance people is; Learn to do Excel right.

Joel Spolsky, of StackOverflow, FogBugz and Trello fame – and formally program manager of the Microsoft Excel Team in Microsoft has a 54 minute video with some superb tips in it.

Bookmark it now or save it to your Watch Later list. You won’t regret it.

For example, a colleague just asked me how to copy a formula between cells and keep one of them with a direct reference to one particular variable in one cell.

Having seen this video all those months ago, I was able to give him a quick pointer that by using the $ symbol (e.g. $D$500), it told Excel when he was copying and pasting the formula that it was an absolute reference and not a relative reference. Using this info, he was literally able to save hours of work on a project for a large pharmaceutical client.

I wish I had seen this video when I worked in a hedge fund, I could have worked faster and more efficiently to produce higher quality Excel spreadsheets.

Live and learn 😊

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