Making Easy, Flexible Histograms with PivotTables

This post accompanies my segment on MyExcelOnline’s “Best Excel Tips of 2017 Podcast.” The first commandment of data analysis: KNOW THY DATA! It’s always smart to get a feel for your data’s distribution. Histograms offer a great way to visualize the distributions of a variable of interest. Download the exercise file here. A histogram is […]

Innovation and the Liberal Arts: Guest Post for Hillsdale College

Central Hall, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI Ah, guest posting. It’s something that you’re supposed to do as a blogger. They give you access to new, bigger audiences who are eager to find new authors. Sometimes I find the right outlet difficult. The economics of blogging allows your voice to be so niche and unique that the […]

Review of Sensemaking. (What Makes a Good Analyst? Hint: Not Just Excel.)

An old professor of mine used to quip that, for proof of the permanent income hypothesis, observe how engineering majors often drive nicer cars than philosophy majors. May it be because, he jested, the top five engineering firms are hiring at more competitive salaries than the top five philosophy firms?   Christian Madsbjerg’s Sensemaking: The […]

All White Space, No Fillers: Hiding Gridlines in Excel

I don’t use Excel for everything these days, but I continue to use it for formatting tables. Because, let’s be honest. Word is simply not up to the task when it comes to cleanly-formatted tables. Generally tables in publications do not include gridlines – it’s pixel overload. So to remove my gridlines before saving the […]

So Long as There’s Small Business, There Will Be Small Data (and Excel)

This week, with a little time off between semesters, I’ve been helping a family member with financial reporting & analysis for his business. It’s been over a year since I worked in finance and this exercise reminds me how frustrating this can be and how critical a strong command of Excel is to modern data […]