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Spreadsheet news – There are 6 new functions in Excel 2016!

With the fairly new cloud-delivery model, many subscribers of Office 2016 will have received news and updates of their selected products over the last couple of months. One that captured my immediate attention announced 6 new, quite useful functions in Excel 2016. They are:

  • TEXTJOIN: joins text strings in a simpler way than the CONCATENATE-function; very useful for address or email lists;
  • CONCAT: this replaces the old CONCATENATE function, and works in a similar fashion than its predecessor;
  • IFS: this is a great new function, as it helps avoid the need for nested IF-statements that can become quite lenghty;
  • SWITCH: provides a similar use to IFS, but works to a different logic. An expression is evaluated against a list of values, and specifies return values specific to each value;
  • MAXIFS/MINIFS: the newest additions to the family of COUNTIFS, AVERAGEIFS, and SUMIFS functions; these work similar to MIN and MAX, but can be tied to conditions to be met.

This Office blog post here provides more detail on the new functions, as well as further links to the individual functions.

At the same time, this is a very good example how SaaS models can help update software on an ongoing basis without the need to roll out fully new versions. Of course, this requires a stronger attention by accountants to new developments in their area of expertise.


VisiCalc – the father of all digital spreadsheets

Our textbook details the history of spreadsheets in general, and their digital version in particular. In particular, VisiCalc has pioneered the spreading of spreadsheets on personal computers, and its pivotal role cannot be underestimated. In this article on the Guardian website, John Naughton delves a deeper into the importance of VisiCalc, especially as the main forerunner of the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel software in businesses and at home.

PowerPivot – more analytical power in Excel

In the last blog post, we have introduced PivotTables as a powerful analytical tool in Excel to manipulate large amounts of data into decision-useful reports. Microsoft introduced an enhanced PivotTable tool called PowerPivot that is available as an add-in for Excel 2010 and 2013. The PowerPivot add-in is now able to process even larger amounts of data, from internal and external sources, to create dashboards that even work online, moving PivotTables to the cloud. This website provides an introduction and working examples of the PowerPivot add-in.

PivotTables explained – CIMA series on spreadsheet skills

The standard user of Microsoft Excel is often staying at a very basic level, inputting data in cells, performing basic operations like sums and averages, or just adding two or more cells using the +sign. However, Excel is a very powerful analytical tool that boasts functionalities to slice and dice large data tables according to the specific information requirements that managers and management accountants might have.

In the spreadsheet skills series by CIMA, there is a very comprehensive explanation on PivotTables for the first-time user. Although this particular post is from 2009 (and therefore does not include additional functions introduced with Excel 2010 and 2013), it provides a good introduction to what PivotTables are all about.

Learning Excel 2013 online – free resources

I have posted a few weeks ago about the new Office 2013. In this post, I would like to focus a more on Excel 2013, a great piece of software in my view. Here is a link to a great website that lists free Excel tutorials and reference websites for the 2013 version.