New Features in Excel

New Features of Excel

Do you know that Microsoft Excel comes with a plethora of new features. It is worth investing the time to learn exciting Excel features, and make the most of the latest and greatest spreadsheet software by Microsoft.

So what is so great about Microsoft Excel? Plenty. Our Master Trainer, Vinai Prakash take you to a tour of the new features in Excel.

Do You Know These Advanced Excel Tricks?
Do You Know These Advanced Excel Tricks?

1. Quick Analysis Tool: The new Quick Analysis tool allows you to convert your data into a chart or a table in just two steps. Preview your data with conditional formatting, spark lines, or charts, and make your choice stick in just one click.

2. Instant Flash Fill: Flash Fill enters the rest of your data in one fell swoop, following the pattern it recognizes in your data.

3. Chart Recommendations: With Chart recommendations, Excel recommends the most suitable charts for your data. Get a quick peek to see how your data looks in the different charts, and then simply pick the one that shows the insights you want to present.

4. New Functions: There’s a whole slew of  new functions in the math and trigonometry, statistical, engineering, date and time, lookup and reference, logical, and text function categories.

5. Smart Pivot Tables: In Excel, When you create a PivotTable, Excel recommends several ways to summarize your data, and shows you a quick preview of the field layouts so you can pick the one that gives you the insights you’re looking for.

In the new Excel Data Model, you’ll be able to navigate to different levels more easily. Use Drill Down into a Pivot Table or Pivot Chart hierarchy to see granular levels of detail, and Drill Up to go to a higher level for “big picture” insights.

6. Improved Collaboration Tools: Working with other people on shared files in real time is a double-edged sword. While it’s useful to do this, you will face problems when two people try to change the same item at the same time. In Excel you can share and work collaboratively on files with others via SkyDrive using the Excel WebApp, and multiple people can work on the same file at the same time.

7. Standalone Pivot Charts: A PivotChart no longer has to be associated with a PivotTable. A standalone or de-coupled PivotChart lets you experience new ways to navigate to data details by using the new Drill Down, and Drill Up features. It’s also much easier to copy or move a de-coupled PivotChart.

Learn Excel in 2-3 Short Day Training: With so many new features, it is important that you learn these features, to improve your efficiency, productivity, and make use of these new  features. After all, what is the point of using the latest software if you do not use its latest and greatest features.

Learn to use Excel features like Vlookup, Macros, Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts, Tables, Advanced Functions and Formulas, Sharing, Collaboration, Removing Duplicates, and much more…

Do contact us at Intellisoft to attend our Basic Excel, or Advanced Excel training courses at our training centre, or have a Customized Corporate Training on Excel at your office.

We also provide WSQ Funded courses for Excel, which means that up to 90% of the course fee is funded by the Singapore Government. Terms & Conditions apply, so contact us for more information on training fees, Grants and customized solutions for your company.

Sparklines Microsoft Excel

Practical hands-on basic Excel training

In Microsoft Excel, some of the new features are sparklines and slicers, and improvements to PivotTables and other existing features, can help us to discover patterns or trends in the data. To get started with the features of Excel, first we will look at the details of the  Sparklines and slicers features of Excel.


Sparklines in Microsoft Excel Traiing

Sparklines are tiny charts that is used to fit in a cell to visually summarize trends beside the data.

Since sparklines show trends occupies less space, they are exclusively useful for dashboards and other places where we need to show a glimpse of the business in an simple practical visual format.

In the image to the left, the sparklines that appear in the Trend column lets us have a quick look of the performance of each department in the month of May.


Excel Slicers Sample
Excel Slicers Sample

Slicers are visual controls. They let us quickly refine data in a PivotTable in an interactive, automatic manner. If we insert a slicer, we can use buttons to quickly segment and refine the data to display appropriate results.

Not only that, when we apply more than one filter to the PivotTable, we no longer have to open a list to see which filters are enforced to the data. Rather, it is displayed on the screen in the slicer.

We can make slicers relate to the workbook formatting and easily reuse them in other PivotTables & PivotCharts.

If you would like to learn more about these new features of Microsoft Excel /  Office 365, or would like to attend the Advanced Microsoft Excel Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

If you have any further questions or want to join a training on how to use Sparklines, contact Intellisoft for Corporate Training on Excel or call at +65 6250-3575

Trainer: We have certified trainers who excel in imparting their knowledge and are very patient. Master Trainer Vinai teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel, Data Interpretation and Analysis Training courses at Intellisoft.

He has  conducted over 700 live workshops, and trained over 5,000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.

Using Pivot Table Data in Summary Sheets

Learn Pivot Tables Easily in Singapore at Intellisoft

Using GetPivotData in Excel To Get Pivot Values Instantly

Pivot tables from Microsoft are a great boon in Excel. Previously, getting IT departments to write custom reports used to take ages. And even if you could get a report written for your needs, by the time you got it, it was too late, or you wanted to look at information from another angle.

With Pivot tables, you can now create your own reports in no time. And you can slice and dice information pretty easily, with just a few clicks. If you haven’t used Pivots, this is a great reason to go for Advanced Excel Training.

However, even though Pivot tables are great, they are not the best tool  for presenting information for the senior management. There may be times when you want to pick up certain information from the pivot table, format it nicely, and present it with other summary figures.

To use the summarized data from the pivot table, but make it more presentable,  you can use an extremely useful function of Excel called the GetPivotData.

Enabling GetPivotData Button

It is very easy to get this function to work. This little gem is hidden right within the Pivot Toolbar. Just right click on the Pivot Toolbar, right at the end, and select customize. Pick Add/Remove Buttons.

Select GetPivotData button. This is a toggle button – click it once and it gets enabled, and another click disables it. You can see a slight change in the icon when it is enabled or disabled.

Once the button is highlighted, you can begin writing your formula. Start with a = sign in a black cell where you want a pivot table value. then point to any cell in the Pivot Table. Its value is captured in your formula.

As long as the data is available and visible in the Pivot table, you can move the data around from rows to columns or page fields, but it will still appear correctly in the presentation area.

Go ahead. Give it a try and make your data presentation summaries more dynamic and presentable. Any questions or comments, do let me know.

Hope you find this tiny tip useful…

If you want to learn more, you can join us for our Basic-Intermediate Excel Training course, or for the Advanced Excel Training in Singapore.

We offer classroom and online trainings for your benefit. The Advanced Excel training does cover Pivot Table reports and options in greater depth.

We’ll teach you how to create a pivot table from scratch, build it, design it, and use it to quickly summarize large amount of data in no time. 

And if you are wondering What to Do after Learning Advanced Excel, check out the other exciting courses.

Vinai Prakash
Founder & Editor of Microsoft Excel Tips Blog at Intellisoft Systems in Singapore

P.S: Have you checked out the 5 Cool Career Options in Data Analysis?

How To Use Custom Sort in Microsoft Excel

Excel training in Singapore at Intellisoft

Do you know how to use custom sort in Excel?

I bet you know how to sort data in Excel. It is pretty easy. Most of the time an ascending sorting is what we need – letters and numbers listed in the ascending order a to z, 1 to 100 etc. And just in case you need to sort in the reverse order, you have the Z to A sort, also called the Sort in Descending order. Between the two, most people are quite happy, thanks to Microsoft‘s intuitive sorting options.

However, there arises a time when you don’t want either the sort in Ascending order or the Descending order in Excel.

Examples where a Standard Sorting won’t work:

For example, if the departments in your organization are Finance, Marketing, Sales & Engineering. And you want the Sales department to be listed first, followed by Marketing, Engineering, and Finance being the last.

Now how would you sort the departments in this order? Ascending or descending sort is not going to work.

Do not despair however. Here is where the power of Microsoft Excel Custom sort shines.

Another scenario is the Sorting of Months – say you want to sort April, May & June, in this order. Or maybe you want to sort regions by East, West, North & South. This EWNS order also needs a custom sorting in Excel.

Or if you have a completely random order – which defies any kind of sorting. Say you want to list Oranges, then Apples, then Grapes, and finally Bananas. You can go nuts without custom sorting criteria in Excel.

Using Custom Sort in Excel 

First, let’s create the custom list in Excel.

Go to Tools, Options, Custom Lists.

You can key in your list and click Add. Or you can import your list from another area of the spreadsheet, where you list the options in the sorted order.

Custom sort option screen in Excel








Once you have imported the list in the correct order, you can go to Data, Sort, and then click on Options at the bottom of this popup window.

Choose your custom sorted list from the list of First Key Sort Order.

Voila! Your list is now sorted in your very own custom order.

Multi level sort in Excel with Custom Sorting options









Alternatives to Custom Sort in Excel

Of course, if you don’t want to use Custom Sort, there are other alternatives. I have often used a Lookup Table

Fruit                Sorting
Oranges             1
Apples               2
Grapes               3
Bananas            4

I then use the inbuilt Lookup function of Excel called VLOOKUP function and pick the correct value, and then do an Ascending sort. This is a quick cheat trick.

But it would be tough if you did not know how to use the Lookup functions of Excel in the first place. More on this lookup function in another post.

Let me know if this neat trick help you. And if you want to learn more, join me in a Excel Training workshop in Singapore.

Till then…

Vinai Prakash
Founder & Master Trainer at Intellisoft Systems, in Singapore

How To Create A Dashboard in Excel?

Excel Dashboards To Visualize Information Quickly

How To Create A Dashboard in Excel?

Most people take Excel to be a number crunching tool… boring and unattractive.

Actually, Microsoft Excel has been slowly transforming… adding more and more features that make presentation of number much better with every new edition of Excel.

The Excel 2016, 2019 & Microsoft Office 365 versions are extremely powerful and you can create dynamic dashboards with buttons, check boxes, drop downs, scroll bars, conditional formatting, pivot charts, slicers, and a host of other features, just by using Excel.

What is an Excel Dashboard?

An Excel Dashboard is a simple tool for the management, allowing them to get a glance at the business in just a single screen – without looking at multiple sheets of data or charts.

See the dashboard created in the image here. You may not even realize that it was created in Microsoft Excel.

Plus, it is not just a pretty dashboard. There are things that can change – with  the click of a button, you can change the division, product, year, and the entire set of graphs, numbers, charts will change dynamically. Try that in PowerPoint….

Is Excel Good for Creating Dashboards?

Yes, Excel has all the important features that can make a complete dashboard. In fact, small companies rely on Excel for almost all their work as they can’t afford the more expensive Business Intelligence software. You can create multiple charts, KPIs, to be displayed in a single page, and set them to refresh automatically upon opening.

There are several options to add buttons, dropdowns, check boxes, radio buttons that add interactivity to Excel dashboards. With these control, plus macros, and Power Query running in the background to fetch and clean data, is all you need to make any kind of dashboard in Excel.

How to Create a Dashboard in Excel from Scratch?

It is pretty easy to make a Dashboard in Microsoft Excel. Here are some steps for you to follow:

how to create a dashboard in excel
How To Create a Dashboard in Excel

Step 1: To make a dashboard in Excel, you must begin with the end picture in mind.

If you do not have a clear end picture in mind, it may make sense to do some brainstorming on a piece of paper.

Better still, gather a bunch of colleagues and managers, and do this in a meeting, to understand what are the key things you must measure. KPI, ROI, Net Margin, Market Share, Cost per acquisition etc. are good things to measure. This can be translated into any industry. So you can measure Number of hotel nights booked, Number of patients admitted vs discharged, average hours worked per week etc. Excel Dashboard Course in Singapore

You also have to think about the Dimensions you would like to slice this data on – by Country Department, Quarter, Zone, Area, Cost Center, etc. This will allow you to compare the metrics from the different periods and it becomes much easier to track if the performance is getting better or worse.

Step 2: Collect the Required Data For the Excel Dashboard

Once you know what you want to track and measure, you must make sure that this data is collected, and is available. You might have to extract it from your ERP or internal databases or systems.

Microsoft Excel can load any kind of data – be it text file, CSV file, directly scrape off the data from the Internet, or even read it from a SQL RDBMS database.

Step 3: Clean the Data

Extract & take the required data. You will have to clean it using Excel Formulas and functions, or you can use Power Query. Remove useless columns.

Use of functions like these can be handy

  • LEN
  • NOW
  • LEFT
  • FIND

Step 4: Build Connections With Master Data

Raw data on its own may not be very useful. Build the right VLookups to link with Master Data for our Dashboard Creation in Excel.

You can link Excel to other external or internal workbooks, and worksheets. You must know how to copy or link data from external worksheets and workbooks.

The good thing is that once the connection is built, you don’t have to open the associated file to use it.

Excel will automatically open the linked files when the management dashboard is being refreshed.

Step 5: Build Measures & Calculations For the Excel Dashboard

A few new formulas may be required to be built, to calculate the key measures. This requires knowledge of advanced excel formulas like the ones here. You may need more or less….

Starting out with these key Advanced Excel Functions is going to be crucial for a good Excel Dashboard.

  • INDEX,
  • MATCH,
  • SUMIF,

Step 6: Build Charts & Tables With the  KPIs in the Excel Dashboard

The next step is to start building the dashboards with the KPIs, Charts, Pivots to summarize the data at the right granularity.

Excel dashboard training in Singapore by Intellisoft - Vinai Prakash
Excel dashboard training in Singapore by Intellisoft – Vinai Prakash

You can add pivot tables, Excel Tables, Charts, and Summary Calculations. You can also use Conditional Formatting for these values, to be able to pin point them easily. Once the Dashboard looks great, you move to the next step in Excel Dashboard creation, where interactivity is added.

Step 7: Add Interactivity With Excel Controls

Once the KPIs are in place, it is required for your to build the interactivity in, to slice and dice by country, division, zone, periods like quarters, months etc. You can add Slicers, Buttons, Dropdowns, Check boxes to check or uncheck, and based on the selection, the appropriate charts and KPIs can be updated.

Step 8: Begin Using The New Dashboard

That’s it. Your Excel dashboard is ready. Begin using it. Tweak it as needed. Share it with other colleagues, so you can gather more feedback, and improve it. Once a dashboard becomes ready, it becomes easy to measure things throughout the company, based on the same benchmark or metrics.

Learn How To Create Excel Dashboards

Of course, to start building such Excel Dashboards, you must know some Basic & Advanced featured of Excel.

Once you know these, you can begin to learn how to create such dynamic dashboards using Excel.

Attend Excel Dashboard Training in Singapore

Excel Dashboard Training Participants
Excel Dashboard Training Participants at Intellisoft

You can attend our 2 day Most Popular Excel Dashboards Training in Singapore – it starts at the basics, and covers step by step features required to create such dashboards with Excel, on your own.

Plus we provide you with snacks, tea/coffee breaks, so everything required is available… and you can focus on learning and building the Excel dashboards quickly, and easily.

Intellisoft runs Dashboard MasterClass in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Qatar, India, and many other countries.

If you would like to join our next Excel Dashboard Training Course, simply contact us, and we will advice you of the dates, training schedule in the city of your choice.

Contact us to enroll for this practical, hands on training. We will email you the Course Brochure too, so you can see the topics covered in detail.

Customized Corporate Training is available for this Excel Dashboard Training in Singapore

So far we have conducted a number of such classes for the staff of large MNC companies, teaching them how to create such reports and dashboards with ease, and they have been highly popular and successful… requiring us to do multiple repeat sessions for other divisions, countries also.

Do learn these simple techniques to create useful, and interactive Dashboards using Excel and beyond. You will be amazed at the ease with which you can track and measure things. Better still, everyone will be on the same page.

Removing confusion from the corporate culture is a major step towards success with Excel Dashboards

Vinai Prakash
Intellisoft Systems Team

Do You Use These Advanced Features in Microsoft Excel?

Advanced Excel training at Intellisoft
Practical hands-on advanced excel training at Intellisoft
Practical hands-on advanced excel training at Intellisoft

Most people hardly use the huge number of features available in Microsoft Excel. Many are just using Excel as a calculator. This is a gross under use of Excel’s vast potential and feature rich functionality.

Do a quick check, and see if you use these advanced features of Microsoft Excel in your day to day work.

Some of the common things that can be done easily with Excel are:

  1. Finding the Top 10 Customers or Finding the Bottom 10 Performers in the organization
  2. Highlight values that are above or below a certain threshold – like all sales above $25,000 to be highlighted
  3. Sort the values in Ascending, Descending or any customized order – like sorting in order of Manufacturing, Accounts, Sales departments.
  4. Give Names to Range of Cells, and then use them in formulas for easy referencing and decoding
  5. Exploit Pivot Tables to Summarize the data and slice & dice it in any way – finding sales by product groups, or calculating productivity by department
  6. Write Macros to automate routine things that save you a huge amount of time – example creating pivots, charts, tables, and doing complex calculations automatically.
  7. Use advanced filtering conditions, and be able to filter data using multiple different criteria
  8. Create fantastic charts that portray the given business situation perfectly. There are over 50 different types of charts to choose from, and each has its edge, advantages and a reason.
  9. Create management dashboard that are dynamic, and provide a complete snapshot of the key business KPIs in the company – change the chart values at the click of a checkbox or change in a drop-down value
  10. Use Excel’s advanced What-If analysis to do projections for future, forecasting, trend analysis etc. with ease
  11. Use Lookup tables to find any value or corresponding value from a table using advanced functions and formulas

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft Excel is really extremely powerful. Each version of Microsoft Excel – be it Excel 2007, or Excel 2010 or Excel 2013 adds more and more features to the already powerful dynamite of a package.

At Intellisoft, we teach people how to leverage the maximum power out of Microsoft Excel in short training courses. Some of the popular courses are:

We have a number of Public Classes each month, and we also provided In-House Training to your staff and team at your office, if you have a group of 10+ people, and have a room to hold the training.

So what are you waiting for? If you would like to learn any one or more of such useful features of Microsoft Excel, come for a short Excel Training at Intellisoft.

Go ahead, equip your team with the right skills. Get everyone on board to learn the basic and advanced features of Microsoft Excel, and Be Awesome in Excel!

Email to or call +65-6250-3575 for the next available schedule of Microsoft Excel Training in Singapore.

We are located at Fortune Centre, in Singapore! Location Map of Intellisoft

Vinai Prakash, PMP, ITIL, Six Sigma, GAP,
Master Trainer

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