Archive for February, 2013

Excel 2012 Users Should Move All Files To SkyDrive

Excel 2013

I’ve started using and discussing Excel 2012 and while I still have a lot of exploring to do, one thing that I quickly noticed was the fact that one of the main benefits is the fact that it is cloud based. I’ve written about the benefits of cloud based software and how much it has helped Google Docs catch up. In short, two of the major benefits are:

-being able to access your software from any location
-Ability to share documents

From what I understand, unlike Google docs, you cannot have multiple users editing a document all at once. But being able to handle the cloud drive portion is still a very important part of the Excel 2012 software. Once you sign up for the free trial, you instantly also get access to SkyDrive, which is Microsoft’s own cloud-based drive, which competes with Dropbox, Google Drive and Applee’s iCloud among others. Once you get access to Skydrive, you can (and should) install it on your pc. When that happens, you will see it in your explorer:

Then, any file that you save on that part of your drive will automatically be made available through Skydrive on the web:

Ideally, you also have your excel and other office documents in that area in order to:

-have access to them from anywhere
-ability to share them easily

Then, you can log into your Skydrive and access the file, even if that computer does not have excel installed on it, which is certainly a nice benefit. Also, any changes that you make will be reflected in the updated file on your computer.

Is Installing Excel Even Necessary?

I think it’s a valid question but I’m assuming that some of the functions in Excel 2012 do not work in a web based version (such as web queries, certain macros, etc) only work on desktop,,I would certainly hope that over time those missing features are added but I guess time will tell. My main thoughts are that unless the online version of Excel is extremely solid, there will be little use to having Skydrive rather than competing services. There’s no doubt that it requires some adapting but I think it’s a great thing overall.

Have you started using Excel 2012? If so what are your thoughts? And have you started integrating SkyDrive?

How Can You Finally Engage The Online Audience?

Business & entrepreneurship

Where do you write the most?

If you’re in the field of marketing, blogging, or anything remotely involved with writing, you know that you have to work on your writing constantly. Writing isn’t easy. It’s challenging to come up with new topics and to engage your readers on a consistent basis. Online readers have a short attention span. Attention is highly limited and difficult to gain.

Where am I going with this?

I found an article at Fast Company that shared a study about how your most important writing is done on Facebook.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

“It’s not that you can remember the Facebook posts a little better–you can remember them a lot better,” says study co-author Dr. Laura Mickes, who calls the findings “jaw-dropping.”

Why on Earth on Facebook updates so important?

Facebook posts, as well as Twitter posts, are so memorable because they are what Mickes calls “mind ready”: unedited and unfiltered. They’re off-the-cuff remarks and thoughts. These words, which flow quickly and easily from your friend’s mind onto his Facebook page, are then absorbed by you with similar ease.

With all of this being said, how can you improve your writing and how you engage your readers?

Work on great headlines for your articles.

I’ve been told that the best headlines provoke emotions. The best headlines are those that attract readers to even read the article. It’s challenging enough to have someone even stop by your site, let alone want to read an article.

How can you work on your headlines? You have to just play around with different ideas. You have to find ways to trigger our emotions. You have to look at how other sites get readers.

I would start off by reading Copy Blogger and their piece on how to write headlines that work. From there, you can play around with different headlines and strategies. The trick to remember is that writing great headlines is a work in progress.

Tweet what’s on your mind.

Do you have an idea? A quick thought? What about posting an unfiltered idea to Twitter? You never know when you can come up with a gem. I often find myself howling in laughter when following some of my friends. I could tell that they’re posting their unfiltered thoughts/jokes/ideas.

Do you ever Tweet a random thought that’s on your mind? Give it a try today. When something interesting hits you, post it. Don’t think about it. As long as it’s not something totally offensive or inappropriate, you shouldn’t worry about the negative backlash. You never know when you blurt out an idea that has potential for the future.

Work on Facebook status updates.

What do you post on Facebook? I usually post useless stuff. After reading this research study, I’m going to make a conscious effort to post thought-provoking updates — or at least updates that garner attention.

Have you seen any interesting Facebook updates lately?

Are you going to improve your writing? Let’s work on finally engaging the online audience.

How To Start Trying Office 365 (free trial)

Excel 2013

Today, I decided to finally go ahead and start testing Office 365, especially the new Excel 2013 version! There is currently a free trial available from the Office website here! Here is what I could see:

Then I simply selected the home version (should be more than enough..from what I understand the main difference is the number of users):

Then, I had to select my country (hopefully your own country appears on this list):

And then I could select my free trial:

Unfortunately, as you can see, in order to try it out I need:

-a Windows/Hotmail user (not a big problem)
-credit card information (this is a bit disappointing, I’d love for the free trial to not require this but this is the new model.. no upfront cost, just a monthly fee:

Since Excel 2013 is cloud-based, I did not expect to have an installation to do but it was the case as you can see here:

After about 2 minutes, I got to the first screen:

I got the presentation which was fairly well done, explained some of the benefits of using Excel 2013.. I’d say the main ones are:

-can be clud-based
-comes with SkyDrive (cloud based program similar to Dropbox or Google Drive)
-easier to share spreadsheets with others, edit with multiple users, etc
-free Skype minutes, etc..

I was also impressed by the number of templates when I logged in for the first time:

I will be testing a lot more in the coming weeks and will keep you updated on my thoughts, new functions, etc.

Have any of you given it a try? If so, how do you like it so far?

Nested If Conditions Example In Excel

Excel function tutorials

Today, I got a problem that is similar to what I presented last week, on the surface. It’s another example of why understanding the problem is the biggest part of solving it. You can see the problem that I was sent here:

In this case, because it’s not cumulative, we can basically do a simple nested if condition. Basically, for any consumer that has over 200 units consumed, we know the exact cost of those 200 (100 at $0.54 and 100 at $0.75). The same is true for those that have over 100. So I started off by calculating those 2 amounts:


Then, I built the “nested if” condition as follows:


The surcharges were fairly simple to calculate as you can see here!


The amount due is the sum of the 3 amounts. I then dragged the formula and got the following:

You can also download the spreadsheet here

Are You Debating Investing in Stocks? What You Need to Know

Personal finance

Trading stocks is a sexy topic. It’s very interesting. We’ve all heard anecdotes of someone that invested $20 and became rich overnight. Everyone hears a story like that. We all want to be that success story. However, we rarely hear about both sides of the coin.

Is it possible to become rich in a matter of days off the stock market? Not really.

Do you need tons of money to make money on the stock market? Nope. You don’t have to be rich. You can get started with a few dollars.

Can anyone trade stocks? Absolutely! You just have to open an account with an online brokerage. This can take only a few minutes and you can be trading stocks in the near future.

For now, let’s look at the idea of investing stocks and what to consider if this if a financial experiment that you’re considering.

“Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” — Warren Buffett

Are you debating investing in stocks? Let’s look at what you need to know.

Stock prices always change!

The price of the stock will fluctuate all day every single day. Can you handle this? When I first started trading stocks, I couldn’t fathom this thought. I would hit refresh on the page every couple of minutes. I then soon realized that this was no way to live life. You have to be able to come to terms with the fact that the stock price will constantly change. Good and bad. Sometimes it will soar through the roof, tempting you to sell. Other times, it will crash, tempting you to pull out of the stock market forever. Just a warning.

On that note…

You need to be able to handle risk.

How do you deal with risks? What happens to you in an uncertain situation? Some investors are just not meant for the stock market. Others thrive off it! I can’t tell you what to do. All I can suggest is that you understand your own investor profile so that you make moves according to what you can handle.

Most trading accounts will actually help you out with this. They’ll ask you questions to see what you’re all about. They don’t want you to get in over your heard right off the bat. Some rookie investors need to start off with bonds and more conservative investments.

Can you handle risks?

Do you understand the business of the company?

I’ve been a student of Warren Buffett for years now. He preaches the importance of understanding what the company does before you invest your money into it. This was my biggest mistake as a young investor. I would invest my money into companies that I simply did NOT understand.

Why does this matter? Because it’s impossible for you to grasp how things are going if you don’t understand the business. Just because your co-worker or a friend of a friend suggests that you invest in a company, it doesn’t make it the right thing to do. The right companies to invest in are usually the ones that you understand.

You can check out E* trade online trading to get started right now! What will be your first stock purchase?

 “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” — Warren Buffett