A “Simple” Giveaway

Do you consider yourself, or someone you know, somewhere between being a beginner to moderately experienced user in Excel 2007, and would like to know more? If yes, this “Simple” giveaway may be for you!

The Prizes

The top prize, with a value of approximately $145, is a copy of the book “Simply Learning Excel 2007” by Robert Ryan, MBA, CPA, and a live, personal, one-hour Excel session with Bob via WebEx. He will cover and/or answer any questions about any topic from the book, e.g. PivotTables, Filters, VLOOKUP, etc. Bob will contact the winner to arrange a mutually convenient time, and also find out what the winner would like to cover. This prize is transferrable, so the winner can give it to a family member or co-worker who needs some extra help, or they could even share it (the live session part) with up to 20 co-workers.

There will be four runners-up, and each one will win a free book, with a value of approximately $20 each. They, along with any reader of the book, can get their questions answered at no extra cost via a live WebEx session by submitting their questions to Ask the Author… LIVE!™ at SimplyLearningExcel.com.

How to Enter

Simply submit your answer to the following question by responding to this blog below:

  • In all the years (or days) that you have known Excel (any version), what is the most valuable thing – feature, formula, etc – you have learned about Excel,


  • What is the one thing about Excel that you have shared with others that they have valued most? Was it PivotTables? Keyboard shortcuts? Spreadsheet design? Macros? Please let us know.

The Giveaway Rules

  • All responses must be submitted to Bob’s blog at SimplyLearningExcel.com/blog.
  • The entry deadline is 12:00 noon (USA Eastern time zone) on Monday, August 23rd, 2010.
  • One entry per person – any additional entries will be deleted from the draw – with one exception. If you answer both parts of the question, you will be entered twice.
  • A random draw (using Excel) will select the winners from all valid entries.
  • The winner will be notified by email, so please provide a valid email address. This will not be publicly visible, and you will not be added to any mailing list.

The winner will be announced on Bob’s blog on Tuesday, August 24th. Good Luck!

(A special Thank You to Debra Dalgleish, Microsoft Excel MVP and author of perhaps the best Excel website on the Internet at Contextures.com for helping to publicize this giveaway. If you haven’t already checked out her awesome site, I recommend you do so soon.)

About Robert Ryan

Robert F. Ryan, MBA, CPA, is an independent business consultant, educator, writer, and finance leader in a Fortune 50 multinational company. He has a passion for simplicity, quality, efficiency, and a unique ability to explain things to people, so they understand quickly and thoroughly. He's worked with spreadsheets extensively for almost thirty years, including VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, and Excel.
This entry was posted in Excel Giveaway. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A “Simple” Giveaway

  1. Michael Tisler says:

    Definitely Pivot Tables.

    Useful not only in reporting but also as a tool to summarise data before processing it more.

    Absolutely love it.

  2. Lu Clark says:

    Most valuable thing learned, Pivot tables.

    Most valuable thing shared, Pivot tables.

    Pivot tables rock!

  3. Bob Gannon says:

    Most valuable thing I have learned about Excel is the power of macros to automate repetitive tasks.

    The one thing that I have shared with others that they have valued the most is technique to make Waterfall Charts using a line chart, selecting up and down bars, and them making the lines invisible.

  4. Roger Govier says:

    Most Valuable Feature.

    Index / Match
    Index is a fantastic function. It’s very versatile and extremely efficient and produces fast results. It has the advantage of being non-volatile and provides a much more efficient solution than using Offset, in many situations.

    Coupled with Match, Index provides a much more flexible solution than Vlookup when trying to extract data from any table.

  5. Roger Govier says:

    Most Valuable thing in Excel shared with Others.

    Without doubt this has to be Pivot Tables – the hidden gem in Excel.
    Everyone who has been shown the power, flexibility and ease of analyzing their data without the use of any formulae, has always been amazed and wondered why they have never found it before.

  6. chip says:

    #1 thing I’ve learned–Pivot Tables.

    #1 thing I’ve taught others: MATCH and INDEX. We deal with a lot of lists and it has always worked better than the LOOKUPs. Combined with OFFSET we can get a lot done.

    Tempting to say the Macro language because I love it, but I’ll stick with the really productive things on a day-to-day basis vs. the fun development projects.

    Keyboard shortcuts are a given for me, having started with Lotus on DOS 2.0. 🙂

  7. Cecilia says:

    Most valuable thing I have learned about Excel is Macros writing/usage.

    Most Valuable thing in Excel shared with Others is by far Pivot Tables. ..

  8. Gerry Bakker says:

    The most valuable thing about Excel for me is array formulas, either the SUM(IF or SUMPRODUCT variety. Probably because I use them the most of any Excel feature.

    Keyboard shortcuts are a simple and fast thing to share with people. Things like select/delete using shift/ctrl/down arrow, ctrl/home, ctrl/page up or down most people don’t know about.

  9. Scott says:

    Most valuable thing learned: Easily macros
    Most valued thing shared: Pivottables

  10. Lela says:

    Pivot Tables, but I need lots more training. lol

  11. Kanti says:

    SUMPRODUCT, is the single most powerful/useful function that I have learnt and used.

    I have taught others how to customise the recorded macro and this set them free to use Macros

  12. Emile Davis says:

    Learned: named ranges using the OFFSET formula to create dynamic ranges. This allows automatic updating of the pivot data range. Great for appending or adding new records to a pivot data source. (PivotTables are high on my list too, but I wanted to give a shout-out to dynamic ranges).

    Shared: PivotTables. I’ve showed a previous supervisor how to do these, and his peers think he’s a genius now.

  13. Neil Wilson says:

    Most Valuable Thing: PivotTables without any doubt

    Most Shared Thing: Adding the “Generate GetPivotData” button on the toolbar, so you can reference into PivotTables like a normal cell.

  14. Ed Kavanaugh says:

    Most valuable I learned: I can learn whatever Excel can do, if I want to— using the wide spread Excel help boards, blogs and books.

    Most valuable thing I’ve shared: conditional formatting to manage data.

  15. Mark Cattrell says:

    Others have mentioned the index/match feature, which I too think is fantastic. I think my favorite moment of clarity in Excel was when I began to understand the power and flexibility of the sumproduct function, and how that can be used with arrays and booleans to identify data points, etc.

    The key feature that I’ve shared with others is probably a tie between VBA basics and the indirect function.

    Now if someone could really teach me to understand pivot tables I’d feel more like I belong…

  16. Fred Chidester Sr says:

    There are so many things which work for Excel. With each new version it just seems to grow on you. I think one of greatest things which I have done is to link Access with Excel. Access is great for data, but Excel has it numeric format. Tie that numerical data in with a Pivot Table or Tables, you can get the full picture right away. Once you get the feel for Pivot Tables you can do without creating number of formulas, which it only takes a minor move of a cell entry to completely throw everything out of kilter.
    I love it when my kids (51/50) say, “Hey pop where did you learn that move?” Then come the phone or E-mails with “Can we do this or that?” I’m self taught, so I follow Debbie site all the time. Just the other day I saw something – it took almost two hours to rebuild a workbook, but what a great idea – validation drop downs based on entry in one cell gives you a selection for the next cell, which then gave the discount and costs in the next two cells etc.

  17. Christine McManus says:

    Most valuable is the Offset function to create name ranges. I have may reports that I update and great to have the range more when I just add data on the bottom.

    The best Excel tip I shared was the vlookup function.

  18. Tony Huby says:

    Most valuable thing i have discovered about Excel, is that whatever you need to do, it probably can be done in Excel, and there will be at leate one person out there in Excel land will be happy to tell/show you how to do it.

  19. Bob Ryan says:

    Thank you everyone for some great answers! The Giveaway entry time has officially passed. I’ll use the RAND function in Excel to calculate all the winners and announce them tomorrow. I’ll also send an email to each winner. If possible, I’ll also prepare a video of the calculation (I’m on vacation using a new computer).

  20. Pingback: Pivot Table Macro and Excel Giveaway « Contextures Blog

  21. Rahim Zulfiqar Ali says:

    Some useful tips on Excel Pivot Tables:
    You can apply any formatting to the pivot tables. MS Excel has some very good pivot table formats (and they are better in Excel 2007 and 2010).

    You can easily change the pivot table summary formulas. Right click on pivot table and select “summarize data by” option.

    You can also apply conditional formatting on pivot tables although you may want to be a bit careful as pivot tables scale in size depending on the data.

    Whenever the original data from which pivot tables are constructed, just right click on the pivot table and select “Refresh Data” option.

    If you want to drill down on a particular summary value, just double click on it. Excel will create a new sheet with the data corresponding to that pivot report value. (This is extremely useful)

    Making a pivot chart from a pivot table is very simple. Just click on the pivot chart icon from tool bar or Options ribbon area and follow the wizard.

  22. Erika Miller says:

    Is it okay if we feature your site in our next email newsletter? It’s a perfect fit for a piece we’re doing and I think our audience would find some of the content on your site super useful.

    I know you’re probably busy, so just a simple yes or no would suffice.

    Many Thanks,

  23. Erika Miller says:

    I just wanted to followup on the request I submitted through your contact form a couple weeks ago. I pasted it below for your reference.

    Is it okay if we feature your site in our next email newsletter? It’s a perfect fit for a piece we’re doing and I think our audience would find some of the content on your site super useful.

    I know you’re probably busy, so just a simple yes or no would suffice.

    Many Thanks,

Leave a Reply