Friday, August 19, 2011

The Importance of the installed Printer in Windows

Ross, one of my clients was having a heck of a time trying to make sense of "CoInitialize" Automation  errors in VBA. It happened in VBA commands for Page Setup. He had enlisted professional help in uinstall and re-install of Office. I thought about it and wondered whether Excel was behaving like Word - the existence of a proper printer setup is vital for these programs that need to calculate Print Previews or even calculate document line width and page rendering when they work. He reported back that this was indeed the case.

Whether you are using the Windows machine for long term or for a short teaching stint or short development / testing gig, make sure you install at least one good printer driver. Sometimes a light weight driver like a free Acrobat driver isn't even good enough.

Using Custom Number Formats to Highlight Chart Axis | Chandoo.org - Learn Microsoft Excel Online

Hui via Chandoo.org has written a fun article on the creative use of Number formatting to create unique charts.

Using Custom Number Formats to Highlight Chart Axis | Chandoo.org - Learn Microsoft Excel Online

He's also previously written about Data Tables (no, not the new Tables feature in Excel 2010)


Thanks Hui and Chandoo for freely sharing....

Friday, August 5, 2011

The problem with Microsoft Excel Charts

To put it succintly, Microsoft Excel charts, either work or they don't. That makes it hard to train, particularly as the learning process with charts is non linear and the user interface is non linear as well, there are several entry points to display a menu and not all entry points are obvious. This is particularly maddening considering that Excel is such a comprehensively well thought out and planned program.

For example, if you have seen several series of data points on a chart and they are drawn on different vertical scales, you have to search Excel Help (well, now, it's actually Office Help) on "secondary vertical axis"

And although it's easy peasy to use your Excel cell cursor to highlight a chartable range and press F11, again, Excel maddeningly makes glaringly bad assumptions when your proposed X axis labels are numeric - Excel assumes they are another data series. Tip: Put a leading apostrophe on your proposed X axis labels to force Excel to treat them as X axis labels. Or go the painful way of Select Chart Area > Select Data