Excel Users and Managers...

Here's the Secret Way to Slash

Your Excel Errors & Scutwork,

& Be More Agile with Excel!

Scutwork consists of tasks that are tedious, monotonous, trivial, and menial. I spent more than 30 years trapped in Excel scutwork!

Here's how I escaped...

My name is Charley Kyd. I've used spreadsheets with business and economic data since 1979. 

I was an Excel MVP for ten years. I've written five books, dozens of magazine articles, and nearly a thousand online articles about spreadsheets. I invented Excel dashboards in 1992. 

But even so...
I spent most of my working years trapped in time-wasting, mind-numbing, tedious, error-prone Excel SCUTWORK!
So if you have that problem, it's definitely not your fault. Nearly all business users of Excel have the problem—no matter how much they know about Excel!
For decades, I spent LONG days and nights manually copying, and pasting, and sorting, and formatting, and error-searching, and updating, and revising my Excel work—SLOWLY churning out new and updated reports, forecasts, analyses, etc.

During most of those years, I searched for methods I could use to escape my life of Excel scutwork, reduce my production time, and finally become massively productive with Excel! 

But with NO success.

Here's why I was trapped in scutwork...

During those years of research, I bought and read many books about spreadsheets. 

I now have about 14 feet of them on my office bookshelves. And some of them are excellent books about how to understand and use Excel's tools.

But none of the books offer any help in how to become truly PRODUCTIVE in Excel

Nor do the articles and training I found online offer any help—and I wrote many of those articles myself!

When the topic is Excel productivity, those sources teach mostly keyboard shortcuts, a topic that offers only trivial help in being truly productive in Excel!
And then I had my ah-ha moment! I FINALLY realized the truth about all those Excel books, articles, and training:
Becoming an expert about drills, hammers, and saws NEVER could teach me how to build a house!

That is, learning ONLY about Excel's tools will teach us NOTHING about how to USE them to achieve our goals! And therefore, mere knowledge about those tools...

 NEVER will make us HIGHLY productive with Excel.

 NEVER could be used productively—unless we use them on top of a productive foundation!
And THAT meant I'd have to develop my own foundational strategy for becoming massively productive in Excel!

It Took Me 30 Years, but FINALLY...

I Found the ONLY Possible Way
To Become Ultra-Productive in Excel! 

Overview:

My Excel Productivity System flows our data like the water in our kitchen.

When we turn a faucet, water flows from a distant source, through pipes and reservoirs, and then to our drinking glass.

And when we issue an Excel command, data flows from a distant data source, through data “pipes” and Excel Tables, and then to our Excel work.

Here are three common reporting practices that destroy Excel productivity:
Entering values in cells, rather than using formulas to return values from tables.

Interacting with Excel's Ribbon.

Editing our Excel work to update it.
This flowchart shows how we Excel users can turn our reporting, forecasting, analysis, and other Excel work into a REPEATABLE PROCESS.

That is, we no longer need to "hand-carve" each report. We can update it with one commandwithout using VBA—time after time, after time!

Best practice is to use Excel FORMULAS to flow our data from Tables—usually maintained by Power Query—to our Excel work. 

Worst practice is any Excel method that blocks or ignores that flowing data—like entering values in cells instead of using formulas. 

Here's my complete system for Excel ultra-productivity, in four simple steps:

Step 1:

Connect Power Query (PQ) to any of three types of data sources.

1. Internal Data—In your ERP, Data Warehouse, CRM, etc. (This is where most information systems stop.)

2. External Data—About key industry trends, FX rates, competitors, commodity prices, interest rates, recessions, benchmarks, stock markets, leading indicators, regional economic trends, inflation rates, tax rates, weather events, customer demographics by region, wars, etc.

3. Local (Workbook) Data—Like natural signs of all GL Accounts, managers' names, DCF discount rates, short labels for reports in relevant spoken languages, named groups of GL accounts or SKUs, average financial ratios, sales conversion rates, dates of weather disasters and Covid lockdowns, planned price changes, averages and standard deviations for use in modeling, etc.
PQ queries can clean and shape your data, then flow it to Excel Tables in your workbooks—with ONE COMMAND.

And that ONE command can return to your workbook the data from any number of tables from all THREE sources of data! 

In fact, some or all of your Local Data can be maintained centrally and be used by all productive Excel users in your company! For example, the department that sets up new GL accounts could be responsible for adding those new GL accounts to named groups of accounts for everyone to use.  

In short, you can use any combination of all that data in one report, forecast, analysis, etc.—even in one cell of a report!

Step 2:

Add Excel names, formulas, pivots, and slicers to your workbook.

For reporting, forecasting, modeling, and analysis, Power Query—by itself—isn't much better than a CSV file opened in Excel.

To use that data productively, you must connect your reports and analyses to your PQ Tables, using formulas to transform, filter, sort, smooth, aggregate, and interact with it. Not with manual editing. And not with VBA.

Using manual editing—or most VBA methods—to update your reports destroys Excel productivity and agility!

You'll set up formula-filled Staging Tables for charts and for some tables in your reports—so that you easily can use sliders and dropdown list boxes to modify your formulas, settings, and filters.
With static and dynamic range names set up—along with formulas, pivots, and slicers—your data can flow easily and interactively from your Tables to your charts, dashboards, analyses, forecasts, and other Excel work.

This is why you can update your Excel work with the ONE COMMAND that refreshes Power Query!

Step 3:

Set up your reports, forecasts, analyses, and Error Alerts.

Your dashboard reports, and some tables, will rely on Staging Tables to transform and organize your data for presentation. 

Most of your tabular reports and analyses will directly reference the Tables that PQ maintains.

Your Error-Alerting System's calculations will rely on data found throughout your workbook.
After you complete Step 3, you'll be able to update your dashboards, charts, analyses, forecasts, Error Alerting System, etc.—time after time, after time—with ONE COMMAND!

Step 4:

Use templates and interactivity to improve your Excel agility and reduce errors.

The templates you save after Step 1 allow you to start your new Excel work with error-free queries already written.

The templates you save after Step 2 also contain your interactive pivots, slicers, formulas, and staging tables already set up.

The templates you save after Step 3 also contain your full reports, which you can transform quickly—by changing the data that PQ imports, and by tweaking your formulas, labels, settings, and layouts.
You save templates after each step of the Productivity System, and correct or replace them when you find errors.

By doing so, you not only start new reports with your work more than half done, you start with Excel work that's nearly error-free—and with your Error Alerting System already set up.

Error Control:

Five reasons my Productivity System SLASHES Excel errors:

1. The Error Alerting System: When you find an error in your Excel work, you take three steps:

(1) Correct the error in your workbook.

(2) Add a test to your workbook's Error Alerting System to alert you to other errors like that in the future. (Determining what "like that" means for a new error can be a challenge, of course!)

(3) Correct your workbook's template—and all other workbooks that used the template—in a similar way

By following these steps methodically, you'll eventually ratchet down to zero the errors  that other people see in your Excel work—with the exception that I mention at the right.

2. No-Edit Updating: Because you'll refresh your data without editing your workbooks, you deny yourself the opportunity to add new errors to your workbooks! 

3. Consistent Account Definitions: Specifically, what GL accounts in your company define Net Sales? Other Assets? Free Cash Flow? Are all Excel users in your company using exactly the same definition? Are you certain? You can ensure that your productive users do so when you all use named account groups for summarized accounts.

4. Templates: By starting your new Excel work with proven templates, you start with fewer errors.

5. Long Experience Curves. By your using no-edit updating, and Excel templates, your workbooks have a much longer life than normal—which lets you ratchet your errors down to zero!

Excel is known for having many errors, which occur for one main reason:

Because most Excel users create new reports from scratch and edit them to update them, most reports are like commercial software's beta phase of production—which typically contains many bugs. From that perspective, typical Excel work has amazingly FEW bugs!

However, by using error alerts, saved templates, no-edit updating, named groups of accounts, and so on, you set up long experience curves for your Excel work. 

Strictly speaking, experience curves show how that every time production doubles, unit costs fall by about the same fixed percentage. 

The same idea applies to error rates for repeatable processes. The longer a workbook has been updated and distributed in error-controlled workbooks, hidden errors will be discovered and eliminated—and none will be added—so that you eventually ratchet your workbook's remaining errors down to zero...

...with one exception.

Dirty source data—like duplicate, incomplete, outdated, and incorrect data—might be impossible for you to prevent. But you should set up your Error Alerting System to warn you about such errors before you distribute your reports, analyses, and so on.

That warning doesn't automatically fix the problem. But it certainly gives you the opportunity to fix it before you distribute your Excel work!
So what? Why should you
care about Excel productivity?
Whether you work as an Excel user, or you manage Excel users, here are ways that MASSIVE Excel productivity can bring massive benefits to you and your company...
 Excel Users...
  • Higher Pay: If you were ultra-productive in Excel, you could do the work of several Excel users when you work with data in Excel. So your salary should increase—perhaps by a lot.
  • Education Leveraging: Have you become an Excel clerk with an expensive education? (I felt that way for decades!) With extra time, and data exploration, you could use your professional knowledge and experience to discover new insights in company data.
  • Professional Training: Are you getting the professional training you need? Do you even have the time for training? Or time to apply the training you do receive? Achieving ultra-high Excel productivity can give you that time.
  • ​Job Hunting: Are you looking for a way to stand out from the crowd? Being one of the most productive Excel users in the world—and being able to prove it—is a rare distinction.
  • Personal Life: Does your job take too much time away from your friends and family? Being massively productive in Excel can give you the time to also have a personal life.
  • Burn-Out: Are you tired of endless deadlines and long hours of mentally exhaustive Excel work—just to produce results that you're not proud of? Your high levels of Excel productively could make your job fun and interesting again! And professionally valuable.
 Excel Managers...
  • Agile Results. With the extensive use of Power Query, Excel templates, and interactive workbooks, your Excel users can create and transform your reports and analyses more quickly and easily than ever before.
  • ​More Insightful Results: You and other managers need quick insight from the Excel work you receive. Your productive Excel users will have the time and skills to give you what you need, in the format you need it.
  • Fewer Errors: Productive Excel users generate significantly fewer errors, as I've explained.
  • Business Challenges: Invasions, inflation, sanctions, pandemics, shutdowns, energy shortages, recessions, snarled supply chains, shipping delays, rising interest rates, labor shortages, market disruptors, cash flow issues, obsolescent products, changing regulations, higher taxes, and more—all bring challenges to your customers, your planning, and your bottom line.

    You can't manage these issues alone. You need the brains, time, knowledge, and creativity of your Excel users to help. Productive Excel users have the time and energy to USE their brains!
  • Labor Shortages: If you're short of good Excel users, that problem would be less severe if your current users were more productive. And if they're paid for their demonstrated new levels of high productivity, they'll likely stick around longer
A Few Examples...

Productive Excel Work
Gives You Time to Create
Professional Excel Work!

The following examples are from Excel. I created all of them—except Example 1, which I found online. (If you created that example, don't feel bad. I've created much worse reports in my career, but not recently.)

I'm showing examples 2 through 8 to give you an idea of the kinds of charts and reports that you can create in Excel and update with one command—time after time, after time—once you're productive. 

Most of my own examples use data from a source that quickly should become your close friend: FRED, the Federal Reserve Economic Database. With more than 800,000 data series, it's the largest source of free U.S. and International economic data in the world. 

I'll explain why FRED should become your close friend in a few minutes.

Example 1:

In 1973, in my first job in business, I programmed a PDP-8 computer to print cruddy reports like this. 

This type of "report" isn't a real report at all. It's reference material. It's documentation. It's essentially raw data.

My thought at the time was that because I had no idea what my managers needed—and I was afraid to ask—I'd give them the data and let them figure it out. 

Today, that decision still embarrasses me!

Don't make the mistake I did. Even if you think you know what information your managers want, ask them anyway! Frequently! 

Once you're productive in Excel, you'll have the TIME to give managers what they want—while still getting your other work done!

Be sure to ask your managers why they need the information. The more you know about what drives their information needs, the more proactive you can be. You'll be able to give them useful information they didn't know was available, or didn't think to ask for.

In short, managers need your professional knowledge and creativity to reveal key insights—not row after row of raw data, as in this "report."
Business magazines and newspapers know a LOT about how to display business data in a way that keeps their readers interested and informed. Have you ever seen a figure like this in one of those publications?

Are reports like this fun to create? Do they provide the business insight that your busy managers need? Are reports like this professionally interesting? Would you show a mind-numbing report like this in a job interview? 

If not, why give dreck like this to your current managers—unless they specifically ask for it? 
Our job as Excel users is to make life EASIER for our managers!
So give your managers clear and reliable insight quickly—while also doing your other work.

That should delight your managers and put your career on steroids!

Example 2:

The data for this report is from the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) by industry, which is data available from FRED.

The top slicer lets us choose the industry to report. And the slicer below it lets us choose the four GL accounts to display in the charts.

In the expanded area below the charts, the two GL account numbers and the named group, gg.EBITDA, control the first three columns of results to the right of the Acct column.

The Sign column contains a formula that looks up the natural sign of each account in your workbook, and returns +1 for Debits and -1 for Credits. And then the number formatting displays Dr or Cr for those values.

Formulas also look up the labels for each account.

In the column of values, I entered one formula and copied it down to the other two value cells. That one formula returns the value defined by each account, or by the name of a group of accounts—and also displays the proper sign.

This report updates with one command, of course.
If your company has several divisions, one slicer could determine which division to display—just as this figure reports different industries. 

And if you define groups of specific division codes, you could report any group of accounts, for any group of divisions, for any group of dates, and so on—but only if you have Excel 365, 2021, or above.

Example 3:

This is the same report as Example 2, but it illustrates two more Excel abilities you need to know about.

First, this figure shows the bottom stage of a slicer cascade. In the first stage, two slicers (not shown) give us the ability to choose a moderate amount of data to download from a large database. And the two slicers shown here allow you to interact with that downloaded data. 

Second, because only two accounts were selected in the bottom slicer, the other two chart figures disappeared entirely—without using macros. Sure, conditional formatting could have hidden the blue title bars. But as you see here, another method also made the two unused chart figures disappear entirely—and automatically.

Of course, if you choose one or two more accounts in the bottom slicer—as in Example 2—their chart figures will reappear in the report—quickly and automatically.
The advantage of setting up a slicer cascade is that it takes less time to download a moderate amount of data. And you can interact with that data very quickly.

However, it does take more work with Power Query to set up—which is another benefit of saving Excel templates. With templates, we can reuse our work as often as we want.

Example 4:

As a general rule, try to make Excel charts look like they did NOT come from Excel—like this one and the next one.

This simple Excel chart figure uses several methods to provide greater insight for its readers. 

One method is to add context to your charts. Here, the skinny gray column in each chart indicates the United States' two-month Covid recession. And the contrast between the two charts adds additional context.

Another way to add insight is to transform your data in meaningful ways. In the second chart, for example, I calculated each line's percent of the total, and then plotted the index for that measure from six years earlier. That transformation offers insight about how the two lines relate—insight that the first chart doesn't offer.

Because I created this figure from a template, it only took about fifteen minutes to set up. And it updates with one command, of course.
In your company, suppose that the red and blue lines show sales for your top-two products. If you transformed their data as in the second chart, what might you learn?

Perhaps a lot.

But if you learn nothing, there's no harm done. Because you can be so productive in Excel, you typically can afford the few minutes you need to look for new insights by viewing old data in new ways.

Example 5:

This dashboard tracks the prices of 21 key U.S. energy products over the past five years.

The dashboard uses two sets of slicers that control how each chart's staging table calculates the values that its chart plots.

Have you ever used slicers to control the calculations that a chart displays? It's a powerful way to explore data by applying many different transformations, merely by clicking on a button in a slicer!

The top slicer allows us to choose the number of years over which the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is calculated. For this figure, I chose one year, but I could have chosen as many as four years with the slicer.

The bottom slicer allows us to choose the number of months over which the Centered Moving Average (CMA) smooths its data. Here, I smoothed the data over three months.

Small charts like this provide great context, because we can quickly compare one trend to many others. This lets us ask why one line is falling while related trends in other charts are rising. 

Also, for more context, the narrow, dark-red columns show the periods of presidential transitions, and the light gray column in each chart indicates the Covid recession. 

The report updates with one command, of course.
In your company, a dashboard like this could show key measures for any department. Or, with a third slicer, it show the key measures for each of any number of departments. 

Or, the dashboard could show your sales by country or U.S. state—perhaps in the context of a key measure of the economic health of each region. And that could help you to find useful outliers.

For example, suppose you notice that sales are doing well in a region that's in a deep recession. So you call the regional manager to learn what she's doing right. With luck, she's made changes that could help other regions improve their own sales.

But without that economic context, you might never have discovered that one region—among many regions—which has had surprising success during troubled times.
It's crucial to follow trends! Good trends are paths to success. Bad trends are paths to failure. That's why dashboards with trends are so useful. Dashboards are a portfolio of potential results for managers to seek or avoid.

Example 6:

When our reports are extremely agile, everyone benefits. 

Managers benefit from that agility because they easily can follow the measures that currently are the most useful to them. 

And we Excel users benefit because we can give managers just the information they want—in just a few seconds.

Here, for example, the worksheet tracks the inflation of 20 food products and several broader measures of inflation—from 175 total measures available. And then, if you were to click Potatoes in the list box for Figure 1, the entire figure would change to show data for potatoes.

This type of agility would be impossible to add with most Excel reports, but it's easy to do when your Excel plumbing is set up correctly. 

From an Excel perspective, the dropdown list box is merely a data validation list. 

And the dashboard updates with one command, of course.
In your company, you could use a design like this to follow trends in spending for key Expense Accounts, for the sales of key product lines or SKUs, for the scrap rates of your manufactured products, and so on. 

And then, as conditions change, you could take a few seconds to change the items that your dashboard displays.

More generally, this agility is possible because all time-series data looks about the same to Excel. So we merely set up our workbooks to take advantage of that fact.

Example 7:

Lists of top-ten and bottom-ten measures frequently can alert your managers to problems and opportunities in your data.

This figure, for example, shows the food items that had the highest rates of inflation in November 2021. 

From an Excel perspective, this table uses formulas to calculate the inflation rate for each item, and then sorts the products by those inflation rates automatically—each time we refresh the data.

Notice that the table's three columns of data don't match up with the columns of the underlying worksheet. In fact, you easily could set up the identical table with a worksheet that has any number of columns of any width.

And, of course, it can be updated with one command.
In your company, tables like this could rank items by nearly any measure that you or your managers could imagine—and that you could calculate. 

If you can calculate a measure for each of multiple items, you can sort those measures with formulas—in any version of Excel—and then display them somewhat like this.

Example 8:

These three reports illustrate several unusual Excel designs that I had fun with. (That's right! I'm having FUN with Excel again!)

The first page uses artificial data to show simple financial statements—along with key company trends—in a one-page financial report. 

When you examine the three tables on the left side of that report, you'll see that none of their columns line up. That's possible to do because I used the same trick here that I did for the table in Example 7.

The middle page is based on the format shown below the pages, a format from Clayton M. Christensen's article, "Graphic Indicators of Operations," published in the Harvard Business Review in November 1980.

Christensen, you might remember, wrote The Innovator's Dilemma and many other books about business disruptors.

The last page is my version of the classical DuPont Chart, which shows—from a financial perspective—how Microsoft achieved a Return On Equity of 43.2% in FY 2021.

The workbook relies on named groups of accounts to define each value in the report. So, for example, I calculated its EBIT with one formula, which references a Table with months of financial data by account.

I also used a slicer to choose from among several companies.
In your company, if you decide to create a version of Christensen's Key Indicator Management (KIM) report, I would NOT plot the fiscal year as he did here. (He was only 28 when he wrote the article.)

Instead, I'd plot the most-recent 12 months of performance for each of the past 13 months. That would provide a much clearer picture of how your measures are trending. And the chart would be seasonality-free.

Creating your own DuPont Chart might be difficult for you because of the dozens of summary values you'll need to calculate. 

However, if you set up named groups of accounts (as I suggested in Example 2) you could sum the values for any group of accounts by using one simple formula. 
Want to Implement This Productive System?

You Can Become One of the Most Productive Excel Users in the World
And Be Able to Prove It!

Here's How to Implement
The Excel Productivity System
You truly can become one of the most productive and agile Excel users in the world—when you work with data in Excel.

When I introduced Version 1 of my Excel Productivity System in 2018, it took me 30 lessons to teach it! That’s WAY too long! So I’ve boiled down the essential elements of this system into an intense, 4-week course: Excel Productivity Secrets.

Here's what the training covers:

Week 1: Power Query

Training in Week 1 covers Power Query (PQ). You'll learn the key features you'll need when you import data into your Excel reports and analyses. Among other things in this lesson, you'll learn...
  • How to import data from CSV files, text files, workbooks, company databases, and the Web—into one workbook, with one command.
  • How to import economic data from FRED—the largest source of free economic data in the world—so your managers can view company performance in the context of recessions, inflation, industry trends, the health of local economies, etc.
  • ​How to create a custom PQ function to read PQ settings from cells in your worksheet—like the settings in the Control Sheet on the right—so you can change your PQ queries by changing values of settings in cells, or with Excel formulas, or with slicers.
  • How to pivot and unpivot data so you can switch the shape of your data—like the example on the right—from a CSV-like layout to a typical budgeting layout, and back again.
  • How to append PQ data, which is like stacking similar Excel Tables one above the other, so you can—among other reasons—consolidate any number of budgets or forecasts into a tall, skinny table for reporting and analysis.
  • ​​​How to group PQ data, as shown on the right, to summarize values in tables by division, date, SKU, GL account, etc.—so you can summarize transaction files, or long tables by any fields you want.​​​
  • ​How to merge PQ data, which is like using Excel lookup functions, so you can create tables that have just the labels and other meta data you need in Excel. 
  • How to save templates of workbooks so you can use your completed and time-proven queries in new reports—any time you want.
The framework of what you'll learn in Week 1.
An example of the settings that PQ can reference in its queries.
An example of pivoting and unpivoting budget data.
An example of grouping transactions or daily summaries into a monthly summary. 

Week 2: Formulas & Functions

Training in Week 2 covers how to flow data to your staging tables, and how to transform data for your reports—by using Excel formulas. Some of what you'll learn includes...
  • ​How to use key functions for aggregating data in Excel—including how to debug their formulas, and how to use them with wildcards. By learning these functions well, you'll find it much faster and easier to report and analyze your data. 
  • ​​​​​How to set up multidimensional lookup formulas. The Table at the right illustrates the idea of multidimensional lookups—which is another example of the power we can bring to our staging tables.
  • ​How to use dozens of functions like we use the SUMIFS function, which allows you to specify the criteria for the data you sum. Your SUMIFS-like functions can include COUNTA, CORREL, FORECAST, STDEV, MEDIAN, XNPV, TREND, RANK, etc.

    So, for example, you could use CORREL to correlate every GL account in an Excel Table with your Sales account—for any division, department, and date range you specify with a slicer. And THAT, for example, could help you to identify supposed "fixed" costs that act more like variable costs—by department and division. 
  • How to set up Dynamic Slicers, which can work with Dynamic Array functions—like SORT and FILTER—a feature that most Excel gurus would say is impossible!

    I call them Dynamic Slicers because as your Dynamic Arrays change items in a list, your slicer automatically updates so you can choose one of the items in the transformed list. You can see an example of them on the right.

    Also notice that the slicers contain the choices for [All East] and [All West], which are labels not included in the Lists.
  • How to set up common data transformations in your staging tables—transformations like Annual Rate of Change, Rolling 12 Months, Exponential Smoothing, Centered Moving Average Smoothing, Index Value, Date Shifting, Conditional Chart Plotting, etc. By doing so, you can explore different patterns in your data interactively, which means that you're more likely to find problems and opportunities in your data—insights you otherwise would have missed. 
  • You'll also learn how to use...
    ●  Three types of dynamic range names.
    ●  Aggregation methods in Excel 2021 and 365.
    ●  Easy ways to manage nested IF functions.
    ●  How to debug SUMIFS, AVERAGEIFS, etc.
    ●  And more!
The framework of what you'll learn in Week 2
With multidimensional lookup formulas, you can look up the Manager for the Hats product in the West region. We can't do that sort of thing easily with normal lookup functions.
On the left, when cell B1 contains the name of the East division, East's departments appear in the List range and in the slicer. And the slicer's selected item is returned to cell B3. 

On the right, when the West name is in cell B1, we get West's departments and selection instead—automatically.

That is, unlike typical slicers, this slicer system works DYNAMICALLY!

Weeks 3 & 4: Reports, Etc.

Training in Weeks 3 & 4 covers reports, charts, dashboards, forecasts, and so on, including...
  • ​How to set up and use Named Groups of GL accountsso you can write SUMIFS formulas that use names of account aggregations, like NetIncome, TotalAssets, EBIT, and so on. Using Named Groups can reduce your work, the clutter in your workbook, and the errors that other methods of reporting subtotals can bring. 
  • How to design your Excel work—so it can look professional and easy to read, or at least, it can look not-ugly. To do that, you'll need to know something about fonts, color palettes, and color blindness. You'll need to know how to use both of Excel's color models, how to synchronize charts, and a lot more. 
  • How to set up Data Validation Lists to change what each figure in a dashboard displays—as shown in the pop-out area in the dashboard at the above right. In about thee seconds, this feature lets you change the measure that a figure reports—a response time that keeps your busy managers happy!
  • How to create Excel dashboards, perhaps like the three at the right. Dashboards can have many forms and features. The green and the blue dashboards both frame the report with shaded areas that contain slicers and labels. And the slicers control which dates, regions, and products are displayed in the report area. But the data plumbing is very similar in each workbook.
  • ​How to create professional-quality Excel charts that update with one command. You'll learn a few easy methods to make your charts look MUCH more professional. And your charts can update with one command, of course.
  • ​How to use Excel’s little-used feature that offers the only way to create tabular reports—like financial reports—where the columns of one report don't match up with the columns in the report below it.
  • How to edit groups of worksheets in your Excel dashboards. Each chart in a dashboard needs a staging table. Suppose you have 20 charts. Should you use one staging table in one worksheet for all 20 charts? Or one staging table in each of 20 sheets? If you put them in 20 sheets—which usually is best—you'll need to know how to edit them all, in one group, at one time.
  • ​​​How to set up forecasts and backcasts—as you can see in the chart at the right. We can expect the next few years to bring many economic surprises. So being able to easily "backcast" or "backtest" your forecasts will allow you to evaluate, and perhaps improve your forecasting methods.
  • ​​​​​​​​How to set up the Error-Alerting System—as you can see in the red image at the right. When you discover a new error in your Excel work, best practice is to add a test for that general type of error to the Error Alerting System in your workbook and templates. That way, you'll ratchet down the errors in your current workbook and in all future reports and analyses that you create from your updated templates.
  • ​How to structure your dashboard workbooks so you can avoid the problem of Monster Workbooks. For example, each of the dashboard workbooks at the above right contains a large amount of data. If those workbooks didn't have a logical structure, data could reside anywhere in the supporting worksheets, in massive amounts. But because of their simple, consistent structure, you'll understand the purpose of each supporting worksheet, even when you view these workbooks for the first time.
The framework of what you'll learn in Weeks 3 and 4
I designed these dashboards to be viewed on a computer. Other dashboards could be printed on legal paper, or on standard paper in landscape or portrait views.
Use backcasts to test your forecasting methods.
When the Error-Alerting System discovers an error, it can turn your report solid red like this, and give you a message. The system also tells you where your error exists, so you won't need to search for hidden errors throughout your workbook.

In Short...

By the end of these four lessons, you'll know how to...
  • Import your data into a workbook—with one command.
  • Flow your data to staging tables and other areas of your workbook, where you can sort, filter, and transform it automatically, with formulas.
  • Display your results in professional-quality reports, analyses, forecasts, and other Excel work.
  • Slash your Excel errors.
  • Capture your Excel work in key Excel templates.
...All so that you'll be among the most-productive Excel users in the world.

But for your personal success, you'll need something more. You'll need to be able to PROVE your new Excel skills.

Here's How to Prove
Your High Level of Excel Productivity

When you finish your Productivity training—and you start to use what you've learned—you'll soon be one of the most-productive Excel users in the world.

So how will you be able to prove your new Excel skills to clients, managers, and employers?

I could send you a certificate of completion, but you probably can buy any cert you want online—without actually learning anything new. Your managers and potential employers probably know this, so a cert won’t impress them very much.
Employers want to know you can create VALUE. So, just how can you DEMONSTRATE your ability to do that with Excel?

The most effective way I can think of is to create your own portfolio of Excel reports, analyses, forecasts, and so on—using real, public data. In a meeting with a manager, employer, or client, you could show how you can update your reports with one command from the Web or from your laptop's hard drive. You also can show that you can create new reports quickly, using templates.

Or, if you don't have a laptop with you, you could show off some printed reports from your Excel Productivity Portfolio.

In these uncertain times, companies need agile, productive Excel users who can give them useful insight. Show them you can satisfy those needs, and you'll be ahead of most other Excel users. 

To be clear, I DON’T want you to promote MY reports as yours. That wouldn’t be fair to you or to the people you show your reports to. That wouldn’t be fair to you, because these methods need to be part of your professional toolkit, and you won’t learn them unless you use them.
Showing examples of your own portfolio offers several significant advantages:
  • By showing public data rather than artificial data, you can show data that might actually interest your audience. For example, in a retail company you could show public data of interest to retailers. Or, during a recession or high inflation, you could show how related industries have been affected by those problems.
  • You can show data by using Excel reports and analyses that are easy for them to consume—perhaps for the first time ever!
  • The reports and analyses in your portfolio give you the opportunity to talk about the SUBSTANCE of the data—from your professional perspective. By discussing external data in the context of a company's business needs, you'll give yourself the opportunity to show that you’re MORE than merely an Excel guru.
That's why FRED should become one of your best friends. FRED currently offers 816,000 U.S. and international time series from 107 sources—and its data is all FREE!

Whether you're in Finance, Marketing, Personnel, Operations, or whatever, you'll probably find data in FRED that applies to your area of expertise, your industry, and your geographic region. 

This is why I use FRED examples so frequently in your training.
I've occasionally wondered whether sending postcards to hiring managers or potential clients—with printed examples on them somewhat like this, along with a brief message—would yield good employment results. Trying the experiment would be low-cost and low-risk.
FRED—the Federal Reserve Economic Database—is the largest source of free U.S. and International economic data in the world. 

FRED offers more than 800,000 daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual data series from more than 100 sources.

You can download any of its data with one command
Internal data tells you what happened. External data—including FRED data—gives you CONTEXT that can help you to understand WHY it happened, what might happen NEXT, and possibly, what you can DO about it.

That's Not All You're Getting

You Also Get Seven Bonuses

"What ELSE do Excel users need to become ultra-productive in Excel? And be able to prove it?"

That's what I kept asking myself when I was working on this training for you. So I'm giving you seven bonuses that I think will help you.

However, I don't want to overwhelm you with freebies. So after you get them, use what interests you and dig into the other bonuses later.

Bonus 1:

Your Excel Productivity Mastermind 
To become one of the most productive Excel users on the planet, you’re going to have questions. That’s why I’ve set up the Excel Productivity Mastermind private Facebook group.

Not only will you be able to ask and answer Excel questions, you’ll be able to get feedback on your reports of public data, and perhaps suggest additional sources of public data that might be useful to other users in the mastermind.

I intend for this private mastermind group to become the most influential source in the world for productive business users of data with Excel.
Years ago, my calculus instructor said that he never completely learned one quarter of calculus until he took the next quarter. And he didn’t learn the last quarter of calculus until he started to teach it. 

That is, you’ll learn a lot by answering questions from other Productivity students!

Bonus 2:

Your Excel Financial Dashboard
What else do you need to be successful? How about a financial Excel dashboard?

You do need current examples. And you'll get more in the following bonuses. But even though I first created this report in 2007, I decided to add it to your bonuses. 

Here's why:

First, its two pages of reports show you how to mix tables and charts on the same page. You’ll learn how to do this in Week 3 of your training, but this example will show it to you from another perspective.

Second, when I created this report, I set it up with 10 charts, rather than three. But managers had no idea what to track in ALL those charts I gave them—which is a problem you might have, as well. 

So I set up this version with three charts. But very soon, managers thought of more measures they wanted to add to the report. You'll also find the ten-chart version in this workbook.

Third, I thought you might be interested in seeing how much my report “plumbing” has changed since 2007. Back then, the design I used was wildly popular because it saved Excel users so much time—when compared to the methods they had used previously. 

But today—compared to my current methods—this workbook will show the type of plumbing NOT to use!

You never should copy this dashboard workbook entirely, because its plumbing is so primitive. But you definitely need to understand how I set up this report page. 

The reason is simple: It shows that you have MUCH more flexibility than you might think in how you design the Report pages for your Excel work.

Bonus 3:

A Quick-Updating Chart with Two Patterns
You're going to want to show your productive Excel work to others. And when you so, you'll want to have at least a few examples that update very quickly.

This chart, which I showed you earlier, updates from FRED in about two seconds (on my computer), because it uses only four data series.

Also, you should look at the calculations that accounted for the differences between the two charts. Looking for hidden patterns in your data is something you can do quickly with your productive workbooks—which is something else to mention when you demonstrate your Excel work.

In short, when you want to demonstrate your ultra-high Excel productivity, a workbook like this could be very useful.
Another reason I'm including this and the next chart is that several simple charting methods can make your Excel charts look much more professional. 

I'll cover those key methods in Weeks 3 and 4, but you'll understand some of them by exploring these two charts.

Bonus 4:

The World's Major Economies in One Chart
You really need to understand this workbook! 

Not only does it have a Power Query query you'll use frequently, it demonstrates two important business issues that the senior managers in your company should know about—if your company's revenues or your customers' revenues are affected by recessions.

First, when we talk about recessions in the US, we rely on how the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines them. But the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—with help from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis—defines recessions for 39 countries, including the U.S.

But the OECD defines them more loosely than the NBER does, and that's good news for us Excel users in the U.S.!

To see what I mean, the light blue columns in the Recession chart mark five US "recessions." But the US has had only three NBER-type recessions in the past 20 years, not five. The other two "recessions" shown here are non-recessionary downturns

That idea might be new to you, but if your company's revenues tend to fall during recessions, their annual rate of change (ROC) probably fell during the downturns shown in this chart. And that non-recessionary downturn helps to explain the reason for your falling growth rates!

Second, the line shows the percentage of reporting OECD countries that were not in recession each month over the past twenty years. If your company sells internationally, or if you sell to companies that sell internationally, that measure could explain much about trends in your company's past sales.

Also, this workbook includes the NBER's recession data, as well—a measure that goes back to 1845! But because dates prior to 1900 are a problem for Excel, I added a setting to this workbook, one that filters out all data prior to a given date. You'll learn how to set up that query in Week 1, but this workbook shows it in practice.
This chart aggregates 39 data series from the Web in about 7 seconds—nearly six series per second on my computer!

Aside from what the chart could indicate about the international business climate, it also suggests another type of analysis that you might experiment with. That is, set up a chart that shows the monthly COUNT of key internal data, like...
  • The Number of Purchased Items that have increased in cost each month, year-over-year.
  • The Number of Operating Expense Accounts that have exceeded their budget in the month, or that have an annual rate of change (ROC) in excess of some value.
  • The Number of Total Customers and/or New Customers by month, or the ROC for those measures.
  • ​The Number of Shoppers per retail location, followed by a chart with the average sales amount per shopper.
  • ​The Number of Voluntary Employee Separations by month, followed by a chart with the median pay for those former employees, followed by a chart of voluntary separations as a percentage of total employees each month.
  • ​And so on.
Once you have easy access to your data—and can update your Excel work with one command—you'll have TIME to explore measures like this!
We can't yet upload management information directly to our managers' brains. But a screen full of simple line charts showing trends in data that managers understand is our next best option. It gives managers insight at a glance.

Bonus 5:

A Working Excel Dashboard
Excel dashboards offer a powerful way to give your managers a massive amount of easy-to-read information on one screen or printed page.

This dashboard tracks U.S. energy inflation, and some measures of production, for the most common energy products. Those measures of production tend to explain the energy prices. 

If you copy the workbook and change the Power Query query to return data for your department codes or GL Accounts, you could adapt the dashboard to your company's needs.

If your managers don't want so much information, you can make the charts larger and show fewer of them—as in Bonus 2.

In Excel, we can use two types of tables. One is an Excel Table and the other isn't. The table you see here is the other kind. It's NOT an Excel Table. You'll learn how and why to set up this table in Excel during Week 4's training.

This bonus also comes with instructions for using the dashboard as a tracker of energy inflation.
This is a table in Excel, NOT an Excel Table—although it looks like one. 

We sometimes need a table like this so we can get around key limitations of Excel Tables.

Bonus 6:

Your Treasure House of FRED Data Series IDs
For you to be successful in creating your Productive Portfolio, you'll need to have easy access to public data. And FRED provides so much data that it's difficult to get your mind around it at first.

That's why I've set up these five workbooks with a total of 18,862 FRED data IDs, titles, and other information for you. You can search these workbooks for specific data that interests you, then copy FRED's data IDs to a template, and download their data quickly:

FRED-1-Recessions.xlsx - This workbook includes the IDs for recession data from both the OECD and the NBER. It includes IDs for 39 countries and for groups of countries. For example, you'll find recession indicators for the Four Big European Countries, NAFTA Area, and Major 5 Asia, among other groups of countries.

FRED-2-FX-Rates.xlsx - This workbook includes trends in daily US foreign exchange (FX) rates for 26 countries, and monthly FX trends for 64 countries. 

(Some rates have the U.S. Dollar in the numerator and some in the denominator. In Week 4, I'll show you how to set up your workbook so that the formulas in your reports can treat them all the same.)

FRED-3-OECD-Leading-Indicators.xlsx - This workbook contains OECD leading indicators for 39 countries, and for groups like Major Five Asia and NAFTA. In total, there are 448 combinations of leading indicators and countries. For example, the workbook contains the data series for the monthly index of the GDP for 38 countries. 
➤ ​FRED-4-State-Data.xlsx - Much of the data you report in your company probably consists of several measures by department, division, or some other organization. The FRED-3-OECD workbook could provide some of that data, and this workbook can supply a lot more. It contains more than 10,000 monthly and weekly data series by state. 

Also, if your company's sales are affected by the health of the local economy, this workbook gives you easy access to a massive amount of data that you could use as leading indicators of your revenues by state.

➤ ​FRED-5-PPI-by-Commodity.xlsx - As I write this, inflation is rising rapidly, with no end in site. So to help your company track the costs that affect it the most, this workbook contains the Producer Price Index (PPI) for more than 7,000 commodities.
Here are the columns of data that the workbooks contain—but I won't bore you with the details. Except for this...

Most of the titles of the data consist of multiple levels of aggregation, separated by colons, like this: "A:B:C:D" To make it easier to work with this data, I've included a formula that lets you return the item number you specify. So, for example, the formula allows you to return "C" from "A:B:C:D" by specifying item 3.

Bonus 7:

Training Supplements
I keep coming up with new ideas for how to display data in Excel. But I can't keep updating my training every few weeks to include those new ideas. 

That's why I've decided to give you training supplements in the months ahead as I develop new ways to report and analyze data. I'll probably distribute the training from the Mastermind (Bonus 1) Facebook group, by email, or both.

Here are two recent examples that I need to write up...

First: The price of gasoline continues to rise, far above the currently available government data, as reported by FRED. So I recently found an online source with the near-real-time price of crude oil, gasoline, and other commodities—a source from which I can download, using Power Query. 

Then, I opened a new workbook from the daily version of my Quick Download Template, which I'll tell you about in a minute or two. I modified its staging table so I could chart both the historical price from FRED and the current price from the online source, all in one trend-line. Essentially, this approach let me simulate conditional formatting of line-chart segments, because Excel charts don't offer real conditional formatting.

Of course, the chart can be updated with one command, day after day, after day.

Second: It occurred to me that if I could find a way for PQ to save those near-real-time commodity prices each day, I could return a trendline with more-accurate results for the points between the current price and the last-available historical price. This is called an Incremental Load or an Incremental Update. It's something that PQ in Excel wasn't designed to do. But after playing around with the problem, I found simple a way to set up the query.

What I've not done yet is to set up an old computer in my office with a simple macro to query those new results every day at the same time. When that's done, I'll be able to use Power Query to import the results from my old computer, with one command.

(Old computers are great for tasks like this! They sit in a corner, slowly gathering and analyzing data for faster computers to use interactively.)

Today, you might not need to use incremental loads or conditional formatting of line-chart segments, but when you know that such things are possible, and you have supplements that explain how to do it, you'll be a much more productive Excel user.

So let me recap what you're going to get...

  • First, you get... Excel Productivity Secrets, to make you one of the most-productive Excel users in the world. 
  • Second, you get...  A one-year subscription to my Excel Productivity Mastermind.
  • Third, you get...  My Excel Financial Dashboard, with two pages that combine charts and tables.
  • ​Fourth, you get...  My Quick-Updating Chart with Two Patterns, which updates in two seconds.
  • ​Fifth, you get...  My Worldwide Recession Chart, with recession history for 41 OECD members.
  • Sixth, you get...  My Inflation Tracker for U.S. Energy, with 21 measures controlled by 2 slicers.
  • Seventh, you get...  My Treasure House of FRED Data Series IDs, a workbook with a total of 18,862 FRED IDs to help you find just the data you need for your portfolio.
  • Eighth, you get...My Training Supplements, as I come up with new ways to use Excel to report and analyze data. 
  • ​Plus a Whole Bunch More...

All to help you become one of the most-productive Excel users in the world,
and be able to PROVE it!

The first time I offered Excel productivity training, I charged $179 per month for 30 months, which came to $5,370.

And when I help clients to set up an Excel Productivity System in their company, I charge at least $10,000.

But I'm not going to charge you $10,000 for this training, or even $5,370.

But IF I DID charge you $5,370...
If ALL This Did Was...
  • Make you one of the most-productive Excel users in the world, and help you to PROVE it to your current and future employers, or to your clients...
  • Give you the ability to create interesting and useful Excel work that you're proud of...
  • Leave you more time for your friends and family so you can have a personal life...

...Would It Be Worth $5,370?

(Of course it would!)
According to PayScale.com, the average salary in the U.S. for Excel users is more than $60,000 per year. If you could double or triple your Excel productivity, that certainly would increase your salary by more than $5,370—which you would earn year after year, after year, along with additional raises.

That's because Excel productivity training isn't a cost. It's not something you buy, and then sits there and depreciates over time...

It Becomes an Investment that GROWS...
...Year After Year, After Year!

But don't worry.

You're not going to pay a $10,000 minimum that I charge companies to do it for them...
Because I literally give you EVERYTHING
you need
to be able to do this on your own
So you can see why this would be an AMAZING deal if I did charge $5,370 for it…

But TODAY, because I need your help, I want to make you a very, very special offer!

Something that was such a "no brainer" that you'd have to go say "YES!"...

Something that was SO good, and inexpensive…

...that you get started right now!

So, I've decided to reduce my earlier price by more than $5,000. That is...
I’m Going to Give You Access to
EVERYTHING We Talked About
Today For Just
One Payment
Of $359
PayScale.com tells us that the average salary in the U.S. for an employee with Excel skills is more than $60,000 per year, which is about $30 per hour. 

Managers: If your Excel users could improve their productivity by only 100%—which is an EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE estimate—that's like hiring another experienced Excel user, permanently, for a single payment of $359—saving you roughly $60,000 per year. And that part-timer would already know what your data means, where to find it, and what information you and your other managers need! 

Excel Users: The new Excel skills you'll acquire in the next four weeks should justify a significant increase in your pay—after you begin to use those skills in your job. But suppose your raise was only $2.00 an hour, which would be about $347 per month. That raise, plus the price of lunch, would pay for this course in only one month! After a year, you'd be about $4,000 ahead.

I want you to understand something…
  • I've transformed my $5,370 course considerably. I kept the original core content, added new content you need to know, and made the course more intensive.
  • I added many bonuses, including the Excel Productivity Mastermind private Facebook group—the only group on the Web designed for productive Excel users to learn from each other.
  • I slashed the price of the course significantly. And then I slashed it AGAIN.
Here's why I slashed the price AGAIN: This is the first time I've offered this new, intensive version of productivity training. And I want you, as a Productivity Secrets founding member, to be VERY happy with it—even though you'll probably discover typos or other glitches, which I want you tell me about. 

And I'm hoping—in spite of the typos—that you'll send me your testimonial for Excel Productivity Secrets when you're done with your training.

Then, very soon, I'll start to advertise this course, and I'll raise its price to about twice what you'll pay.
Right now, you have two choices...
Option #1: Do Nothing.
You learned some good stuff today. (The four-step strategy took me years to develop.) But you know that you're not going to become productive in Excel unless you implement those steps. And that could take you years of trial and error. 

So your first option is to do nothing, to remain trapped in your Excel scutwork, and to not take this leap of faith—which, by the way, is 100% risk free...
Or...
Option #2: Just Give It a Shot!
Just pony up this tiny investment today—compared to all the value you'll get in return—and see if it's going to work for you and your company.

I have a philosophy that says if I can't make you a more valuable Excel user, I don't deserve your business, and I'll give you your money back.

And because of that, I have a 30-day money back guarantee
Here’s How My Guarantee Works…
If, for any reason at all, you decide it’s not for you—I don't care if it's 29 days, 23 hours, and 59 minutes from today—just let me know and I'll give you your money back.

But I don't want you to make that decision TODAY. Make that decision 30 days from now.

All you need to decide today is:
"Do I Think This Might Work for Me?"

Then play with the Inflation Tracker for U.S. Energy. Press Ctrl + Alt + F5 to update it.

Play with its slicers to see how different CAGRs affect the inflation rates, and how different numbers for CMA smoothing months affect your view of the charts' trends.

The same changes would apply to your own data—except CAGR would apply to the growth rate of your measures, not inflation.

Update the Bonus #3 chart workbook and see how quickly it refreshes. Compare its sheets A & B—which contain the staging tables for the two charts—to see how the calculations differ.

Start to study the Week 1 lesson. And start to create your own Power Query queries.

Sign up for the Facebook group, Excel Productivity Mastermind, and introduce yourself to the other members.

And experience EVERYTHING we're doing! And then, at the end of 30 days, decide if it's worth it for you.

If it's not, no problem... I'll give you your money back.

But if it IS worth your investment, then in 30 days, your first PRODUCTIVE reports could be DONE! And you could have added some GREAT examples to your Excel PORTFOLIO!

So the REAL question for you is this…

“Is it worth gambling a few minutes of your time to check this out?”

Even if it only does HALF of what I've claimed, it will nearly pay for itself as soon as your very first productive report is LIVE!
But, I've Got One More
Thing For You!
I want to give a SPECIAL BONUS for those of you who are ready to get started RIGHT NOW...
Two of My
Personal Templates
When I use my own templates, I want to be as productive as possible. And because I'm always looking at different kinds of data in different ways, I set up most of my templates to allow me to download and display the data quickly.

And then, if the data looks interesting, I decide how to present it from there.

So here are two of my favorite templates:
My Quarterly Financial Report & Template...
My Quarterly Financial Report contains more than 20 years of financial data for 52 industries and industry groupings, as compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Your company's industry or your customers' industries likely are included in that data.

My template for this report is my favorite new template. And it will be a work in progress for months, as I find the time.
I designed the report and template to return data you can use for benchmarking, forecasting, strategic planning, and for other Excel work. For example, you could analyze industries that your company cares about. You could track trends in the growth rate of their revenues, their key financial ratios, and their cash flows. 

How have each industry's revenues and profits responded to recessions and downturns since 2000? How long did it take them to recover after those downturns? What's the long-term trend in their profitability? 

How do those values compare to your own company's performance?

Do you find good news or bad news in your analysis? In either case, you might ask your managers how they interpret it. Would your results offer useful context for internal reports?

From an Excel perspective, this template also is a working example of how cascading slicers can work with your company's data

In either case, this template will allow you to download any of the data you want, and keep it updated—with one command.

To download the data, you just select the industries and accounts you want in these slicers in the DL (download) worksheet...
...and press Ctrl + Alt + F5 to download the data you requested. 

And then, go to the Report sheet in the report workbook, or to my ugly Stubs sheet in the template workbook...
...where you have sample formulas and slicers for working with the downloaded data. That way, you can set up a new report page of any kind, and then just copy and paste most of the formulas you need.

Yes, this page of mine is ugly, but it's only for my own use—and now it's also for your use!
My Quick-Download Template
In Bonus 6, I'm giving you my Treasure House of FRED Data Series IDs. But when you find IDs that interest you, how do you check them out?

One way, of course, is to click the hyperlink for any Series ID, which takes you to FRED's chart of the data. 

Another way is to use this template to experiment with. (It's the template I mentioned in description of Bonus 7.) The template can generate quick displays, like these:
Here, I copied several IDs from Bonus 6 and pasted them to the Meta table in my Quick-Download Template. I also added two price indexes that measure inflation.

I clicked Ctrl + Alt + F5 to download the datasets to my workbook, using Power Query. Because Pivot Tables refresh before Power Query does, I used that command one more time to update the Pivot Tables with the new data. (The Cascading Slicers method that you'll learn about eliminates the need to refresh your data twice.)

Next, in the Calculation slicer, I clicked Rate of Change, which transformed the chart from its index to the annual rate of change of its index—which shows its rate of inflation, in this case. The unit of measure, just below each chart's title, explains what kind of results we're looking at.
Of course, I can use the Measure slicer to choose the data I want to see, which displays it almost instantly. After you can use Power Query to load your company's data into a workbook like this, you'll be able to work interactively like this with trends in your company's data.
Here’s Everything You’ll Get…

I'm Giving You Everything I Can Think of
To Make You Ultra-Productive in Excel,
So You Can...

  • Become one of the most-productive Excel users in the world, and be able to PROVE it to your current and future employers.
  • Produce more interesting and useful Excel work in your career—work you're PROUD of.
  • Spend more time with your friends and family—so you can have a personal life.
  • ​And probably boost your income.

To Achieve Those Goals, You Need Six Elements:

1. Your Productivity System
You need a logical system—a strategy—for flowing your source data to your reports, analyses, forecasts, and other Excel work. I've already given you the only practical strategy possible:
Step 1: Connect Power Query to any of three types of data sources: internal, external, and local.

Step 2: Add Excel names, formulas, pivots, slicers, and staging tables to your workbook.

Step 3: Set up your reports, forecasts, analyses, and error-checking.

Step 4: Set up templates to create your new Excel work quickly and accurately.
2. Your Implementation Training
Your Excel Productivity Secrets training will teach you how to create your productive Excel system in four intensive lessons:
Lesson 1: How to set up Power Query to import data from nearly any source into your workbooks.

Lesson 2: How to use names, formulas, pivots, and slicers to flow data within your workbook.

Lessons 3 & 4: How to create Excel reports and charts that update with one command, that delight your managers, and that you can be proud of.
3. Your Excel Examples and Templates
No matter how clearly a process is explained, most of us still need concrete examples to see how it all works. That's why I created these examples and templates for you:
  • ​The Inflation Tracker for U.S. Energy, which shows you how a complete Excel dashboard works.
  • ​The Excel Financial Dashboard, with two pages that combine charts and tables.
  • The Quick-Updating Chart with Two Patterns, which updates in about two seconds.
  • The Worldwide Recession Chart, with recession history for 39 OECD members, which shows you how to track recessions for the world's largest economies.
  • ​​The Quick-Download Template, which you can use for any monthly data from FRED.
  • ​The Quarterly Financial Report and its ugly template, with 52 industries and groups of industries, which also illustrates how to set up slicer cascades.
4. The Excel Productivity Mastermind
To my knowledge, the Excel Productivity Mastermind is the only community of Excel users on Earth who are dedicated to becoming ultra-productive in Excel. This is where you can...
  • Ask or answer questions about becoming more productive with Excel.
  • ​Get feedback on examples of your Excel work—using public data, of course!
  • ​Search for new ways to improve your Excel portfolio.
  • Share successes and discoveries related to Excel.
  • Get training supplements as I develop new solutions.
Managers, are you looking for ultra-productive Excel users? This would be an excellent place to start your search!
5. Help with Your Excel Portfolio
Once you've become one of the most productive Excel users in the world, you'll want to be able to prove it—without revealing company-private data. That's why this training gives you...
  • The secret URL pattern that lets you use Power Query to download data from more than 800,000 U.S. and International economic time series maintained by the Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED)—the largest free source of U.S. and International economic data in the world.
  • ​The Treasure House of FRED Data Series IDs about recessions, foreign exchange rates, leading economic indicators from the OECD, economic indicators by state, and more than 7,000 measures from the Producer Price Index. You can copy any of these IDs, paste them to your Excel workbooks, and then refresh the data—daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly—with one command.
  • Suggestions for your portfolio at the end of each lesson. 
  • ​The Excel Productivity Mastermind, where you can get feedback and brainstorm portfolio ideas with other productive users from around the world.
I’m Going to Give You Access to
EVERYTHING We Talked About
Today For Just
One Payment
Of $359
Click the button below to get INSTANT access—RIGHT NOW—
to the "Excel Productivity Secrets" Masterclass
From here, you're just a few clicks away from instant access to the training, examples, and strategies you need, so you can become one of the most-productive Excel users in the world—starting RIGHT NOW!

Click on the big blue button to get Excel Productivity Secrets, and everything that comes with it, so we can get to work making you one of the most productive Excel users on Earth!

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Be productive in Excel! 

Charley Kyd

P.S. 30 days from now, you can be sitting exactly where you are now—or on a crazy wild ride, transforming your Excel work, building your Excel portfolio, and making an IMPACT on your career, your company, and your personal life. Your choice.

P.S.S. This training will change your life. This decision is about YOU. And your career. And the incredible new life that you'll have created for you and your family. It all starts today!
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