Excel Tutorial – Combine Multiple Text Columns Into a Single Column

Some of the attendees at my Excel Boot Camp trainings have been thrilled to find that there’s this nifty function, which can combine many text columns into a single column.

Let’s say you have a column with First Name, and a separate column for Last Name, and you want to combine them to form the full name. How would you do it?

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I have recorded a short video on how to achieve this, using 2 different methods. Check it out below:

Let me know if this works for you. And if you have any other method to achieve this, I’ll be glad to know it…

And check out my other Microsoft Excel Tips & Tricks videos on YouTube.

Cheers,
Vinai

Simple Functions in Excel – Video

Most beginners to Microsoft Excel are not aware how easy it is to use some simple functions.

I have recorded a detailed, step by step video, which shows how to use the Sum, Count, Average, Minimum and Maximum functions in Excel, to add, count numbers.

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Do let me know if this helps you in using Microsoft Excel. The techniques applied here are same for Excel 2003, Excel 2007, Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, so it does not matter which version you are using.

And check out my other Microsoft Excel Tips & Tricks videos on YouTube.

Cheers,
Vinai Prakash

Difference Between 2 Dates, Without the Weekends

It has always been possible in Microsoft Excel to find the difference between 2 dates. And there are hordes of other date and time functions in Excel, some of which I wrote earlier about.

Today, let us look at a recently added function in Microsoft Excel, which can help you find the difference between any 2 dates, and this function works beautifully, even if your weekend does not fall on a Saturday/Sunday.

For example, recently I was in Cairo, Egypt to conduct Corporate Training, and found out that their weekends fall on Friday and Saturday.

The regular function that I used earlier – NetworkDays() –  is good at finding the days between any 2 dates, but it assumes that the weekend is on Saturday/Sunday.

Fortunately, Microsoft has added an International Function in Excel, which helps to work this out and makes it fairly easy.

The function is NETWORKDAYS.INTL().

It takes 4 arguments – Start_date, End_date, Weekend & Holidays. The last 2 are optional, but that is where the function shines and differs from the Networkdays() function.

The weekend argument can take one of these several values, and when you type the formula, this helpful guide pops up.

As you can see, you can easily select any single day or two consecutive days as your weekends.

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For Egypt and Dubai, their weekend of Friday, and Saturday has the value of 7.

Thus, I choose the following function:

=NETWORKDAYS.INTL(“1-Sep-2012”, “31-Sep-2012”,7)

and promptly got the result as 21, which is the number of working days in this period, excluding Fridays & Saturdays.

If you only use =NETWORKDAYS(“1-Sep-2012”, “31-Sep-2012”)

you will get the answer as 20 days, which is based on the Saturday/Sunday weekends.

So there you are. Have your cake and eat it too! You can check out these functions in the difference-between-dates Excel file, which you can use to practice and test out these functions.

Hope you enjoyed this Excel Tip. If you would like some more tips, simply subscribe to the ExcelChamp Tips Newsletter here.

Cheers,
Vinai Prakash
Founder of ExcelChamp.Net – A community for Excel Tips & Tricks

Using Date & Time Functions in Excel

There are many in-built Excel Functions that can help you in working with Dates and Time. It can assist you in showing today’s date, the current time, and represent dates as Months, Years, and even calculate difference in 2 dates.

1. Getting Today’s Date

In the cell where you want to display today’s date, key in the following formula:
=TODAY()

Depending on your PC’s Regional Settings (Setable in Control Panel), you will get today’s date displayed in MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY format.

The problem will this approach is that every the Excel file is re-calculated, the date will change and display the latest day’s date.

If you wish to only display today’s date, but do not want it to change in the future, there’s a little known shortcut to do this. Go to the cell where you want to get today’s date, and simply press Ctrl + ;

2. Getting Today’s Date & Time

In you want the date and time, both to be displayed, more like a time stamp, use the following formula:
=NOW()

It will display as 24/7/2012 12:33

If you only want the time, like a time stamp, and do not want the time to ever change, then simply press the following keys: Ctrl + Shift + ;

And if you want to display both the date and time stamp in a single cell, combine the 2 functions

Select a cell and press CTRL+; then press the SPACE BAR to add a space, and  then CTRL+SHIFT+;

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3. Get the Number of Days in between 2 Dates in Excel

To get the difference in 2 dates, you can simply subtract them, like:

=B6 – A6

If you only want the Weekdays, excluding Sundays, you can use a hidden Excel gem – Networkdays function.

=NETWORKDAYS(A1, A2)

It will calculate the difference between A1 and A2, without counting the Sunday.

4. Get the Month of a Date

To get the Month, displayed as a number – for example: July will be 7.

=MONTH( TODAY() ) will give you a 7 in July.

= MONTH(A1)

5. Getting only the Year of a Date

If you wish to extract the YYYY portion of a date, simply say:

=YEAR(A1)

For 31-July of the Year 2012, it will yield 2012.

As you can see, Excel’s in-built Date and Time Functions are really useful, and handy. Do master them, and you will save a lot of time.

Cheers,

Creating a Two Axis Chart in Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2016, Excel 2016 & Microsoft Office 365

Up to Microsoft Excel 2003, there was a in-built Custom Chart Type called the 2-Axis Chart. This was a pretty useful chart type, in which I used to display very small numbers and very large numbers – all on the same chart. You can see in this chart below, the numbers on the Primary Y Axis on the left are from 0 to 16. The numbers on the Secondary Y Axis (on the right side of the chart), are from 20,000 to 180,000.

2 Axis Chart in Microsoft Excel

But this 2 Axis chart type magically disappeared from Excel 2007, Excel 2010 & even Excel 2013. So today, I will show you how to create a 2 Axis chart in any version of Excel – whether you are still using Microsoft Excel 2007 or Microsoft 2010, or the latest Excel 2016, 2019 or Office 365 (Cloud version of Microsoft Office).

What is a 2 Axis Chart?

The default Bar Chart or a Column chart of Excel has One X Axis (The Horizontal side), and One Y Axis (represented Vertically). This is generally useful most of the time.

However, once in a while, when you want to display 2 different sets of numbers in the same chart, and one set of numbers (Quantity) comprises of very small numbers, and the other set of numbers (Sales figures) are very large –  in Thousands.

If you plot a normal Column chart, the Sales figures are so high that the bars are quite long, and the scale is set in Thousands. So the Quantity figures are too small to be even seen in the Column Chart.

A 2 Axis chart is slightly different from a normal, standard Column Chart.

The 2 Axis Column Chart uses TWO Y Axis in the same chart. The one on the Left of the chart is used to display one scale (Small Numbers), and another Y Axis is added on the Right Side, which represents the (Large Numbers) in Thousands.

In this way, both small numbers and very large numbers are seen in the same chart – using both the Primary Axis and the Secondary Axis.

However, do note that the Columns of the Chart will overlap each other, and it will be difficult to see one set of values. To overcome this situation, we convert one of the bars into a Line Chart.

In this way, even if the scale is different, both axis can be seen clearly, and a useful 2 Axis chart is created easily in Microsoft Excel.

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How To Make a 2 Axis Chart in Excel 2007 to Excel 2013

If you wish to make a 2 Axis Chart in Microsoft Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 or Excel 2013,  just follow this  fairly simple process:

1. Select the Data to be plotted. You can use this Example Worksheet to practice creating the 2 Axis Chart.
2. Click Insert > Column > 2-D Column Chart. You will get a normal Bar Chart in Excel.
3. Click on one of the bar charts. The entire series gets selected.
4. Right Click, and select Format Data Series.
5. From the Format Data Series Popup Menu, Choose Secondary Axis.
6. You will see that the selected data series has moved to the Secondary Axis.
7. Format the chart to your liking.

You can have a beautiful looking chart, displaying data on 2 axis – the Y axis is listed on both sides. And it hardly takes a minute to build… Enjoy!

How To Make a 2 Axis Chart in Excel 2016, Excel 2019 or Microsoft Office 365

For the newer versions of Microsoft Excel, the steps are slightly different.

STEP 1: Select the Data to be plotted in the chart.  You can use this Example Worksheet to practice creating the 2 Axis Chart.

STEP 2: Click on Insert > Recommended Charts. Choose the second Tab in the popup, All Charts.

STEP 3: Go to the bottom of the Chart List, and select the Combo Chart.

A combo chart is created. We can’t see both quantity and Sales, as the sales figures are too high. So we need to modify this.

STEP 4: What we really want is to move Sales on the Secondary Axis. So check the checkbox  next to the Quantity.

Sales moves to the secondary axis, and is visible.

You can see that Quantity Sold is in Columns (showing as vertical bars), and Sales is displayed in a Line Chart.

STEP 6: Now simply add an appropriate Chart Title.

Your 2 Axis Chart in Excel is ready for Microsoft 365. The same technique works for Excel 2016 & Excel 2019 also.