Newly added Power Query specific help forum at Excelguru

I'm honestly not sure what's taken me so long to do this, but I'm pleased to say that I've finally added a Power Query specific help forum at Excelguru.  I'm hoping that this forum becomes THE place to ask and answer Power Query (or Get and Transform) related questions for both Excel and Power BI desktop.  After all, we wrote the book, so it only makes sense that we try and host the Q&A on the topic.  🙂

Extra monitoring of the Power Query Specific help forum

As the forum gets up and running there are a couple of key people I've added for email notification as well.  The intent here is that we get notified when people post questions, and will try to focus on making sure that they get addressed and (hopefully) solved.  If you are a Power Query expert and would like to be included in that list, just email me or post on this thread.  I'll get you set up.  (Make sure you've signed up for an account on the site, as I'll need your user ID to do this.)

Naturally, if you've got a question pertaining to the topic posted on the blog, you can still ask it here.  If the question is a bit more general though, I'd encourage you to sign up at and post the question in the Power Query forum.

Re-focusing on the Power Technologies

While I was setting this up, I also took the time to set up forums specific forums for some of the other "Power" stack:

Hope to see you there!

Last Chance to register for Excel Summit South

Excel Summit South 2016

I’m only a few days away from my flight to New Zealand to kick off the first leg of Excel Summit South.  I’m really looking forward to it.  And if you’ve been sitting on the fence as to why you should attend… just ask Jeff Weir.  (Seriously, read his post, it’s awesome!)  But you need to act quick here, as it’s pretty much your last chance to register for Excel Summit South now.

What it’s all about

This will be a great opportunity to keep up with modeling practices, extend your analysis skills, and see what’s happening with Excel.  Full details about the Summit can be found at the Excel Summit South 2016 web page, but you can read about some of the high points below, or – did I mention that you should read Jeff Weir’s Why I’m going to Excel Summit South. (And why you should too) post on Daily Dose of Excel?

When and where is Excel Summit South?

The Summit will take place at these cities on the dates shown:

  • Auckland: Thurs-Fri 3-4 March (register by 28 February)
  • Sydney: Mon-Tues 7-8 March (register by 1 March)
  • Melbourne: Thurs-Fri 10-11 March (register by 6 March)

Last Chance to register for Excel Summit South - Discounts available!

As an additional incentive, we’ve arranged a last chance registration discount, but only up to the date above.  Simply REGISTER HERE and use the code LASTCHANCE to save 30% on your registration fees.

23 Excel Master Classes

With your registration, you can choose from 23 master class sessions over two days.  There are twin tracks for modelers and analysts alike, and you can jump between if you’d prefer to do so.

Modeling Track – Manage Spreadsheet Chaos, Testing Spreadsheets, Avoiding Common Errors, Modeling Best Practices, Simulation Analysis Without VBA, Power Pivot.

Analysis Track – Tables, Pivot Tables, Power Query, Data Visualization, Dashboards, Automating Excel.

The Who’s Who of Excel…

Learn from six (seven!) leading Excel MVPs as they discuss the Excel topics most useful to you.

Liam Bastick (AU), Zack Barresse (US), Bill “Mr Excel” Jelen (US), Ken Puls (CA), Jon Peltier (US), Charles Williams (UK), with a guest appearance by Ingeborg Hawighorst (NZ) in Auckland.

Hear industry leading speakers about Financial Modeling best practices, standards and spreadsheet risk.

Smita Baliga (PwC), Félienne Hermans (Delft U), Ian Bennett (PwC), Andrew Berkley (F1F9).

Interact with members of the Microsoft Excel Dev Team as you explore with them the future of Excel.

Ben Rampson and Carlos Otero from the Microsoft Excel product team.

Network and Interact

As if the classes weren’t enough, we’ll also have Panel Discussions, Ask The Experts sessions, Demonstrations of Commercial Excel Tools, and even an Evening Meet-up where you can ask your Excel questions over a beer.  (Full caveat… the quality of the answers may decline as the evening progresses!)

A shout out to our principal sponsor

PwCOur principal sponsor for this Summit is PwC Australia and PwC New Zealand.  We appreciate them coming on board to host this event!

Best of the Holiday Season

Hey folks,

Just a quick note here to let you know that the blog is closed this week.  (We’re taking a well deserved break to enjoy some family time, and hope you get the chance to do the same.)  But don’t worry, we’ll be back in January with more posts!

I also wanted to throw out a quick thank you to all of you who have been faithfully reading the blog on a weekly basis.  Your support means a great deal, especially since I took the plunge to go full time with Excelguru back in May.  It’s been a great year in that regard, as it’s given me the opportunity to build many things, including M is for Data Monkey.  Much of the material for this book was inspired by blog comments and email, and I feel fortunate to have been able to translate those into a book that is being so well received.


We wish you the very best of the holiday season, whichever you celebrate, wherever in the world you are.  See you in 2016!

Newsletter and blog updates

Today marked a new milestone for me, as I actually sent out a newsletter to everyone who has ever signed up at  I was little hesitant, but figured I'd give it a go and see how people reacted.

I actually got some really nice feedback from people, which was great, even asking how to get others to sign up.

To that end, I've added a newsletter signup button on my Facebook page at  And, since my blog theme was getting a bit stale, I've updated that as well, adding a link on the right hand side here.

I'm not totally sure I'm sold on the new theme, but let me know what you think.

A new article, a new site host, a Facebook contest, an old blog…

It's been crazy busy over here the past couple of weeks.  I've been hard at work creating 3 training videos for a client, (we shoot in Studio on Friday,) preparing for my next live course (this Saturday,) and trying to keep the forum posts all answered... among other things...

Excelguru has a new host

The biggest news, as far as the site is concerned though, is that we're running on a new host.  My former host kept sending me messages about the server usage, asking me to block users and shut things down, as I was too busy.  They suggested that, if I didn't want to do that, I should upgrade to their dedicated server plan.  I have to say I was a little shocked by that, especially when they told me it would move me from $4.95 per month to $164.95 per month.  While I love hosting the forums and site, that was a little much to swallow.

Instead, after some research and conversations with my friend Simon, I've moved the site to host with URLJet, a company that specializes in vBulletin and WordPress hosting.  They're more expensive than what I was paying, certainly, but what a difference in service.  I signed up and within 10 minutes they called me to talk through the migration scenarios.  The site migration was finished, tested and working within 4 hours, all done by them.  They reviewd it, made some performance tuning changes, and recommended a few for me to do too.  Very cool, and all done at no extra cost.  I have to say that so far I'm really pleased with them.

We've been running on URLJet for a week now, and the site seems more responsive and forum posts are picking up.  I'm not sure if that's coincidence (probably), but it's getting to the point where I could certainly use more people on the site.  So if you love Excel or just want to learn, we have posts that need answering!  🙂

The old blog is back!

As if moving my site and optimizing it for me weren't enough already, URLJet also fixed the WordPress blog that I've been locked out of for 1.5 years too!  While I was planning on using the vBulletin blog, WordPress is way more flexible, and I didn't want to lose all the old content so...

With this blog back live, I'm going to resume posting here.  I ported the two articles back from the vBulletin blog that were worth saving, so if you see those in your feed, just ignore them.  🙂

A new article

In celebration of the whole thing, I also created a nice new article on the site as well.  If you've ever been confused about how conditional formatting rules are applied in Excel 2007+, I've written up a VERY detailed, step by step article that will walk you through exactly what happens.  You can find that by clicking here.

Facebook contest

My facebook page at is creeping ever closer to 100 likes.  I'd really like to make that milestone, so I announced last week that I'd give away a copy of my Magic of PivotTables video course to the 100th like.

I have to admit that I was hoping I'd be there by now, but then I got the following comment from Rick Grantham on Twitter:

"guess I need to unlike your FB page so I can like it back at the right moment.  Maybe I shouldn't have told you that :)"

I had a good laugh there, but it did make me wonder... so I think I'll change the game up.  (All those of you who are already Facebook fans can thank Rick (@BIStrategyGuy) for this....)  Here's the new deal:

Be one of the first 100 likes on the xlguru page for a chance to win a free copy of my Magic of PivotTables video course!

Once I hit 100 likes, I'll draw a random name from the first 100 people, and then I'll send you a discount code to download a free copy.  It's just that easy.  🙂

See, now no reason to wait.  In fact, you might want to hurry, as there are 97 likes as I post this!  (But don't worry, this won't be the last one.)


Excel Events Calendar!

Hi everyone,

As per my last post, I recently set up a free public Excel Help Forum on my website. I'm pleased to say that over the past week and a bit we've attracted 50 new users, and now have over 40 threads with over 200 total posts on the site. Not bad for 10 days!

I've spent a lot of time configuring different options to try and make this forum as consumable as possible for people. In addition to the basic forum functionality, some of the modifications include:

  • Serious anti-spam solutions to keep the board all about questions and answers, without having to wade through garbage
  • Facebook integration, for those of you who like to tell your friends what you're doing 😉
  • RSS feeds, for those who like to keep up to date on the topics, and drop in when you see one that interests you
  • Tapatalk integration, for those who want to keep up with the site on a mobile device

And those are just the big ones. There's been a lot of tweaks under the hood to make the experience as optimal as possible, and a few others are coming soon.

The latest thing I've worked on is adding what I hope to be THE Excel Events Calendar on the internet…

I'd like to invite everyone to use the Calendar on the forum as a public Excel Events Calendar. If you have, or know of, an Excel event in your area, please post it for the world to see. I'd like to make this the most comprehensive Excel training calendar on the internet.

There are only 2 rules I'd like to attach to this at this point:

  • Put the location of the event in the title, if applicable. The goal is that people will be able to find events that they can attend in their own backyard, worldwide.
  • Only the date(s) of event should be posted. (I don't want a post each week reminding people.) If there is a registration cutoff date, please post it in the event information.

I think if everyone observes the above, the calendar should remain relevant and helpful to everyone.

Events I would expect to see include training courses (live or online), new book release dates, conferences that deal with subject matter relevant to the users on this site. (Be it BI, SQL, Sharepoint and more, so long as it has an Excel flavour, it counts.)

If you are a trainer, teacher, publisher, or whatever, I invite you to participate. Register for the site, if you're not already, and post your event to the Excel Event Calendar. The more up-to-date and accurate we can make this, the more our community can rely on this being the source to come to for training courses. The more that happens, the more likelihood you'll get signups. The more signups you get, the more likely you are to want to put on more training events, and the more the users win. It's a self-fulfilling cycle that is in all of our best interests.

Oh, and one final word on this to everyone. I am not doing this to solicit commissions, affiliate links or funding in any way. There is already enough advert links on the site. This is about people helping people in our Excel world.

New Excel Help Forums at

Hello everyone,

At the last MVP summit I had discussions with a couple of people about something that has been burning away in the back of my mind for quite some time... creating my own Excel forums.

I've been absent from the online forums for the last few years, and I've greatly missed it. With the amount of teaching I've done over the past few years I've constantly been referring people to other forums and blogs, and I've received several comments from those people asking about a forum on my own site. So during this time I've been musing it over, wondering if there is enough differentiation, or enough reason to take on the task of building and maintaining another forum out on the interweb.

Despite missing a few of my good friends at the last summit, it was one of the most exhilarating ones I've been too, for a variety of reasons. Some of it was technology based, of course, but there was some based on conversations with people that I never expected to have. The compounding of all of it together made me realize that I have been putting this off for too long, and that I actually needed to do it, to bring back the piece of me that I've put off for my job over the past few years.

To this end, I've begun the process of building another forum on the web, one that focuses on Excel and Excel users. I am hoping to grow it with the style of friendly community that was fostered at, but have the focus strictly on Excel users from start to finish, no matter the platform. There are forums there for Excel Client focused areas, Programming (VBA, .NET, XML, etc), PowerPivot and data needs, the recently released Excel WebApp and even Sharepoint. As I said, I want this to be a one stop portal for anything Excel related.

In addition to the Excel focused stuff, I've also added a simple section on the other Office apps. The reason for this is simple; every Excel user encounters the other Office apps, and runs into issues. I think it's important that we have a place to ask/answer those too.

Oh, and naturally there is a chat forum, as no forum would be complete without it.

The forums are, of course, completely free to use. Simply sign up for an account, and post your questions. You'll be notified immediately by email when someone replies, so you can jump right back to the forum and post further information if required, or see the solution that an expert has helped you build. You can even upload your own files to the forum so that people can see EXACTLY what you're trying to do. After all, a picture saves 1000 words, right?

And if you're an expert, or even if you'd just like to help, then post some answers! We love help, and encourage you to take part. Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that there is no better way to better your own skillset than by trying to help others. You won't always have perfect answers, but nor do we expect that. This is all about people helping people. The intentions are what is important.

You can find them at (The registration button is in the top right of the screen.) Or, if you'd prefer, you can jump straight to the Registration link to create your account.

I look forward to seeing you in the forums!

Updates to PDFCreator Articles

It's way long overdue, but I FINALLY updated some of the PDFCreator articles on my website. The updates include:

  • Better handling to shut down PDFCreator before the code starts running
  • Better methods to tell when the PDF has been created
  • Better closing methods that shut down PDFCreator completely after running

In my experience, these modifications have led to much more stable routines that run as expected, or at least let you know if they haven't. (I VERY rarely see that now.)

In addition, I also added a routine that allows printing specific worksheets in a file to a single PDF.

You can find the updates here:

Server moving Oct 5-8

I'm not sure how much effect this will have on my site, but my host is moving a server to a new data centre (different city) on Oct 5.

It's funny, actually.  TThey prefaced the email with a blurb on being careful not to change web pages, and then gave a HUGE amount of technical details on all of the different phases of the move.  What they failed to make clear, however, is if the server will be down at all, or if you'd lose any changes made from start to finish, or only during certain times.  A classic case of can't see the forrest for the trees.

At any rate, the move is supposed to be coplete in 3 days.  I probably won't post anything or make site changes during that three day period.  I'm hoping the site is up the whoel time, but we'll see.

One year blogging

So apparently today is the one year anniversary of my blog.  It's kind of hard to believe it's been that long in some ways, and in others I can't remember not having it...

According to my blog dashboard:

Blog Stats

There are currently 82 posts and 253 comments, contained within 12 categories.


Akismet has protected your site from 44,694 spam comments.

I have to say that my personal favourite spam comments are the ones that start with "Sorry :("  Seriously... is someone holding a gun to your head?  Give me a break!


According to Feedburner, I currently have 61 people subscribed to my blog via RSS as well.

Just for fun, here's a map from Google that shows where the majority of visitors come from and some other related stats:


I believe that the visits listed in the stats are unique visitors, not gross visitors.  It's the only way that I can explain that I had over 44,000 spam comments without the visits.  I'm fairly sure, based on the IP addresses in the spam queue, that I don't have people just sit here posting multiple spam comments.  They must return every so often to try again.

So happy birthday to the blog.  🙂