Excel: Validate!

DataValidationdropdown

When building my Social Media spreadsheet, I want to enter my subject keywords and trigger keywords consistently. Minor typos can make it difficult to find all the relevant posts and worse; prevent scheduled posts, tweets and pins from being published on time. This is why I find the Data Validation feature in Excel so useful. As you can see in the picture above, once Data Validation is in action, my data entry is restricted to a preset list of options.

Data Validation Ribbon
Find the Data Validation tool on the Data ribbon

Since Excel 2007, the Data Validation tool has been on the Data Ribbon. Simply select the cells you want to apply Data Validation to and press the Data Validation button and select Data Validation. Then the Data Validation Settings dialogue box will appear.

Data Validation Settings
Data Validation Settings

To keep the active sheet “clean”, I use a named range on another sheet as my data source (I’ve talked about that previously). Here you can see it’s called PostTypes. But you can enter short lists directly into the Source box:

Data Validation Settings
Data Validation Settings

However, I find in the long run (especially for long lists) keeping the list source on another sheet makes maintenance easier.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Concatenation for the Social Nation

Girl with laptop and manic grin
Concatenation results
Excel Concatenation formula results

As I’ve worked more with scheduling posts, tweets and pins, I’m trying to make the most of the Subject line used by Google Calendar.

Google Calendar Subject line
Google Calendar Subject line

I’ve found that if I combine a meaningful keyword describing the post(or tweet, or pin) plus the phrase that triggers the IFTTT action, then managing the scheduled posts once they are uploaded into Google Calendar is a bit easier. It also makes it easier when I’m filtering and managing the spreadsheet too.

In my spreadsheet I use a separate column each for subject keyword and for subject trigger phrases (actually I’m paring those down to keywords too). But I want them joined together to create the actual subjects. To do this, I use the Excel CONCATENATION function. Which is most simply represented by the & symbol. In the example at the beginning of the post you can see the formula:

=B103& ” ” &C103

In this case I’m using the & symbol to join the values of cells B103 and C103 together with the string ” ” in the middle to create a nice space between words. This allows the subject phrase to be created automatically once I’ve selected the subject and trigger keywords.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Looking Good in Facebook

Chalkboard with hands giving thumbs up gesture and the phrase We Like It! in background
Controlling the layout of a wordy Facebook post
Controlling the layout of a wordy Facebook post

You can see the above is a pretty long Facebook post. To force line breaks when posting to Facebook use the html tag: <BR>

To force line returns inside an Excel cell use the Alt+Enter shortcut. This way your Excel layout looks like your Facebook post.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Adding time

Hands on a laptop keyboard
Adding Time
Automatically adding 30 minutes to the Start Time

In my Social Media spreadsheet I want to add 30 minutes to the starting time for the post. Why 30 minutes? That’s the default scheduling time in Google Calendar.

To do this, I use the TIME function. The TIME function has 3 arguments; hour, minute and seconds – all three arguments are required. So my formula would look something like this:

=F2+TIME(0,30,0)

So, I’m adding 30 minutes to the value from cell F2. Easy!


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Animated GIFs and Video for Social Media Using PowerPoint

Exported PowerPoint Image

The latest version of PowerPoint allows you to export your presentation as an animated GIF. Animated GIFs are great for catching the eye on social media.

Redcliff Library Board Member Promotion - as an animated GIF
Redcliff Library Board Member Promotion – as an animated GIF

There are of course, lots of animated GIF sofware packages available, many are free. But none are as useful as PowerPoint when it comes to incorporating imagery that you already have on hand. Remember to keep the size of the file down, as Twitter limits animated GIF size to 5MB.

If you want a little more room or sound, remember that you can export your PowerPoint presentation as a video in mp4 format.

You notice some differences between the video and GIF versions of this little social media piece. This is to optimize file size for the animated GIF.

The beauty of creating this in PowerPoint is that it is easily accessible for updating by the client.


Like what you see? Drop me a line, and lets’ make something fantastic for your next social media promotion. A reusable something fantastic!


Music:

Path Of The Fireflies by AERØHEAD | https://soundcloud.com/aerohead

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

Excel: Find the Weekend

In a previous post I showed how I entered a column of repeating dates when building my Social Media spreadsheet. The next thing I like to do, is colour code those dates so that I can see at a glance when the weekend dates are. For this I use the WEEKDAY function in Excel.

Weekday Function Example

Point the WEEKDAY function at a date and it will return a number from 1 thru 7 indicating what day of the week the date is. In this case the formula reads =weekday(A2,2)

The 2 in the above formula is the return type, and here indicates that the week starts on Monday. This means that Saturday and Sunday will return values of 6 & 7.

This is perfect for using with conditional formatting.

If I plug the following formula into the conditional formatting dialog box
=(WEEKDAY(A2,2))>5

I am testing for values above 5, namely the weekend. So I can use this to put a colour fill in those dates so that they stand out.

Weekday function with Conditional Formatting

Obviously, the Results column isn’t needed because the formula is actually residing in the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box.

This is the second post discussing using Conditional formatting with a Social Media spreadsheet. Check out this previous post for another example of using conditional formatting.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Sequential Dates in Multiples

The Fill Series Dialog

When I’m setting up my Social Media spreadsheet in Excel, I like to limit the number of scheduled Facebook entries per day. Over time, I’ve come to think that 4 Facebook entries per day is a reasonable maximum. This lets the librarian post “live” when things are happening in the library without clogging up our follower’s feeds.

So I want to create a column of dates that looks like this:

Each date is repeated 4 times
Each date is repeated 4 times

The quickest way to do this with minimal typing is to use the Fill Series dialog box. Since Excel 2007, you can find it under the Fill menu on the  Home tab.

Finding the Fill Series Dialog
Finding the Fill Series Dialog

To use the Fill Series dialog, select the range of cells you want your dates to be entered in. Make sure the first cell in the range has the starting date. Then select the  Fill button and choose Series .

The Fill Series Dialog
The Fill Series Dialog

Enter a  Step value. In this case, because I want 4 repeats of each date I’m using .25 as the Step value. If I wanted 5 repeats, I’d use .20 (and so on).

If you don’t feel like calculating how many cells to select when doing this for a date range that spans a couple of months; try using a  Stop value . With a  Stop Value, the series will stop at the first instance of the date entered into the field. Otherwise, the series will fill the entire selected range. ( In the picture above the full date is not displayed in the field, it was actually 06/01/2016.) Using a <em><strong>Stop Value</strong> </em>allows you to make a rough selection (say 500 cells) and Excel will stop when the series runs its’ course.


This post is originally from 2016, however Filling a series is still as useful in 2020 as it was then.

If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca