Tips & Tricks

Gantt Chart

If you need a simple Gantt chart table template that is customizable for your own project, then you can download the chart below. I’ve also included a how-to video so you can see its capabilities and limitations.




Gantt Chart (Template)

What is De-doop or De-dupe

I was asked today to help someone dedupe their data…since I was, “good at excel”. I was flattered by their compliment, but also embarrassed because I’d never heard the term in my life. After being told it meant de-duplicate, I knew I was the man for the job! (because it literally requires a single button… the “remove duplicates” button under the data tab). And I also learned a new term: de-dupe.

So hopefully this explanation of my short-lived embarrassment helps save you from a similar situation. Meanwhile I’m going to keep calling it: remove duplicates.

Pivot Table Crash Course

Do not be intimidated! You can learn how to pivot with only a few minutes of basics!

Don’t be intimidated! Learning to use pivot tables proficiently will take only a few minutes of basics!

I vividly remember my first business experience with pivot tables. My boss did (what seemed to me) advanced wizardry to show me some interesting trends in our shipping frequencies. He apologized about how clumsy he was in re-creating his pivot table through trial and error, and conceded that I probably knew far more than him since “I just graduated from college, and he was just an old-timer.” Haha, he couldn’t be more wrong…I literally had no clue what heck was doing, but I did know what he did was spectacular. My brain started churning through all the ways I could use it — if I only knew how! So I played around with an excel file I had, and I….immediately got frustrated and gave up! It wasn’t until a few years later, through the MBA program and an analyst job did I force myself to learn more about pivot tables, and ultimately attain extreme comfort in using them.

In actuality the learning was quite easy, didn’t take that long, and really just required one person to sit down with me for ~15 minutes to get the basics. From that point on, with the basics in my back pocket, I could confidently trial and error my way through any future challenges. And when the going got really tough, all I had to do was Google, word-for-word my problem…and whammo…a full search page of tutorials and YouTube videos explaining exactly how to perform my precise request. The video below is my attempt to give everyone the benefit of the 15 minute sit-down I had with my friend in learning the basics. Please feel free to comment if you have any further questions on things I didn’t explain fully or you would like more details on. You are fully capable of learning pivot tables really quickly…all you need is this video, a few forced trials and errors in your own data set, and access to Google for specific challenges you face. You truly can become quite proficient in pivot tables within a day, you just can’t get intimidated and keep grinding. You can’t mess anything up playing around in a pivot table, so don’t sweat it! Get to learning!

How to Make a Color Coded U.S. Map from Excel Data

Map With Labels Thumbnails

If you want to create a color coded U.S. map based on your excel data, it’s a very do-able task — but to be fair it’s quite time consuming. I have a YouTube video below that explains how to make this map — generally speaking — because it would take at least an hour to go into full detail. However, I’ve also put it up for sale on this site for only $5 (click here: Customizable U.S. Map.) There is also a $3 version if you don’t need labels on each state. You can check out the product picture to determine which version is right for you, if you so choose to purchase…otherwise, you can find the how-to video below. Even though it is time consuming it’s really fun to make, when you get to see the results of your efforts in action!

How to Use Excel to Forecast Using Exponential Smoothing

Exponential Smoothing sounds complicated, and the formula also looks very complicated, but in fact it’s really simple. I’ve created a tutorial video below to help explain how to perform an exponential smoothing forecast using Excel. Hopefully this helps you either at school or at work when a forecast is needed!


How to Do Exponential Smoothing Forecasting

Exponential Smoothing Forecast

How to Make a Visual Gradient Chart in Excel

Excel percentage block chart

Excel Gradient Block Chart

A gradient block chart can add a little change to your next presentation. Below you will find a downloadable gradient block chart template, along with an accompanying tutorial video. If you have any follow up questions please contact me at: or …these can get a little tricky if you’re unfamiliar with conditional formatting.







to download this template, click on the file with a down arrow icon in the bottom right of this window.

Excel Thermometer Template

Download this ↓ customizable thermometer chart below…use the excel template to change the thermometer to your needs — simply and easily:

Excel thermometer chart

Thermometer download below









If you’ve come to download an excel thermometer template of your own, you’ve come to the right place! Below you will find not only a downloadable version of the thermometer template, but also a how-to video on how to customize it to your own needs. Hope this helps…and if you have any questions feel free to contact me at or


How to Make a Butterfly Chart

If you’ve ever seen a chart that has bars going off in each direction of the y-axis, yet they both appear positive in value, this is called a butterfly or tornado chart — it looks like a Bob Ross pine tree. Making them in Excel is easy, as you know a few key axis manipulation methods. The tutorial video below will show you how to make this graph:

Excel Butterfly chart

How to Make a Butterfly Chart








Interactive Chart Selecting Drop Down Menu

I would write out the explanation of how to create an interactive drop down chart selector, but that would take WAY longer than just watching my video. Before watching the video, here is a picture of the end product. If you like what you see, continue down the page for the video tutorial.

Chart Drop Down Selector

Chart Drop Down Selector



Making a Bar Chart with Different Widths

Bar charts can be spruced up a bit, and impart more information to the viewer when you think a little outside the box. By altering the widths of each bar you can tell two data stories in one simple chart. Below is a tutorial on how to create your next multi-width bar chart in Excel! Hope this helps!