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Guerilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel
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This book includes step-by-step examples and case studies that teach users the many power tricks for analyzing data in Excel. These are tips honed by Bill Jelen, MrExcel,” during his 10-year run as a financial analyst charged with taking mainframe data and turning it into useful information quickly. Topics include perfectly sorting with one click every time, matching lists of data, data consolidation, data subtotals, pivot tables, and much more.
Published: Holy Macro Books an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on
ISBN: 9781615473199
List price: $9.95
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Guerilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel

Copyright© 2002 by Bill Jelen

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without written permission from the publisher.

Written by:

Bill Jelen, MrExcel

Visit the MrExcel web site at

Edited by:

Anne Troy & Linda DeLonais

On the Cover:

As if going to war with themselves, a barrage of Excel equations battle it out on the front of the book

jacket. Design by Irubin Consulting (

Published by:

Holy Macro! Books

13386 Judy Avenue Northwest

Uniontown, Ohio, USA 44685

Distributed by:

Independent Publishers Group

First printing:

August 2002

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Data

Jelen, Bill

Guerilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel / Bill Jelen

Library of Congress Control Number: 2002117109

ISBN: 0-9724258-0-2 e-book: 0-9724258-


All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trade marks of their respective owners. Holy Macro! Books is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.

About the Author

Better known online as Mr. Excel, Bill Jelen is the brains behind

Bill works with clients all over the world, designing custom Excel applications, solving their Excel emergencies and providing tips and hints that help Excel users get the most out of their spreadsheet applications.

Bill Jelen’s adventures in spreadsheets began while receiving his B.A. in Management from the University of Notre Dame. Bill was a teaching assistant, responsible for administering the world’s most difficult examination in Lotus 1-2-3. After months of grading exams for a research project and never finding an MBA candidate who could score more than about 60%, Bill set out to learn enough about Lotus 1-2-3 to ace the test.

After Notre Dame, Bill joined Telxon Corporation in Akron, Ohio. Over his 15-year career at Telxon, he held a variety of positions. As a Programmer, the applications he developed had an immediate impact on productivity and continued to be used in production for over twelve years – eons, really, in the programming world. Bill was promoted to Financial Systems Analyst. As a team member on a McKinsey & Company Consulting Study, he co-developed an Excel-based analysis model that saved the company $8.6 million in the nine years it was used. Bill also designed a margin analysis that exposed low-margin products, which allowed the company to save over $500,000 annually. In 1996, Bill was promoted to Director of Operations Analysis where he continued on his mission to improve productivity and free management from the tedium of manual data collection and reporting. He developed a pilot system in Excel in one day, launched it the next day, and eventually eliminated a high-level management position that managed the now-obsolete manual process. That application eventually grew to contain 2,400+ lines of VBA code and was managed with a single button click made daily by an administrative assistant.

Bill was awarded two patents while at Telxon; one was for a reversible keyboard for a handheld computer. Long before it was fashionable, Bill invented and patented a system to allow ordering of groceries over the Internet. Unfortunately, his employer took control of the patent in exchange for a fancy catered lunch and a $42 plaque for Bill’s office. Now he knows how Al Gore feels. was conceived in 1998 with Bill’s founding of Tickling Keys, Inc., a Microsoft Excel Consulting and Web Publishing practice. When he first launched, he had no idea it would rocket to the nearly 10-million annual page-views it has today. Bill realized that while so many millions of people used Excel on a daily basis, few really knew about the incredible time-and work-saving power hidden behind the familiar grid – Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Bill’s philosophy is simple, yet powerful. He sees himself as an Excel user – not a programmer. He believes that there are two ways to program any application: an easy way and a right way. The easy way may be quick and efficient from the programmer’s perspective, but the right way is intuitively obvious from the user’s perspective. And that is the addictive charm that continues to bring users back to for more.

The MrExcel Network of Consultants has provided Excel, Access, & Microsoft Office applications software and automation to hundreds of clients. Now providing solutions for all Microsoft Office applications and Visual Basic programming, the MrExcel Network of Consultants has provided software and automation to over 200 clients in 2002.

Bill is co-author of MrExcel ON EXCEL (480 pages ISBN 0-9724258-3-7) and Holy Macro! It’s 1,600 Excel VBA Examples CD (ISBN 0-9724258-1-0).

Bill and his wife Mary Ellen live near Akron, Ohio with their sons Josh and Zeke. When he is not programming world-class applications, Bill is active in the Goodyear Lighter Than Air Society, The Drive In Theatre Fan Club, the Rotary Club of Lake Township, the Chambers of Commerce for Lake Township, Uniontown, and Akron, and the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Akron.


The author would like to acknowledge the following persons:

Linda DeLonais & Anne Troy for excellent editing of the book; Tracy Syrstad for technical editing; Jerry Kohl for prompting the entire discussion on CSE formulas vs. pivot tables; Chank Diesel for font design; Cecilia Sveda for logo design; Scott Pierson for graphic design; Ivana Taylor for the forward, marketing wisdom and book proofing; John Sancin for pushing me to develop the book; Roy Rubin, Christine Evans and Sue Grzybowski for cover design; Mary Ellen, Josh, and Zeke Jelen for putting up with me being chained to the computer when I should have been swimming; John Walkenbach for inspiration; every reader who has ever sent in a question for teaching me about Excel; Kevin Adkins for being the first to say you should write a book; Vicky Fowler for having to put up with my early macros; Juan Pablo Gonzalez, Mala Singh, Wei Jiang, Suat Ozgur, and Duane Aubin for handling my work while I wrote the book; Mike Absher for vehicles; every valued client at MrExcel for allowing me to hone these skills; Khalil Matta and Gary Kern for designing the killer Lotus test in 1985 that started this whole thing; the MrExcel MVPs for getting me out of a jam whenever I am in one; Ivan Moala for being at the message board since day one; Shirl Matz for general business advice and encouragement; Mike Sitek for being a VP capable of learning a CSE formula; Peter Selden for the GoTo Special trick; Pam Gensel for the first lessons in Excel macros; Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston for being the fathers of the modern spreadsheet software; Bill Gates and the entire Microsoft Excel development team for making Excel so advanced; both Bob Jelens for their positive influence; Carol Dacoros, Pat Finnan, and Tom Hagar for being a great legal and accounting team; and Jeff Bissell for concepts regarding the SUMIF chapter. I thank you all!

Table of Contents

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Title Page

Copyright Page

About the Author




In the trenches

Changing formulas to values

Multiple customer names/single customer number

All sorts of sorts

Matching two lists of data


Data→Subtotals and Go To Special

Filtering Data


The keys to the kingdom: CSE

Pivot tables

INDIRECT and OFFSET functions

Remedial reading

Introduction to Excel functions

Appendix: Quick function reference




You wouldn’t normally designate a technical Book like this as a page-turner, but if you’re someone who has to process large amounts of data and turn it into information that’s critical to a management decision then trust me – it is a page-turner!

If you could have seen me while I read this book, you would have seen me nodding my head in agreement and muttering phrases like How did you know?! or "Yes, yes, yes – that’s exactly what happens! or So that’s how you do that!" Bill Jelen – where were you during the preparation for my last staff meeting??

But no more! Now I have this remarkable Everyman’s Tool for Excel and I’m going to be a hero. In fact, I’m getting another copy because someone is bound to steal this one or it will just plain wear out from use.

Don’t believe me – go ahead and read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Bill Jelen uses his combined experience and analytical ingenuity to de-mystify the arduous task of dealing with downloaded data. He uses real-life examples of real-life management requests, and then walks you through the maze of Excel tools and formulas that not only cuts valuable time out of the process, but teaches you in plain English how to overcome the most common analytical obstacles.

Now you can truly unleash the power of Excel and get the world’s most powerful analytical tools to work for you – instead of the other way around.

The beauty of this book is that the author is a living, breathing, 24/7 resource for all of your Microsoft Office needs at If your problem or question isn’t in the book, chances are there’s a solution just a few clicks away.

Go ahead: breathe easy and read on ...

-Ivana S. Taylor

Third Force Marketing


The day before this book was to go to the printer, a storm ripped through my area. Dozens of utility poles snapped and 20,000 homes were without electricity. Cursing my luck, I packed up an old laptop and headed out into the darkness, to set up a temporary office overnight in a motel and attempted to carry on business without my files and with only a 26K phone connection. It was a valuable reminder of what can go wrong when you have a deadline. It had been two years since I packed up and walked out of corporate life, a life where stupid problems regularly arise hours or minutes before the deadline. I recalled the days when the corporate network crashed during the accounting close, or when Craig – the only guy who could operate the Fiery to run our Xerox Color Copier – simply gave up and walked out two hours before the board meeting.

If you are reading this book, the chances are that you face this stuff every week. One insane deadline is met with a breath of relief, and then you jump back in to face another insane deadline. The odds are that you are too busy fighting