A new year is always an excellent opportunity to reflect on the previous 12 months and consider goals for the next. But before I do that, I just want to thank you for supporting Excel Off The Grid this past year. It is a privilege to support you in your Excel journey.
There were 48 new posts on the site. I didn’t meet the volume of content from the previous year, but I believe the posts were of significantly better quality, and certainly pushed some new ground.
Here are some of my favourite posts from the year:
- The real reason INDEX/MATCH is better than VLOOKUP
- Set chart axis min and max based on a cell value
- Removing / cracking Excel passwords with VBA
- Getting values from a closed Excel workbook
- Dynamic arrays in Excel
- Assign macro with arguments to a Form Control button
- An introduction to Modern Excel
- Excel’s AVERAGE function: the hidden pitfalls
During the year, I invested a lot of time in my own learning. While I have a way to go until I’m a master with Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI, I definitely feel at home with them. If you’re looking to learn these tools during 2019, I highly recommend the following courses:
Unfortunately, my goal to launch a YouTube channel has not progressed at all. Also, my intention to release an eBook was not achieved either; I have a variety of partially completed eBooks which I hope to develop further in 2019 (it turns out I like starting projects, but not finishing them).
The dynamic array functionality, which I expect will be released to all Office 365 subscribers in early 2019, will significantly change how we use formulas in Excel. As a result, there are lots of posts on the site which need updating. I plan to use this opportunity to refresh any old posts which I think can be improved.
A new Excel feature called Custom Visuals, should be released in 2019. I am excited to discover how the Excel community responds to this new feature and what new visuals will be created.
I still have the goal of releasing some eBooks, I’ve just got to get my head down and get them done 🙂
Personally, I am looking forward to continuing my Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI journey. This is a new way of thinking about Excel, so I am excited to introduce these new tools into more real-world scenarios.
Let’s get going!
That’s enough talk. Let’s get 2019 started.
Review 2017 & Goals 2018
The following was posted on 1 January 2018
The John Lennon song Happy Xmas (War is Over) has been playing almost every hour on UK radio for the past month. At the start of December the lyrics “Another year over, and a new one just begun” seemed slightly premature. But, as I write this it is the end of December the New Year is upon us. As we start 2018 I thought it would be useful to review 2017 and to look ahead to the goals for 2018.
One aspect of running a blog, which had not occurred to me before, is being able to look back at past goals and resolutions. Usually my goals and resolutions are forgotten by the 10th January, but now I can go back and see what I was aiming for this time last year. Here are the goals I set and my estimated progress against those goals.
- More of the same (but better) – achieved 100%. 108 posts published – an average of 9 posts per month.
- Release some templates
- Courses & series – 10%. There has been some progress, but I’ve not completed the Beginning VBA course or even considered created any other courses.
- Videos – 0%. Complete failure, I did not publish a single tutorial video – oops!
- Learning goals – 5%. I’ve started to tinker with PowerQuery, but I’m certainly not a master at present.
There have also been some unexpected achievements, which are worth highlighting:
- Contact – Getting to speak with and getting to know some fellow Excel enthusiasts has been a highlight.
- Learning – I have learnt more about Excel the last 12 months than I thought possible
On the whole, even with some of my goals missed, I still think it has been an excellent year for Excel Off The Grid.
What will 2018 hold for Excel Off The Grid?
My learning goals – These are the same as last year, to get deeper with PowerQuery, PowerPivot and PowerBI.
Fewer blog posts – Thinking about it, 108 posts is probably too many posts. I would prefer to aim for higher quality, rather than higher quantity.
Video – Yes, I hope to get the YouTube channel up and running, finally. I have some site usage statistics to show me the type of topics which readers find useful. This will help me focus the videos on the right topics.
Ebooks – I’ve got a couple of ideas for ebooks, so would like to publish some of these next year.
Review 2016 & Goals 2017
The following was posted on 1 January 2017
We’ve made it, the end of 2016. A most surprising year. 12 months ago I had no idea this site would exist. I didn’t even have plans or dreams to start an Excel site. But here it is. As we start a new year I thought it would be good to undertake a ‘state of the nation’ – to review 2016 and to look ahead to 2017.
Over the last 12 months, my job has changed significantly. As a result, I started to get back into the nitty-gritty of Excel. I think my Excel skills had started to dissipate, due to working in more managerial roles for a number of years. I had to solve new problems, some of which I had never realized could even be problems. But solving Excel problems really is one of life’s little pleasures, so getting back to really ‘using’ Excel has been fun.
At various points throughout the year, I threw together some “quick and dirty” Macros to solve a few issues. It amazes me that some of those “quick and dirty” Macros are still being used by other employees and in some cases even form part of their standard workflow. This is great from an “adding benefit” point of view, but also worrying as “quick and dirty” are rarely the most robust or scalable solutions. At some point they will fall over, hopefully I’ll be around to deal with them!!
During the last 12 months I also created my first Add-in – 4 actually. Some of these were created for my employer, so I can’t really share those. But some were just because I thought I had a good idea. I’m hoping to release these in 2017, making them ready for wider distribution is just taking a little bit longer than I expected.
My biggest learning of the last 12 months has been mastering (even if just a little bit) the Excel Ribbon. The XML code required to change the Ribbon doesn’t give away too many clues when things don’t work. A number of times I was left floundering with very little idea what the issue was. But I got through the frustrations and now have a number of templates and tools to help me use it better in the future.
Plans for 2017
What will 2017 hold for Excel Off The Grid?
More of the same (but better) – I know, I know, not a great promise. I’ve enjoyed writing the posts and sharing these tips. So I’d like to continue. If you’ve got any feedback – too long, too short, etc. then just let me know through the contact form. I love hearing from readers, and if I can tweak things to make the site more usable for you, then I will do my best.
Release some Add-ins – having now created a few add-ins I’ve got some ideas of other tools which would be useful. So, I’d like to release a few of those this year.
Courses & series – I would like to complete the Beginning VBA course. I’m also planning some Dashboarding courses, this has been a bit lacking on the site so far.
Videos – I received a request from a friend to include videos on the site. He likes to see what somebody is doing and then follow along, rather than reading. Different people have different learning styles, so I can appreciate his point of view. I did experiment with this towards the end of 2016 and I would like to see where it can lead.
What do you want from the site? – Excel Off The Grid is actually very different from what I had expected when I started. As this site is still evolving, let me know what would be useful, I would love to hear from you.
My learning goals – I’ve not had much exposure to Excel’s BI tools, Power Query, Power Pivot etc, so I’m hoping to get a bit deeper into these over the next 12 months.