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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Displaying your data in Excel – pivot tables

We can use pivot tables to display the number of times a value appears in a column or row in an Excel spreadsheet.

Why would I use a pivot table to display data?

I keep a record of my reading, including author, publisher, date, fiction or non-fiction, source, if there are any special features like mental health, immigrant experiences etc. I used to tot up some of this information manually using my book blog but this year it’s been in Excel so I can copy other book bloggers and share more detailed information.

I wanted to be able to display numbers of times I read books by x publisher etc. so taught myself this pivot tables / pivot charts procedure.

Setting up a pivot table to display my data counts

Say I want to count the number of times I’ve read books published in particular years in my spreadsheet of books read. I want a graph with the years along the bottom and number of books from each year up the side.

First I select the source data to use, by highlighting the Date column.

Then I go to the Insert tab and select PivotTable then PivotChart:

This brings up a dialogue box. I check the range is in there and then tick the Existing Worksheet option, because I want to display this on my worksheet.

I select the first cell of the destination range to tell it where to paste (I’ve not filled that in yet here), and click OK .

The PivotChart Fields pane appears on the right-hand side of the worksheet. Date (or whatever field you selected) should be showing at the top. Click the tick box next to Date and drag Date down to the Axis section and then the Values section.

The empty Values section populates with Count of Date: this is correct. Once I’ve dragged them down …

As if by magic, a chart appears with my data!

I can move this around and resize it using the arrows that come up as you hover over the box containing the chart.


In this article I’ve shown you how to use pivot tables and pivot charts to make your data display in an easily readable form in Excel.

This works for Excel 2010 and above for PC.

Find other Excel tips in the Excel category!

If you found this article useful, please let me know in a comment!

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in Excel

 

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Small business chat update – Sophie Playle

Small business chat update – Sophie Playle

Hello and welcome to a lovely editing-inspired update with  Sophie Playle, editor and trainer of editors from Liminal Pages,  We first met Sophie in December 2013, and got updates in January 2015, March 2016, March 2017, and April 2018, where this was her plan: she wanted to be “Where I am now, but better”. Good plan! Let’s see how she’s getting on now …

Hello again, Sophie! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

As always, I think I can do more in the time I have than is realistic, so I’m a bit behind on where I’d hope to be – but I’m working on it, and trying not to beat myself up about it!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Most things have stayed the same. I’m still offering editorial services to authors and publishers of fiction, and I’m still offering online training to editors. The main difference is that this year, I’ve set the dates for when my courses will run in advance (rather than launch them as and when). This seems to be working well – it helps me and my potential students plan our schedules better.

Oh, the other thing that is about to change (at the time of writing) is my website. It’s been nearly two years in the making, but I designed a new website for myself from scratch (learning new software and design skills) and had it coded by a professional web developer (*cough* my spouse *cough*). I’m currently in the process of transferring all the content, but it should be going live soon.

Since my business has reached a point of stability, I felt it was time for a custom-built website. I’ve been using WordPress themes since the start, and those have served me well, but now I want to take my business to the next level. The new site will be much faster and look super-slick.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Teaching others teaches me so much. It forces me to find holes in my knowledge and solidify what I know. I’ve learned even more about story structure and types of narration recently, which in turn has improved my services.

At the start of the year, I detoxed from social media and learned that it didn’t have much impact on my business and that I felt more creative and less anxious. I wish I’d done it sooner.

Social media is full of other people’s successes and ideas, and I feel this can make you feel less enthusiastic about your own business, and crowd out your own thoughts and ideas. On top of that, it’s a time-suck – time that would be better spent elsewhere.

I’m not saying removing yourself from social media is right for every business (and I certainly haven’t totally removed myself from it), but I do think we all need to take a good hard look at how we’re using it and the true effect it’s having.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Get out of the house every day, preferably somewhere green. You’ll feel better for it.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

My new website should be up and running, as should my latest course on copy-editing fiction, Tea and Commas. I’m hoping to incorporate more video into my business, too, and this is something I’ve already started experimenting with. I’ve just moved house, too, and so I’m looking forward to getting into some new routines. I find regular structure to my day makes me happier and more productive.

I always love reading Sophie’s interesting newsletters (especially as she works from all over the place, which makes me a bit jealous sometimes) and I always appreciate her honesty. Having a website refresh is a great idea and I’m glad that’s all going well. And she’s completely right about getting outside every day, into natural surroundings if you can. I’m fortunate to have my running hobby to help me do that.

Website: www.liminalpages.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sophieplayle

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Sara from Sara’s Parlour

Small business chat update – Sara from Sara’s Parlour

Welcome to the first update from Sara, a friend of a friend, who runs Sara’s Parlour Face Painting, which offers face painting and other art services in the West Midlands and beyond. I first interviewed Sara in June 2017 so we’re long overdue a catch-up (and that’s entirely my fault) and I’m glad to see things are going so well. Last time, this was where Sara wanted to be in a year’s time: “Full time, potentially with at least one paid worker in the office so I can work on being creative!”

Hello again, Sara! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes things are on the up.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’ve continued to grow my corporate client base. I still don’t have an assistant – but I’m hoping to this will change shortly. I am busier than ever!

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Sometimes you need to make a change before you get snowed under. It’s always worth looking for what business help and advice there is out there.

Any more hints and tips for people?

If you want to run your own business it has to be a labour of love. Expect long hours – so make sure its something you really love to do!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Expanding what we offer with more party services and I hope to have expanded into mural making as I have an illustration degree

I very much agree with doing what you love – even though my job is a lot less creative, I still enjoy very much being in on the process of creation at the text level. Do have a look at Sara’s origin story in her first interview (ever start a business by accident? I sort of did that, too!) and click on a link below to see the marvellous work Sara does, and I’ll be looking forward to her follow-up interview next year!

Sara’s Parlour
Tel: 07964 081 325

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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