Happy Independence Day (Americans) and a belated Happy Canada Day (Canadians)! We are smack dab in the middle of the lazy days of summer, which means lots of folks are on vacation this week. To honor these lazy days, I’m providing a complement to my post a few months back on “Fun Uses for Excel“. In this edition: strange uses for Excel. I must admit this post will be based primarily on a similar post at chandoo.org that I found fascinating.
- Floor layouts. Will that couch you love fit underneath the window? You can use Excel as graph paper, mapping out rooms and furniture layouts. This also works for garden layouts and quilt designing (HT @Whitney!)
- Amuse co-workers with the Speak on Enter feature. On the chandoo.org post, Jeff Weir said
On those tortuously long work days where the clock seems to be running backward, I often turn on SPEAK ON ENTER and get Excel to speak the words “Take this job and shove it” to my co-workers (It’s actually from a country song, but has famously been covered by the punk group The Dead Kennedys). This really cracks them up. Speak on Enter is one of Excel’s most underrated functions, if you ask me. Why they didn’t put it right there on the ribbon in 2007 is a travesty. In fact, I’m not going to upgrade my version of Excel until they do.
I checked it out, and my Windows version of Excel 2007 has “Speak on Enter”, which you can add to your toolbar by going to “Excel Options” –> “Customize”. Of course, you can also use the Excel “Speak” features to check data entry. Read more here.
- Running out of Sudoku puzzles on the plane? Download this little piece of code and start randomly generating Sudoku puzzles from within Excel.
- Naming kids (?!). It’s actually quite strange how many people mentioned this on chandoo.org as a use for Excel. Here’s one example from Brian S.:
For each kid, my wife and I separately brainstormed a list of viable first and middle names. I entered them into a workbook to identify any matches. (Thankfully there always have been matches.) Then I had formulas to display all possible combinations of those matches, as well as up to 2 additional “favorites” from each of us. Those results were manually whittled down based on their sound (which combinations appear fine), and whether the associated first/last or first/middle/last initials create an unexpected result. (I, with initials B.S., threw that requirement in.) This always led us to a 1st and 2nd choice. But if necessary, I was ready to move to a Web data extract to determine an additional “name uniqueness” value.