Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Using Conditional Formatting in Excel to Quickly Spot Trends




Conditional Formatting Helps You Identify
Groups and Trends Easily

Conditional formatting in Excel lets you identify trends at a glance by formatting cells according to certain pre-set conditions – hence the name.


So, for example, let’s say you run a pet food company and you want to make sure you re-stock when inventory is low. You might set up a spreadsheet like this, which tracks the total number of cases in each of your six warehouses.

Let’s suppose your definition of “low inventory” is anything under 2000 cases. You can use conditional formatting to quickly identify all those warehouses containing fewer than 2000 cases.


First, select the column you want the formatting to apply to. Then go to the Format menu and select Conditional Formatting.

The Conditional Formatting menu contains a series of drop-downs. Select “Cell Value Is”, “Less than”, and then type 2000 into the field. Click the Format button and select how you would like all cells with values under 2000 to be formatted. We chose to make them bold and red. Then click OK.

You’ll see the Conditional Formatting menu with everything filled in. Click OK again. Now the chart will have all inventories under 2000 rendered in bold, red type. Time to start restocking in Cleveland, Des Moines, and Essex!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Our 4 Favorite Tech Sites



4 Web Sites to Love

There’s no shortage of Web sites willing to offer you productivity advice, computer tips, hardware and software reviews, and general technology information to help make your life easier. Below are four of the reads that we keep coming back to.


CNet:  A clearinghouse of up-to-the-minute technology news, plus a massive archive of product reviews.


PC World:  Another good source for product information, including plenty of roundups and comparison articles.


43folders:  This site describes itself as offering "simple ways to make your life a little better." Recent topics include dealing with high volumes of email, free e-books, and "links and resources for the chronically disorganized."


The Register:  It’s a humorous take on technology news, and no, that’s not an oxymoron.

What are the sites you like to visit for tech news and advice? Let us know and we’ll share your suggestions in an upcoming issue of QuickTips.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Stimulus Check' Email Scams

Beware IRS Tax Refund Scams!

A few months ago, we wrote about e-mail scammers using upcoming IRS stimulus checks to get confidential bank information from consumers. With more people than ever filing returns electronically, you might be less likely to raise an eyebrow when you get an email like the one quoted below. But look out: it might look legitimate, and it might even link to a site that looks like the official IRS site, but it's not.

Over 130 million Americans will receive refunds as part of The White House program to jumpstart the economy.

Our records indicate that you are qualified to receive the 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund.

The fastest and easiest way to receive your refund is by direct deposit to your checking/savings account.

Please follow the link and fill out the form and submit before June 15th, 2008 to ensure that your refund will be processed as soon as possible.

Submitting your form on June 15th, 2008 or later means that your refund will be delayed due to the volume of requests we anticipate for the Economic Stimulus Refund.

The above email and others like it are a clever attempt by some Web-savvy con artists to get your personal information. Remember that the IRS, in its own words, "does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail." So junk that email and be patient - the last stimulus checks aren't due out until July.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Buy Windows XP on Dell Before June 18

Buy a Dell Machine With XP Before June 18!

If you've been putting off a Windows XP purchase, now is the time to do it!  Microsoft is beginning to phase out wide availability of Windows XP and transition to Vista-only sales.  After June 18, you will no longer be able to order Dell computers with Windows XP Home Edition.  You'll still be able to get XP Pro on the Optiplex, Latitude, and Precision lines through 2009, but it won't be easy: first, you'll have to purchase a system that includes a license for Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate, and then you'll need to have the OS downgraded to XP Professional.

For more information on this ordering deadline and a handy XP/Vista comparison chart, you can check out this page on the Dell site.

To purchase a Dell system with Windows XP installed before the June 18 deadline, call today!