How and Why you should use a Logarithmic Scale in an Excel Diagram

Look at the diagrams below – they show the same numbers, but the vertical scales, the y-axis, are different. In this example we see how $1,000 grows to almost $300,000 in 50 years with a 12% yearly return.

The blue diagram has a linear scale on the y-axis, so the distance between 0 and 50,000 is the same as the distance between 200,000 and 250,000. The yellow diagram has a logarithmic scale with base 10, which means that each interval is increased by a factor of 10. Read more to find out how to do this in Excel, and why you may or may not want to use a logarithmic scale:

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How to use Excel to validate a dataset according to Benford’s Law

Benford’s Law describes the phenomenon that in a large dataset, the leading digit of each number does not occur with the intuitively expected probability of 1:9 (11.1%), but rather with a much larger probability for the smaller numbers. For more details on Benfords’s Law, you can read the Wikipedia Article about it, but keep on reading here if you want to learn how to use Excel to check if a dataset is consistent with it. It’s very easy!

For this example I have used population data for all the counties of the United States from census.gov:

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How to handle parts per million, basis points and per mille in Excel

Excel has built-in functionality to handle percent (%), but there is no automatic way to calculate parts per million, basis points, permyriad or per mille in Excel. It is easy to calculate though, but let’s start with the definitions:

And here’s how to apply it:

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Today’s shortcut: Scroll sideways with PageUp and PageDown in Excel

We all know how to scroll one screen down in Word, Excel or almost any other application: Simply press the Page Down key. But in Excel we often want to scroll sideways too, and here’s how to do it:

Scroll one screen to the right: Alt + Page Down

Scroll one screen to the left: Alt + Page Up

EasyExcel_44_Scroll_sideways

More shortcuts in Excel:



Are you using a non-English version of Excel? Click here for translations of the 100 most common functions.