Articles by David Ringstrom

Technology

What to do when Excel won't let you insert columns

From time to time you might encounter the prompt that appears when Excel thinks you can't add additional columns or rows.
Technology

Office 2010 Has Arrived! Customize Your Ribbon!

Office 2010 is now in stores and at www.office.com, so anyone can upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft's flagship productivity suite. Office 2010 provides numerous refinements to the new user interface introduced with Office 2007.
Technology

Two Ways to Determine Your Top Customers in QuickBooks, Excel

Given the length of the Great Recession, your top customers today might not be the same folks who were your top customers even a couple months ago. In this article I'll demonstrate two ways that you can determine who your top customers are based on total sales.
Technology

Transform multiple-line cell contents into columns in Excel

Sometimes in Excel you may encounter a situation where each cell contains multiple lines of data. In this article I'll explain some simple techniques that can make quick work of transforming this data into columns.
Technology

Understanding the Undo Option in Excel

One of my favorite features in Excel is the Undo feature, which as you might expect, allows you to undo the last action that you carried out in Excel. Indeed, you can generally undo multiple steps in Excel. However, there are some caveats to this functionality, as well as a couple tricks you may not know.
Technology

Office 2007 Themes Standardize Document Look, Feel

It can be a significant challenge to ensure that your company's documents have the same look and feel, particularly when you're using Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook together. Fortunately Office 2007's Themes feature can simplify the process.
Technology

Excel Tip: Converting Numbers Formatted as <1> to -1

In this article I'll discuss two approaches you can use to convert text-based inputs to negative numbers. I'll also share a formatting technique you can use if you want to enclose negative numbers in such brackets instead of parentheses.
Technology

What's the FREQUENCY? Using Excel's FREQUENCY function

From time to time you may want to determine how items fall within specific ranges. For instance, a real estate portfolio manager may wish to know how many buildings fall within ranges of 250,000, 500,000, and one million square feet.
Technology

Some unlikely uses for Excel's SUMPRODUCT function

While you may not be aware of Excel's SUMPRODUCT function, those in the know often use it for its stated purpose: multiplying two ranges together and then summing the total. Although this is helpful, you might not be aware that SUMPRODUCT also can function like VLOOKUP or SUMIF on steroids.
Technology

Three tricks for formatting rows in Excel

I'm sure that you've worked with data sets in Excel where the information starts blurring together. In this article I discuss several techniques that I use avoid getting lost in the forest.
Technology

First Impressions of Excel 2010

As you may have heard, the next version of Microsoft's venerable Office suite recently entered "technical preview", or public beta. Excel 2010 seems to offer mostly refinements and only a few wholesale changes.
Technology

Whither Conficker?

By David Ringstrom, CPAIt's only been a couple months since the Conficker virus completely dominated the media, yet there's been a deafening silence on this front since April 2. All of the hype would have had you believe that Conficker was set to wreak havoc on April 1, but that ominous Wednesday passed without incident, much like Y2K. However, this isn't to say that Conficker simply vanished, as innumerable computers are still infected by one of the five known variants of the virus.
Technology

Three Excel Menus You May Have Overlooked

By David H. Ringstrom, CPASheet NavigationEveryone is familiar with using the arrow buttons in the lower left-hand corner of the Excel screen to push worksheet tabs back and forth across the screen. However, try right-clicking on these buttons instead, and you'll see a menu similar to Figure 1. Simply click on a sheet name to instantly activate that worksheet.&nbsp;
Technology

Managing Excel Add-Ins

By David H. Ringstrom, CPAAdd-ins are programs that plug-in into Microsoft Excel to add additional functionality. Some add-ins expand Excel's core functionality, while others allow third-party products to add features to Excel's environment. In this article I'll discuss how to enable some of Excel's hidden features, as well as give you some pointers on what to do when third-party add-ins vanish from Excel.Hidden FeaturesExcel ships with several add-ins that you can manually enable. Some of these include:&nbsp;
Technology

Buried Gold: Excel's Form Command

By David H. Ringstrom, CPAMany users are not aware that Excel has long had a feature that enables you to browse through a table of data one record at a time. As shown in Figure 1, the Form command provides an easy way to navigate through a table of data. This command is easy to access in Excel 2003 and earlier versions, but is deeply buried in Excel 2007. In this article I'll show you how to use the Form command to make quick work of reviewing a list of records.&nbsp;
Technology

Tricks for Opening and Closing Multiple Excel Files

By David H. Ringstrom, CPA
Technology

Tricks for Hiding and Unhiding Excel Rows and Columns

Hiding and unhiding rows and columns are mundane tasks that many users take for granted. However, sometimes simple tasks can trip up Excel users, like unhiding just one row or column within a hidden set.
A&A

Provisioning Your Home Accounting Office

As the economy continues to contract, more and more accountants are considering striking out on their own. A benefit to providing accounting services is that you can often ease your way into your own business, as long as you don't run afoul of any non-compete agreements with your primary employer. I'm sure you've read a million articles about how to establish a separate workspace that's all your own and how to organize your files, so instead I'm going to focus on elements of my own home office that I've found particularly effective.
Technology

Add Contacts or Meetings to Contact Manager or CRM with Two Keystrokes

Product review by David H. Ringstrom, CPAAccountants of a certain age may remember a television show in which contestants would bid on how few notes they'd need to hear to identify an unidentified song. However, instead of saying, &quot;Tom, I can name that tune in 5 notes,&quot; you may find yourself thinking, &quot;I can add a new contact to Outlook with just two keystrokes!&quot; The key is a clever program called Anagam that enables you to quickly add onscreen information &mdash; without manual transcription &mdash; into your contact manager or CRM.
Tax

Free Microsoft Excel-Based 1040 Form Available

By David H. Ringstrom, CPAJust in time for tax season, Glenn Reeves of Burlington, Kansas has created a free Microsoft Excel-based version of the 2008 U.S. Individual Tax Return, commonly known as Form 1040. The spreadsheet includes both pages of Form 1040, as well as these supplemental schedules:&nbsp;

Pages