Creating a Book Index in Excel

A macro to simplify and speed up the process

My book was published just over four years ago and part of the writing process was creating an Index. To make the task easier I wrote a macro to assist me. Adding an Index to a large document can improve its usefulness. I am sharing the file I used in this blog post.

Free Excel Webinar Recording – Copy and Paste Tips and Tricks

Feedback score 93%

My free Excel webinar for June 2018 covered Copy and Paste Tips and Tricks. Download the materials using the button below and watch the video.

Download Copy Paste materials

The session focuses on the Paste Special dialog plus a little known pasting feature that is great for dashboards.

It covers the hows and whys of

  •  Paste Values,  Paste Formulas,  Paste Formats
  •  Converting negative to positives
  •  Fixing Text numbers in-situ
  •  Applying a Factor to a range
  •  Paste Link – how and why to use it
  •  Transpose (switching rows to columns and visa-versa)
  •  Paste Picture Link (great for dashboards)

The session includes lots of keyboard shortcuts. As always, I shared a few other tips during the session.

Printing Tip

If your sheet has a lot of colour and you want to print it on a black laser printer, one of the Page Setup options can improve the print.

On the Sheet tab of the Page Setup dialog there is a Black And White option – see image below.

This removes all the colour and prints in black only,

You can access the Page Setup dialog from the Page Layout tab. Click the small arrow on the bottom right of the Page Setup section.


Data entry and calculating

In some large models Excel may calculate for a few seconds after you make an entry.

In most cases you don’t have to wait for Excel to finish calculating before you make your next entry.

Type your entries as fast as you like. Excel will finish calculating once you are done.

Validating Checkbox Linked Cells

Data Validation and formula options

When you create a checkbox you need to link it to a cell on a sheet to be able to use its result. The user could overwrite that linked cell with a value or text and affect formulas that are using the checkbox linked cell. You can add a validation to make sure the linked cell only contains TRUE or FALSE.

Thank you Michael Alexander

Recently I learned about the passing of Chip Pearson an Excel legend.

He was so generous with his content and I had thanked him for his contributions years back but it got me thinking about thanking others who had helped me along the way.

The seventh on my Thank You list is Michael Alexander.

In more recent years some of my favorite Excel books have been written or co-written by Michael Alexander.

I like his style of writing plus he knows so much about so many different areas of Excel. He also knows a lot about Access.

His site is here.

I own many of Michael’s books in paperback or kindle.

Thank you for sharing your Excel knowledge in such a practical and understandable way.

My Excel skills have improved from reading your books.

Seth Godin

Seth’s website is a great resource on marketing and business in general.

He has recently updated it to WordPress and it looks impressive.

Lots of videos, podcasts and his over 7,000 blog posts (yes 7,000).


Thank you Nick Melchior

Recently I learned about the passing of Chip Pearson, an Excel legend.

He was so generous with his content and I had thanked him for his contributions years back but it got me thinking about thanking others who had helped me along the way.

My sixth Thank You is not Excel related.

This gentleman is in publishing and in October 2012 he approached me to see if I was interested in writing a book on Excel. I may have said “Hell Yeah!”

Nick Melchior worked for Wiley Australia at the time and because of my CPA articles he thought I could write a book.

He asked me to put a book proposal together and he submitted it and supported it. It got through and 18 months later I had a 420 page book in my hands with my name on it as the author. A life-time dream come true.

Unfortunately shortly after the book was approved Wiley wound down its Australian operations and Nick lost his job. I will always be grateful he approached me and had faith that I could write a book.

Thank you Nick – you helped me achieve a life long dream.


Stopping the Clipboard from being cleared in Excel VBA

How to check if the clipboard is empty

It is common knowledge (or it should be) that running a macro clears the undo list. In general you can’t undo a macro. However some macros also clear the clipboard which can stop you copying and pasting. I have found a workaround for the clipboard problem.

Thank You CPA Australia

My first thank you messages were directed to people who helped me learn Excel.

This, my fifth Thank You, goes out to the organisation that has helped me share what I had learned with others.

Thank You CPA Australia for publishing my first Excel article, way back in May 2002. Thank you for agreeing to do a regular Excel article in late 2002. The Excel Yourself series started out with a Q & A format.

Initially the questions were based on questions I answered during training sessions. Then I started to receive questions from CPA’s from around the world. I still receive questions, but the quantity has dropped off due to Google and the many excellent online Excel forums.

As at May 2018 there have been 170 Excel Yourself articles plus 8 feature articles. Articles now appear online and each has a companion video and many have companion files.

You can see the articles here.

Over the years I have also worked with CPA Australia in creating and presenting training sessions for conferences and running training sessions in regional areas. I have recently done a few podcasts, plus I have written extra posts and done videos for the INTHEBLACK website.

Thank you CPA Australia for providing a platform to help me share my Excel skills with Australian accountants from around the world.

It all started from that first article all those years ago. By the way the first article was about the Ctrl key and its shortcuts – see image below.

Inserting a Blank Row Between Entries

Manual technique

Over the years I have had many requests to help people insert blank rows between entries is a list. Apparently it is for an input routine that requires blanks. My normal solution is a macro because it automates the process, but there is a manual technique that is quick and easy.

Thank you Bill Jelen

Recently I learned about the passing of Chip Pearson an Excel legend.

He was so generous with his content and I had thanked him for his contributions years back but it got me thinking about thanking others who had helped me along the way.

The fourth on my Thank You list is Bill Jelen (aka Mr Excel).

Through the Mr Excel website Bill has directly and indirectly helped more people than probably anyone else in Excel. The site

I have used the site’s forum to solve many problems over the years.

The forum has many Excel experts answering questions and solving problems from people from around the world.

Bill has written many books covering most of Excel’s topics.

I own a few of his books and have read many more. He tells it like it is and is not afraid to say if he disagrees with changes made to Excel.

Thank you Bill for being so generous with the your knowledge and for your huge contribution to the Excel community.

My career is better for having read your books and used your website – thank you.