Sean's Technology and Writing Blog

Download a free sampler PDF from 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

29 January 2021


Photo of 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel, with a mug that says I heart spreadsheets on itI'd like to invite you to download a free sample of 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel to see the first ten pages of tips. The book is celebrating its first anniversary this week.

In this free sample, you'll learn:

  • How to speed up data entry with Auto Fill in Excel
  • How to fill a range to match the size of neighbouring columns
  • How to use Flash Fill to get Excel to complete a pattern of data entry for you. Teach it, for example, how to split first names and surnames, and it can do the rest automatically. This is magic!
  • How to adjust column widths and row heights
  • How to insert multiple rows or columns
  • Three tips for managing large spreadsheets, including freezing the title rows and columns, and using multiple windows to view different parts of the spreadsheet at the same time
  • How to improve your spreadsheet quality by forcing valid data entry, including using custom validation options
  • How to add a drop-down menu in an Excel cell
  • How to remove duplicate entries in your spreadsheet, for example to clean up a mailing list

This pocket-sized and budget-priced book is packed with tips that will make you more effective and more productive with Excel. Whether you're using spreadsheets to manage your small business finances, your mailing lists, or your record collection, this book will make life easier for you.

The book has a recommended retail price of £5.99. I remember someone once said that if you buy the Writers & Artists' Yearbook and actually use it, you're sure to make your money back. I feel the same about my Microsoft Excel book. I spend a lot of time using Excel, and a handful of the tips in this book would have saved enough time to cover the price of the book many times over.

The book is structured so you can dip in at any point, and includes cross-references where appropriate. That makes it a useful reference guide, and also a good book to read in small chunks, ideal for a time when many people have lots of competing pressures on their time.

Read the full table of contents and discover some more quick tips here, and find links to buy the book here. Most book shops can order books in for you and either post them to you or make them available for collection. They would particularly appreciate your support after a challenging year on the high street.


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Escape game from Mission Python updated

13 January 2021


Screengrab from Mission Python, showing the astronaut in the space stationI've updated the files for Mission Python in line with some small changes we made in the latest reprint. They make it easier to use the inventory (by adding a small delay after tabbing to an item), and fix the shadow image in the final frame of the walking animation. Download the new game files here.

You can find my blog post rounding up various small updates to Mission Python since the first print run here.

Mission Python shows you how to build a space adventure game, and has been popular with some families looking for a coding project during lockdown. The book shows you how to build the Escape game, and also explains how the code works so you can customise it. For example, you can design your own space station layout or create your own treasure hunts on the space station. I previously explained how to add real Mars sound effects to the Escape game, too.

If you get stuck playing the game, you can download a map of the Mission Python space station here (spoiler warning!).


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In case you missed it...

06 January 2021


I wanted to kick off the blog this year with a round-up of last year, in case you missed something in all the noise that you might find useful or interesting. In particular, there are resources that might be helpful as we enter lockdown again.

Before I do that, I'd like to share some thanks. Last year was a tough year for nearly everyone, so thanks to everyone who made it easier, with their many kindnesses online and in their communities. I had an opportunity to work on interesting copywriting projects last year and learn about many new technologies, so I'd like to thank my clients for their continued support. Finally, thanks to everyone who read my books, listened to music, shared tweets, and sent feedback. It is all greatly appreciated.

Here's a whirlwind tour through my blog in 2020:

As always, you can find my free book chapters here and my games here. If you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, you might want to check out Raspberry Pi For Dummies. It hasn't yet been updated for the latest models, but if you've got your computer set up, this comprehensive book guides you through the software and introduces you to Python and Scratch programming and electronics.

I wish you all the best for 2021.


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Credits

© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

Visit www.sean.co.uk for free chapters from Sean's coding books (including Mission Python, Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Coder Academy) and more!

Discover my latest books

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

Power up your Microsoft Excel skills with this powerful pocket-sized book of tips that will save you time and help you learn more from your spreadsheets.

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Scratch Programming IES

This book, now fully updated for Scratch 3, will take you from the basics of the Scratch language into the depths of its more advanced features. A great way to start programming.

Mission Python book

Mission Python

Code a space adventure game in this Python programming book published by No Starch Press.

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps book

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Discover how to make 3D games, create mazes, build a drum machine, make a game with cartoon animals and more!

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Set up your Raspberry Pi, then learn how to use the Linux command line, Scratch, Python, Sonic Pi, Minecraft and electronics projects with it.

Earworm

Earworm

In this entertaining techno-thriller, Sean McManus takes a slice through the music industry: from the boardroom to the stage; from the studio to the record fair.

Scratch Homeschooling resources

Scratch cat with balloons invites you to visit my Scratch resources

Sean's Scratch Resources

Tips, tutorials and free book chapters for Scratch, a coding language widely used in schools.

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