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June 2020 - Inciter
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Your Data Ducks Are Wandering All Over the Place. Get Them Lined Up To Maximize Your Technology Resources

You want data at your fingertips, when you need it, in the right format. Who doesn’t? But often when you go to get reports, the data is siloed and you can’t bring it together, or some of it’s missing, or it’s not accurate, or you don’t know what to make of it. Maybe you think technology is the answer. It’s understandable. Machine learning. Artificial intelligence. Big data. There is all this amazing technology out there that can make cleaning, analyzing and reporting on data so much easier. Data warehouses, data lakes, and pipelines make it easier to bring all those siloes together into one place without making everyone use a new data system. While these tools can do amazing things, if you don’t have your ducks in a row in terms...

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What is Sketchnoting and Why Should You Try It?

Tired and unfocused during long meetings? I’m going to help you with that.Last week, I had a seven hour Zoom conference call, with about 20 people in it. (I know. I know.) It was necessary, and all parties were actively engaged, and needed to be. This was an author’s retreat for a large research project, where Inciter is serving as the data visualization team. It was important that I stay engaged, not space out, and listen to the findings, the nuances, the decisions people were making. Because I knew I would be called on to do sketches later in the meeting and help them think through how to represent some of the findings.But it’s hard. I don’t think of myself as someone with a squirrel brain, but during meetings that...

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Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 8: Final Summary & Data Cleaning Guide

This is the eighth and final post in our Data Cleaning in Excel blog post series. As the series comes to a close, we’d like to take an opportunity to organize and recap material we’ve covered. We’ll review some of the useful Excel functions we’ve used, and provide some guidance for incorporating the techniques into your data cleaning routine.Every dataset has its own issues. Our posts in this series have been written to address ad-hoc common problems. We advise referencing this post as you go through your data with the understanding that not everything here will be applicable to your dataset. Also, keep in mind that you’ll always run into unique challenges, and this isn’t an exhaustive list of commands for squeaky-clean data.When you’re presented with a raw, messy sheet...

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Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 7: Managing Blank Cells

In this part of our data cleaning series, we’ll be focusing on managing blank cells. There isn’t a singular approach to handling blank cells in your dataset. Because there are numerous reasons why a cell might be blank, context is key when determining how to fill them. Sometimes, you’ll need to fill every blank cell in your data with the same constant. Other times, you’ll pick up clues as to what should be there from the surrounding data.This is Part 7 in our Data Cleaning in Excel 101 series. Part 1 showed methods of removing blank rows from your data. Part 2 focuses on splitting data from one cell to multiple cells. Part 3 covers the opposite: combining data from multiple columns into one column. In Part 4, we discussed...

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