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Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 4: More Uses for Flash Fill

Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. In Parts 2, 3, and 4 of our Data Cleaning in Excel series, we’ll show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excel’s powerful “Flash Fill” shortcut.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. Here, in Part 4, we’ll showcase some incredibly useful and time-saving tricks with the mystical powers of Excel’s “Flash Fill” function.Flash Fill is the mind-reading short-cut us data folks have been waiting for. It works by analyzing your data entries, detecting a pattern, and then filling in the rest for you.Here,...

Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 3: How to Combine Columns in Excel

Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. In Parts 2, 3, and 4 of our Data Cleaning in Excel series, we’ll show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excel’s powerful “Flash Fill” shortcut.Part 2 focuses on splitting data from one cell to multiple cells. Here, in Part 3, we’ll cover the opposite: combining data from multiple columns into one column. Coming up in Part 4, we’ll showcase some incredibly useful and time-saving tricks with the mystical powers of Excel’s “Flash Fill” function.Combining Data from Multiple ColumnsIn our last blog post, we went over how to break apart data that has been exported into just one cell. What about...

What’s Better, Faster, and Cheaper than a New Data System?

“We need a new data system”. The stuff of dreams and nightmares. Whether you aren’t storing the right data in your system, or you can’t get what you want out of it, you either have considered a new data system, or you were in the process of implementing one.So you got everyone on board, figured out what you needed out of a data system, did an inventory of your current systems, lined up the funding, and then …coronavirus. There’s a lot of uncertainty going around. We don’t know whether we need to disinfect our mail. We’re not sure how often (or whether) we should be going to the grocery store. No one can say for sure whether this pandemic has peaked or not or when the second wave will be....

Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 2: How to Split Columns in Excel.

Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. Over the next 3 parts in our Data Cleaning in Excel series, we’ll show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excel’s powerful “Flash Fill” shortcut. 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. Part 4 showcases some incredibly useful and time-saving things you can do with the mystical powers of Excel’s “Flash Fill” function.Classic Methods and an Introduction to Excel’s Magical Mind-Reading Shortcut “Flash Fill”While straightening up datasets, you may encounter cells containing text strings of data that need to be organized into multiple...

Four Ways to Further Your Data Analysis Right Now

At the risk of adding more peer pressure to be productive right now, I wanted to propose to those of you responsible for the data maturity of your organization (this includes CTOs, CIOs, database managers, data analysts, and other data nerds) that there ARE things you can do right now, in the middle of all this, that will make your organization stronger when it’s all over. You might be feeling like you can’t possibly move forward with anything data-related, because of the uncertainty ahead. But, this could be the perfect time to tackle things you normally don’t have time for. Consider doing one of the following things if:You have data. You aren’t sure how clean it is. You KNOW it’s not that clean. You have a backlog of “data projects”...

Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 1: How to Delete Empty Rows in Excel!

At Inciter, we use many tools to clean data. Google Sheets and Excel are widely available and powerful tools for basic data cleaning of small to medium data sets. In this series, we will describe different methods for cleaning data that have common problems such as blank rows, duplicates, multiple values in one column, data split into too many columns, leading zeroes, numbers that don’t act like numbers, basic data recoding, and comparing two versions of a spreadsheet. Method #1: Sort them out.Excel’s column sort function won’t order blank cells. If it makes sense to organize your data by a certain column, (i.e. date from newest to oldest), you can sort the entire sheet and watch the completely blank rows fall off. Just be sure all of your data is...

How to Feel Better. Just a Little.

I’ve always been fascinated with neuroscience and how our brains work. Mine, especially. So last year, because I apparently can’t stop going back to school, I got a certificate in brain-based coaching from the Neuroleadership Institute. What I learned there about how our brains work got me thinking about how they are responding to the current situation with COVID-19. I thought it might be helpful to share some reasons why you may be feeling the way you are (aside from the obvious) and present just a few things you could do to help your brain calm down, and to help you and everyone around you feel a bit better while getting through this pandemic. To get extra help and insight, I contacted Dr. Fran Appler, a licensed psychologist who has...

When Is Building a Form the Wrong Answer?

One of our core values here at Inciter is “Get it Done”. When our clients email us, we email them back. When they have a problem, whether it’s a messy data set or help thinking through their data strategy, we show up. So when a client that is using our data system asked me the other day to build a form for them, my first thought was, “You’ve got it!”. I asked them what the form should look like, and thought about how it connected to the rest of their data. Not just the data in our system but all the data they collect and use. This client is part of a collaborative effort that involves many other nonprofit organizations and government agencies. They all have to work together not only...

Data Maturity Part II: How Grown Up Are You?

Data Maturity StagesIn Part I of this blog series, I introduced the concept of data maturity, its importance to organizations, and steps for becoming data mature. Today, we’ll tackle the ways in which organizations can be thought of as existing in different stages of data maturity and how you may move through them. Particularly relative to reporting, knowing where you are on the data maturity scale will help you identify the right approach and the right tools to move forward. Early Phases: Piloting and Building Phase I: Piloting (Infancy)Your data is new and cute, but you can’t really leave it alone when you go out for dinner. You may be collecting some basic data, but you haven’t created a data strategy and made clear decisions about what you are collecting and why....

Data Maturity Part I

I was introduced to the term “data maturity” by Karen Graham, Maddie Grant, and Jenn Taylor at their 2019 GoodTech Fest presentation. (If you don’t know about GoodTech Fest, check out my blog post on it here and consider going in 2020! It’s a great, reality-based conference about measuring what matters in the nonprofit sector.)I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of data maturity, and how we can help organizations build capacity to provide data for themselves and to funders. I think about this all the time, of course, but data maturity provides another, very useful concept to hang some ideas on. It got me thinking about why some of our clients seem able to collect and use data better than others, and also about what it takes for...