Simple Code to Find Which Excel Row is Being Modified

Excel’s inbuilt functions are powerful. They can achieve a lot. Almost anything can be conquered with these functions.

Well almost……everything!!

Recently needed a function to know which row is being modified. As far as i know, there’s no way this can be achieved by using excel’s function. This is where little bit of vba helps.

Here’s the code that helped.

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    If (Target.Column = 3 Or Target.Column = 4) Then
        If Target.Row > 1 Then Cells(1, 6) = Target.Row
    End If
End Sub

In the above sheet change method, the code checks if any row has changed in the columns 3 and 4 and if something has changed beyond row 1 in these columns, the F1 cell is updated with the row number.

Simple and small code but very useful when one wants to know which row is getting modified in excel.

The information about the row being modified can be used to do lot of things using excel in built functions.

Now think where can one use this. Stay tuned I have a follow up post on the use.

Is There a Dinosaur Sitting on Your Excel File?

Dinosaur Sitting On your excel App
I am handing few big excel data files lately and these files are loaded with vlookups, sumifs,sumproduct and truckload of loopy VBA code.

Running the VBA code was pain, excel drags as if a dinosaur is sitting on it. The files were so muddled that even the excel in-built functions to convert a range of cells to number takes 5 mins.

Trying to optimise the vba application in the excel file, I did the usual Application.ScreenUpdating = False and Application.Calculation = xlManual in the VBA to speed up all macros. This helped but not entirely.

The key to increasing speed of calculation and improving performance of your excel worksheet and VBA code lies in understanding how Excel calculates and re-calculates each cell and resolves dependencies. Excel recalculate’s whenever an event occurs (for example a cell is changed, a VBA code calls for re calculation or anything else). For each change the entire calculation process is carried out, so the trick to gain major benefit came from looking at all the formulas and optimising them.

It’s not easy but there are many fantastic resources that can help. Here are some of my favourite ones.

75 Excel Speeding Tips
Its a long List, many repeated but worth a visit.

Optimize VBA
Excellent tips to optimize vba code. You should do this before you move onto anything.

How to speed up calculation and Improve performance of Excel and VBA
These are excellent tips and must visit to know more about the calculations steps followed by Excel.

Few Toy Programs to Mesh Excel and Fortran together

Fortran DLL and Excel
Fortran 90 with Excel – gfortran example is one of the post that constantly gets lot of attention as measured by the top posts sidebar widget on this blog.

So thought about revisiting it and this post is to show some toy programs that shows how to link fortran program as a dll with excel.

I am using gfortran and the following simple fortran programs to create a DLL which is called from excel.

Continue reading

Pareto Chart in Excel

Pareto Chart in Excel
Creating pareto chart in excel requires multiple steps as there is no direct method to accomplish this in excel. Here’s a vba a script that creates a pareto chart in excel.

How to use the script?
Select the data and run the ParetoChart sub. That’s it. The scripts always assumes the first row is headers. Don’t forget that.

And if you need Boxplot in excel, this is where you should go.

Here’s the code….

Continue reading

Slowing Down is the Key…..

slow down

Slowing down is the key to increased speed.

Past couple of months I was dabbing with fortran GUI and trying pgplot graphics library. I have produced gui’s in c, vb and then integrated them with fortran, but creating GUIs from fortran was new to me.

As the exploration began I took the fire aim adjust approach!! Dived deep into the tutorials and anything that I could lay my hands on.

Quickly from tutorials I graduated to actually creating my own little programs. This went on for a couple of months.

In the beginning I was sprinting as hard as possible. Learning, doing, getting stuck, reading and then doing again. The pace was fast.

But as I become comfortable, my approach shifted. I slowed.

I wrote a program and pondered how and what am I actually doing. This slowing down and pondering doubled my learning. It felt like I was learning at greater pace with this slowdown.

So the technique I want to advocate to anyone learning a new programming language, a new analysis tool or cad software, is to sprint in the first few weeks. Race and learn as much as you are able to handle. Dive deep and continue the pace as long as you are able to.

When exhaustion, sense of acheivement begins to creep in, slow down. Become deliberate in what you do? Question why and what you are doing?

I hope applying this method will help you as much as it has helped me.

What are your views, do let it out in the comments.

Getting User Id of The Person Currently LoggedIn [vba]

Working on a side project in VBA, a few weeks ago, I needed a function to get the userid of the person currently logged in to the system. Here’s the function that came handy! Posting it here for the general audience!


Option Compare Text
Private Declare Function GetUserName Lib "advapi32.dll" _
Alias "GetUserNameA" (ByVal lpBuffer As String, nSize As Long) As Long</code>

Public Function NTDomainUserName() As String
' This function gets the user id of the person currently logged in
Dim strBuffer As String * 255
Dim lngBufferLength As Long
Dim lngRet As Long
Dim strTemp As String

lngBufferLength = 255
strBuffer = String(255, 0)
lngRet = GetUserName(strBuffer, lngBufferLength)
strTemp = UCase(Left(strBuffer, lngBufferLength - 1))

If strTemp = "" Then
NTDomainUserName = "Not Known"
NTDomainUserName = strTemp
End If

End Function

' Test function

Sub test_Open()
UserId = NTDomainUserName
Sheets(1).Cells(1, 1) = UserId
End Sub

An Excel App for Your Brain!

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 10.24.23 PM
While browsing through google play, this android app got my attention. Having discarded my android phone, I asked my friend N to download the app on his mobile.

Liked the game and then we two went for a walk to stretch our legs and give our eyes break from the computer screen.

It is in this walk that we challenged each other if we can create this simple game in our programming language of choice.

We figured by an hour we can complete the game. I wanted to do it in java but didn’t have the sdk installed on my system, so decided to use my old pal vba. Launched excel and began with my phone timer set to shout in an hour.

By stretching 5 mins more to an hour, I had the basic functionality ready in excel.

Then it took, another one hour to get this game little more polished. Though far from complete.

So here’s the result. Click to download the excel file and play

What I learnt from the exercise?
The application.ontime function in excel 2007 is broken. Was not able to stop it. So had to introduce a new Boolean variable to stop the play.

Working with shapes was a new thing for me. I have always used cells or a user form for working in excel VBA, but for this I wanted to see how to use shapes.

Not bad for a total of 2+ hours of effort and it refreshed my dormant vba skills!!

Lot can be improved in the app, but hey I have real work to do. If you want, you are free to refine the game further. or look at the code here.

Blast From the Past- 4 function keys in excel

excel_animation2I wrote the following post in 2009 at one of my old blog. Yesterday I got a comment on that entry, which led me to that post.

It’s still relevant and I think knowing few shortcuts in excel or any application we regularly use is a good thing. Knowing it lets us focus on the core of our work and make us more efficient.

So here’s full copy of the post.

Whatever you use, be it catia, solidworks, UG, NASTRAN,ANSYS ,PATRAN, HYPERMESH or any other CAE software, excel is one of the software tool that will always cross your way. Maybe for preparing some graphs or presenting the data from the analysis. For my current work, excel is tool that I use everyday in my office. So today I would like to share 4 function key shortcuts of excel that has made my life easy.

F2 the second most used key for me. If you want to edit a cell value. This is the key to use. Instead of double clicking F2 comes handy to edit those long formulae’s.

F7 spell checker. My spellings are bad, even in spread sheet I manage to get many spelling mistakes, so one click on F7 ! I don’t know how I would survive without it.

F4 is the most versatile function key of excel. I use it the most. It repeats your last action. So this can be used for many tasks. Since there is no fix action, so its programmable to use any action. If I have to delete a row, repeatedly. I select the row and then right click on it and choose delete. After than any row I want to delete I just choose that row and press F4. Similarly if I have to clear lot of stuff from one sheet. I use F4 key instead of right click and choosing clear contents multiple times.

F11. Most of the time my work in excel involves making graphs of the data and F11 comes to the rescue. just select the data and press F11. You will have the default graph plotted. Since I want a particular type of graph so I always make a default graph and use it every time I need a graph.

Do you have any shortcut keys then please do share it with me.

Fortran DLL and Excel -a 4 step video tutorial

Ever since I had used the screen-o-matic screen-cast, I was itching to use it again to create something.

Today morning finding some time, I decided to go ahead, but then stumbled on these awesome four step video tutorials on mixing fortran and excel.

This is what I was going to screen-cast, but this videos do an excellent job.

So please enjoy and learn.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Coordinates from Excel to GMSH

A colleague of mine is working on a personal project, where he is manipulating some blade coordinates in excel.

He wanted some way to visualize his modifications. After some mulling we selected open source GMSH for viewing the blades.

But this brought a new problem, how to transfer the coordinates from excel to GMSH.

Since he just wanted to visualize the 3d coordinates, I wrote him this simple fortran routine that transfers the excel coordinates stored as comma separated values to GMSH points.

Here’s the fortran code to transfer coordinates from excel to gmsh.

        MODULE gmeshGeowriter

        CHARACTER(len=255) :: inputfile,outputfile
        CHARACTER(len=1) :: leftCurl="{",rightCurl="}",semiColon=";"
        CHARACTER(len=1) :: leftBrac="(",rightBrac=")"
        TYPE points
           DOUBLE PRECISION ::x,y,z
        END TYPE

           SUBROUTINE WRITEout()
           TYPE(points) pnt
           INTEGER i


            WRITE(30,'(a)') "lc = 0.0009;"
              WRITE(30,100) "Point"//leftBrac,i,rightBrac//" = "//leftCurl,pnt%x,&
            END DO
  20        CONTINUE
  100       format((a6,i4,a5,3(f8.2,a1),a5))

        END MODULE

        PROGRAM test
        USE gmeshGeowriter

         noarg = IARGC()
         IF(noarg .EQ. 0) THEN
                WRITE(*,'(a)',advance='no')"Enter the input FILE name  : "
                WRITE(*,'(a)',advance='no')"Enter the output FILE name : "

                CALL GETARG (1, inputfile)
                CALL GETARG (2, outputfile)
             END IF

        CALL WRITEout()





























Code can be improved to transfer connect the points as lines and then to surface. Well maybe will do this some other day.

Fortran DLL and Excel – How to mesh them together

Making a fortran DLL and using it with excel has two distinct advantage.

1. We don’t need to re write the fortran code to a vb code.

2. Fortran DLL is significantly faster than the vba code.

And with all this we get goodness of excel with the power of fortran.

It is with this idea, I had created few fortran dll’s over the years and used them with excel in my professional and personal projects.

The graphics and data handling capability coupled with fortran’s numerical engine had served me well.

If you are interested in how to mesh the two, the following posts should be useful to you.

Fortran and Excel – good fit for marriage

How to create fortran DLL with intel compiler using Visual Studio?

How to create fortran DLL with intel compiler without visual studio?

How to create fortran DLL with gfortran open source compiler?

A habit and International Standard Atmosphere

Now it’s a habit.
isa in vba international standard atmosphere
If you are into programming then you might be all too familiar with the first hello world program that we all start our learning with.

This was true for me till I got into aerospace, now my first program is always the program to calculate temperature at an altitude for international standard atmosphere.

This has become a habit. I do this for all the new programming languages that I learnt. Perl, python, VBA, vb, java, etc you name it and my first program in all this language was ISA.

The other day I was browsing my old desktop and found this long forgotten visual basic excel program that I wrote 6+ years back. It’s a small program that calculates and gives temperature and pressure at different altitude according to international standard atmosphere.

Download the excel file here. ISA is coded as UDF in excel.

How to create fortran dll in commandline with intel fortran compiler?

WordPress informs me Creating fortran DLL in microsoft visual studio with intel fortran compiler is my top post of 2011!!

This is one post I did just to let people know how to use visual studio to get fortran DLL and use it in excel.

I thought I should revisit that topic again.

I believe many won’t and don’t use visual studio. They just want to use intel fortran compiler to create their fortran dll’s.

So here’s a non GUI way that show how to create fortran dll’s via the command line using intel compiler.

I will be using this make batch file to create a dll from a fortran program.

No visual studio. Just the intel compiler is enough.

The make batch file automates the following steps.


ifort /nologo /iface:stdcall /libs:dll /threads /c filename.f


link /NOLOGO /SUBSYSTEM:WINDOWS /manifest /dll /out:filename.dll filename.obj

Generate manifest

mt /nologo “/outputresource:filename.dll;#2″ /manifest filename.dll.manifest

Here’s the zip file containing the example of that fortran dll and the excel file using it.

Enjoy. Any queries or suggestion, drop in your comments.

Download the example and batch file

Evolution of BoxPlots

Famous statistician John Tukey ( created the boxplot in 1970. Boxplot shows a distribution summary in a small amount of space. In this paper [PDF], Hadley Wickham and Lisa Stryjewski look back on boxplot and its evolution up to present.

Boxplots are particularly useful for comparing distributions across groups. I was introduced to them two years back and have been using them ever since.

I think Boxplots are perfect example of what John Tukey believed

Its far better to have an approximate answer to the right question, than the exact answer to the wrong question…

Oh by the way, excel 2003 donot have boxplot by default so I have created a excel VBA code to just produce boxplot in excel. Do check it out!

BoxPlot in Excel

Two years back around this time, while working with matlab, I came across the plot called boxplot.

Liked the idea of. Ever since I wanted to replicate that in one my fav language of choice, fortran.

Well that became part of my work.

While reasearhing boxplot on google, I came across this page. Loved the idea of creating boxplots in excel.

So coded this excel VBA macro that takes in some numbers and creates a boxplot for it.

The video below shows how this works.

Download the excel file and don’t forget to look under the hood.
or for those who don’t want to download, here’s the complete code.

Count 1 to 10 game for Kids in Excel


In the April of last year, my then 2 years old daughter learnt  counting from 1 to 10. Just after a week when she first began saying one, two, three…. I recorded her voice.

Then I taught her to count her fingers, she enjoyed it so much that she always wanted me to play with her by counting her fingers… 

This gave an idea. And this download attached to this post is the result of it.

Its excel version of the game that I used to play with my daughter. The excel game has my daughter’s voice and her little fingers.

She loved this game and we had  ton of fun with it. But now she has moved on to other stuffs, so I thought I will post these files here so that anyone with kid around that age can use the excel file.

The code is in VBA. You need to enable macros and have your speaker on to enjoy the game.

Hope you all enjoy this as much as myself and Anmol did.


  1. Download and unzip the zip file.
  2. Click on the excel file
  3. Enable macro
  4. Use your mouse and start clicking on Anmol’s little fingers.



And yes, its unlocked so you can learn some cool sound playing in vba too


Fortran 90 with Excel – gfortran example

Recently i created a program that involved Fortran and excel.  The main solving was handled by the Fortran and excel provided the GUI.

I know many people search for this so here’s the small example that i worked on before going to the main program.

I used gfortran as Fortran compiler and Excel 2003 for the GUI.

Fortran program accepts and array and does some calculation and returns the values back to excel.

The excel VBA code, call the Fortran dll and then the results form the dll call are posted in excel cells.

Here’s the Fortran program

        Subroutine FortranDLL( Array1, upbound )
        Implicit None
! …argument declarations
        Integer :: upbound
        Integer :: Array1(1:upbound)
! Local variables
        Integer :: i
        do i=1,upbound
        end do
        End Subroutine FortranDLL

It was compiled with the following options.

gfortran -mrtd -fno-underscoring -shared -o fortrandll.dll fortrandll.f90

And here’s what I did in the excel.

Declare Sub fortrandll Lib "C:\TEMP\fortrandll.dll" (ByRef Array1 As Double, ByRef upbound As Long)

Sub Button1_Click()
    Dim II As Long
    Dim test(10) As Double
    II = 11
    Call fortrandll(test(1), II)
    Range("a1").Value = test(1)
    Range("a2").Value = test(2)
    Range("a3").Value = test(3)
    Range("a4").Value = test(4)
    Range("a5").Value = test(5)
    Range("a6").Value = test(6)
    Range("a7").Value = test(7)
    Range("a8").Value = test(8)
    Range("a9").Value = test(9)
    Range("a10").Value = test(10)
End Sub

Will post more in coming weeks. Maybe a full fledged excel application using a fortran dll.