07: ExcelIsFun Channel with Mike Girvin

Mike Girvin is known as ExcelIsFun over at his  YouTube ExcelIsFun channel where you can find:
1100+ Excel Magic Tricks

161+ Dueling Excel Videos

2200+ Excel videos including 3 videos by his son Isaac

Mike is author of Slaying Excel Dragons (co-authored with Bill Jelen) and CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.

He’s an instructor at Highline Community College near Seattle, WA and in a 2008 interview he’s described as a great mentor and “the king of boomerangs” in the Seattle area.

As I reviewed this Excel TV episode what struck me was the number of times Mike mentioned “hard work.” For someone with the moniker ExcelIsFun, how do we get to this constant reminder of just plain grinding it out? Check out the episode and you might agree that passion is the link between fun and hard work.

Mike is also one for sharing credit for those who’ve helped him along the way. He mentions several folks from the MrExcel.com forum:

  • Aladin Akyurek
  • Domenic
  • pgc01
  • DonkeyOte


Episode 7 starts with Mike explaining that he started posting videos for his students back in 2008 and it was easy to make the videos available on YouTube. Eventually he was contacted by Mr Excel, and that lead to the Dueling Excel videos and authorship of 2 books.

You jump in, you start doing it, you get it.
Hard work.
Mike “ExcelIsFun” Girvin’s life philosophy

(all times refer to the full episode)

12:20 Mike clarifies Data Extraction and distinguishes that from data parsing. Data extraction through use of array formulas is a more sophisticated method of filtering far beyond native Excel’s auto-filter and advanced filter.

15:10 Jordan asks about the “worst error ever” that shows up after you’ve used an array formula and Excel stops you if you try to change part of the array.

Mike then schools us on what an array formula really is and why that error makes sense.

An array formula at its essence makes an array calculation and returns multiple items. When you have those multiple items, you can do an aggregate calculation on them which means the array formula would go into a single cell. Or, you can have the array formula deliver multiple items to multiple cells.

20:30 The discussion touched on something that both Mike and I are intensely concerned about. Too often students leave schools unprepared to work with the #1 business intelligence tool in the world: Excel.

After learning all of the statistics and analysis in school, students often discover that the tools they used in school are too expensive or complicated for a lot of businesses. But they do have Excel.

Mike teaches Basic Statistics, Accounting and Math, and it’s all in Excel.

“As a teacher, your innate duty is the prepare the student to work out in the working world.”

22:07 Dueling Podcasts with Mr Excel and how they came about

47:25 Mike demonstrates and Excel Hot Tip using an array formula to handle: 9 criteria and a mix of ANDs and Ors.

Who Would Play Mike Girvin In An Excel Movie?

This question was first asked during the Mr Excel episode. And guess who Mike Girvin said would play Mike Girvin in an Excel movie? He said he’d probably have to play himself.

Well ok! I’ll accept that.

Are Your Formulas All Wrapped Up?

How To Find Mike “ExcelIsFun” Girvin

Also In The Episode

  • Mike mentions that his son has 3 Excel videos. Here he is at 4 years old showing RAND. Conditional Formatting and Bubble Charts.
  •  Aditya Srinivaasan sent an email asking about the most way out use of Excel. We’ve seen a lot of way out uses but showed Maxime Manuel’s Excel GPS with Voice Navigation. See the YouTube video.
  • At 1:05:30 Jordan asked about my experience making making dependent dropdown lists in Google’s spreadsheet. It wasn’t a good experience, and lead to my client relucantly agreeing to shift over to Excel’s Online where dependent dropdown lists are easy to make.
  • 24:07 Topic of The Week: When you build complex formulas, do you have a way of leaving comments or documenting how the formula works? Mentioned is Winston Snyder’s blogpost: Are Your Formulas All Wrapped Up?

Like This?

If you like this, please share. We’d also like to hear from you and invite your feedback. Is there something you’d like to see or do you have suggestions for guests?

 Photo courtesy of INWExcel

Oz Du Soleil
Latest posts by Oz Du Soleil (see all)


Bill Jelen, commenting in VBA, ExceIsFun, Mike girvin, Mr Excel, Season 01, VBA, Winston Snyder

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  • can you help me with my worksheet. it seems i got the wrong function. but i already followed your tutorials. thank you 🙂

  • Mike grivin doesn’t know how much I like his videos . What is Excel I learned that from Mike grivin. But unfortunately I don’t know how to ask questions to him can some one help me?

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