An engineer should be smart and lazy. Learn how to make effective use of Microsoft Office to enhance both your productivity and the quality or your work.

If you’ve ever had to work with spreadsheets that you inherited from other people, chances are they were riddled with obsolete range names that do not point to valid addresses anymore. Getting rid of those one by one by pressing the delete button is tedious and you may accidentally delete a name too many in the process. Tracking range names down however is not too difficult using a bit of visual basic code. Read the rest of this entry »

In planning and manhour forecasting you will repeatedly have to count the number of workdays within a certain date interval. In case the dates are all fridays or mondays this is easy of course, but if they are not, you cannot just count weeks and multiply by 5. Counting workdays gets even more complex if you want to account for public holidays as well.

Counting workdays by user defined function in VBA

In MS-Excel you can easily automate the process of counting workdays by using Visual Basic. And because it runs so fast, the algorithm can be quite ‘dumb’ : just run by each date in the interval, decide if it is a workday and if it is, count it:
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As an engineer I expect you to be quite familiar with cutting and pasting in MS-word. We all know that it’s always better to copy good stuff than to produce original crap. As a second nature you’ll have adopted the concept of the “global find and replace” technique to adapt your old text to its new purpose.

There is however a quite powerful technique that is less known but which will put text conversion by find-and-replace into overdrive once you master it. This method uses the so called “codes” and/or “wildcards” to define the “find” and the “replace” strings. Read the rest of this entry »

In an earlier post I have drawn attention to the VBA addin for steam properties as written by Bernhard Spang from Hamburg in Germany. Based on the popularity of that post I have decided to make another spreadheet available that is in turn based on this VBA code.

Steam Calcs V1.0 is a spreadsheet that allows the calculation of three quite common steam operations:

  • Adiabatic letdown (through a valve)
  • Isentropic letdown (through an expander)
  • Desuperheating with condensate
Download Steam Calcs V1.0

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Now updated for KG-Tower v5.0

One of the more annoying activities associated with tower rating is the fact that data in electronic format (from a process simulator) needs to be re-entered manually into the tower rating software. Not only is this activity useless in itself, it also provides opportunity for human error.

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