Exploring, filtering and shaping web-based public data using Data Explorer Excel add-in:


Data Explorer let’s you “Explore” (search) for web-based public data. This is a great way to combine data that you may have in your data-sources with public data sources for data analysis purposes. Sometimes your data might not tell you the reason behind the observed trends, so when that happens – you can try to see if a public data-set might give you the much-needed context. Let me give you an Example before we start hands-on w/ data explorer so that you have better understanding of importance of public datasets. Here’s a sample that I found here. So, Here’s a demo:

An auto company is seeing sales trends of Hybrid cars and SUV’s from the sales data-sources. But what is the reason behind that? company data does not show that. Someone hypothesizes that it might be because of gas prices. So they test out the hypothesis by combining gas prices information available via public data. And turns out gas prices might be the driving force of sales trends! SEE:

if the gas prices increase, then the sale of SUV go down and the sale of Hybrids go up:

data analysis combine data with public datasets

You know that public data can be helpful! So how can you search for public data-sets? Well, You can manually search online, ask someone, browse through public data repositories like azure data market (and other data markets), there’s also a public data search engine! OR you can directly search for them via Data Explorer.

Here are the steps:

1) Excel 2010/2013 > Data Explorer Tab > Online Search > type “Tallest Buildings”

excel public data search data explorer2) I selected one of the data-sets that said “Tallest completed building…. ”

excel data from internet

3) Now let’s do some filtering and shaping. Here are the requirements:

– Hide columns: Image, notes & key

– clean columns that has heights data

– Show only city name in location

OK, let’s get to this one by one!

4) Hiding Columns:

Click on Filter & Shape button from the Query Settings:

excel data shaping cleaning

Select Image Column > Right Click > Hide:

excel hide remove columns

Repeat the steps for notes & key column.

Click on DONE

5) clean column that has heights data.

Click on Filter & Shape to open the query editor

A) let’s rename it. Select column > Right Click > Rename to Height > press ENTER

B) let’s remove the values in brackets. Select Column > right click > split column > By delimiter > At each occurrence of the delimiter > Custom and enter “(” > OK

excel split a columnThis should transform the data like this:

excel data explorer split a column

Hide height.2 and rename the height.1 to height

Click on DONE

6) Let’s just have city names in the location column

click on Filter & shape to load query editor:

A) select location > right click > split column > by delimiter > Custom – Enter: ° in the text box like this:

an excel split by delimiter dataclick on OK

Hide Location.2, Location.3, Location.4 & Location.5

Select Location.1 > Right Click > Split Column > by Number of characters > Number of characters: 2 > Once, as far right as possible > OK

cleaning data in excel shaping filtering

Hide Location.1.2 and rename Location.1.1 to Location

One last thing! making sure that the data type of height is numbers.

Select height > change type > number


Select floors > change type > number

click on DONE. Here’s our filtered and shaped data!

filter data excel shape clean


For the purpose of visualization I copied first 20 rows to a separate excel sheet and created a chart:

z excel data visualization

That’s about it for this post. Here are some related Posts on Data Explorer:
Unpivoting data using the data explorer preview for Excel 2010/2013
Merging/Joining datasets in Excel using Data Explorer add-in
Remove Duplicates in Excel Tables using Data Explorer Add-in
Web Scraping Tables using Excel add-in Data Explorer preview:

Your comments are very welcome!

Know who is Talking about YOU on the web – set up Google Alerts!


I’ve been using Google Alerts for more than a year now and I thought I’ll talk about how it helps me keep track of who is talking about XYZ on the web. here XYZ could be a brand, your full name, your competitor’s name, your company name among other things.

So why should you care?

Well, whether you know it or not, someone out there is talking about your brand, about YOU or about your company. you can’t control that – but what you can do is to “Monitor” it. Keep an eye out on what people are talking about YOU or your brand on the internet. That way, you get to stay current w/ the conversations about things that matter to you.

And If you’re a blogger then you can set up an alert for when your blog gets found (a.k.a indexed) by Google – nice! right?

Great! How can you set it up?

1. Go To http://www.google.com/alerts

2. Configure the options:

Google Alerts For BLOGGERS SEO


Here are a couple of alerts that I’ve set up:



Set up Google Alerts so that you can monitor mentions about your brand, company or just things that interest you!

Google Analytics: How to Track an email campaign?


In this post, I’ll share how I learned to track an email campaign via Google Analytics.

First up, what do I mean by email campaign?

let’s say you email 1000 newsletter subscribers a link (URL) along w/ a summary – How do you track the traffic that is generated via this email campaign? Well – that’s where Google analytics can help you track your email campaigns. One metric would be how may people clicked on that link and visited your site.

Why should I care?

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” – Peter Drucker

If you do not measure what’s working or what’s not working, then you can’t improve – can you? Let’s take a hypothetical example. supposing it’s cost you $25 dollars to email 1000 people. How do you calculate the ROI on it? Well – track it! And the tool you can consider using is Google Analytics.

Now, Here are the steps to track an email campaign via Google Analytics:

Here’s the visual:

google analytics track email campaign

Here are the steps:

1. First Step is to create an URL.

Why do you need this? Basically this URL would have “meta data” that helps Google Analytics identify this link belongs to one of the campaigns.

How do we create it? Use this web service: http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1033867 to create an URL:

This is how an URL that I created looks: http://parasdoshiblog.blogspot.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=UTDEmailCampaign

google URL builder google analytics

2. Create an advanced segment in Google Analytics:

> Open Google Analytics.

> Select your site

> you should be in the audience overview report

> From here, click on advanced segment and click on new custom segment

google analytics advance segments> Here I’ve configured it like shown in the image below. Note the name of the campaign is same as the name of the campaign in STEP 1.

email campaign track google analytics> Save segment

> next time you visit, you’ll see this custom segment – select it and you’ll see only from the campaign that you want to track:

google analytics custom segments traffic

That’s about it for this post. your comments are very welcome!