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Online, he’s known as Mr. Excel, but offline, he’s better known as Bill Jelen, a real-life Excel expert. Bill has over 18 years of spreadsheet experience. He has been doing Excel consulting since 1998 and it is now his full-time gig.

 


Better known online as Mr. Excel, Bill Jelen is the brains behind MrExcel.com.

Bill works with clients all over the world, designing custom Excel applications, solving their Excel emergencies and providing tips and hints that help Excel users get the most out of their spreadsheet applications. 

When he first launched MrExcel.com, Bill had no idea it would take off the way it did. When he received his first two questions five days after the site went live, he didn’t know the answer to either one! He forced himself to learn Excel from his user’s perspective, using the program in ways that were new to him. 

By relating to other Excel users rather than programmers, he firmly believes that there are two ways to program every application. There is an easy and a right way. He’d much rather spend the extra time to give his clients the right solutions that save more time over the long haul than give them the easy solutions that will consume more of the clients’ time than they should.

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He first became interested in spreadsheets while attending the University of Notre Dame. 

During his junior and senior years, Bill was a teaching assistant. He administered a research project that tested whether people learned Lotus 1-2-3 better by video instruction or by interactive laser discs. As part of this project, Bill gave the participating students the world's hardest test and graded the results.

While grading the tests, he realized that not one student scored higher than 60%. From that point on, Bill set out to go through the test and learn the answer to every question, becoming the smartest spreadsheet guy around. So that’s what he did and a spreadsheet expert was born. 

It would still be a few years before MrExcel.com was developed, but during that time, Bill worked as a programmer writing Cobol programs for a company called Telxon. When the company purchased a query tool for the finance department, he jumped from the MIS department to the Finance department in order to use this fourth generation query tool. 

Bill worked with this tool, running queries. However, the tool didn’t work the way it was supposed to, so he set out to find a way to run the query in the 4th generation language tool, take the data he needed into Lotus 1-2-3 and find a way to summarize and format it. After doing this for eight hours a day, year after year, he learned the ins and outs of spreadsheets and became Telxon’s “go-to guy” for spreadsheet help.

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  • Didn’t know the answers to the first two questions that were posted to the site
  • Once won $1,000 for stopping an electric fan with his tongue at a local Stupid Human Tricks competition
  • Designed a method in Lotus 1-2-3 to arrange rock and roll tunes for the player piano.
  • Helped a client in Australia cut a 40-hour-a-month task into a 4-minute process
  • Worked with a woman in Kentucky who used Excel to draw weaving patterns
  • Has over 18 years of Lotus/Excel experience 
  • 10 years of real life experience as a financial analyst, including budgeting and forecasting 
  • Expert in Excel VBA 
  • Degree from the University of Notre Dame

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