Cast your Android screen to Windows 10 – No apps, no cables

If you have an Android phone and you have Windows 10 on your computer, you can project your screen from your phone onto your computer’s screen with no extra apps no cables. These steps and the accompanying screen shots are from a Samsung Galaxy S6.

Smart View

First, take your finger and swipe down from the top of your phone. Swipe down again and you’ll see some of these built-in apps. Swipe to the right and what you’re looking for is Smart View. Press Smart View with your finger and it’s going to start projecting your phone.

Smart View
Smart View

 

Now go back to your computer. Type the Windows key and then type connect into box where you cursor is waiting at the bottom of the Start menu. After you type a few letters, the Connect app will be selected. Press enter to start it.

Search for Connect
Search for Connect
Connect app
Connect app

The Connect app will search for your phone’s signal that is being projecting by Smart View. Your phone and your computer will look for each other and then connect. That’s all. Two steps and we’re already pretty much done. You’ve projected your Android phone screen on to a computer running Windows 10.

Connect on the desktop
Connect on the desktop

Filter data in Google Sheets on a mobile device

-UPDATE- As of November 2016, their is a “Create a filter” option in the menus for Google Sheets on an iPad. You can find it by clicking the three vertically algined dots in the upper right hand corner of your spreadsheet. The tips below still apply to using the FILTER function, but it is not your only choice for filtering on an iPad now.

Most spreadsheet users are used to performing all of their functions through the menus with the click of a mouse.  However, today’s mobile versions of these programs offer very few options through their menus.  The FILTER function, much like the SORT function function, is one of those options that lost its coveted menu spot and has been relegated to the list of functions that must be typed in or found in the list of every function available in Sheets.  

Before you enter your filter formula, you will want to select a cell that will be the upper left most cell for the filtered list. This function writes the data below and to the right of your starting point.  Once you find the right cell, enter the command using the following syntax:

=FILTER(range, condition1, [condition2, ...])

In the formula above, FILTER is the name of the function, range is the table of data that you want to be filtered, and the conditions are how you want it to be sorted.

Video explanation

Find more information on the FILTER function at Sheetshelp.com.

One column

Let’s start with a simple example in the image below. one column of data with filter formula typed but not yet appliedThis is a small list of data. For whatever reason, you find the need to filter it. A list this small would be easier to just manipulate by deleting what you don’t want, but it is kept simple so the illustrations can get right to the point.

flitered one column

As you can see, the filter function creates a new list with just the data left that you specified.  Be aware that the formula still remains in the cell in which you typed it. If you want to keep the data in this new list, you may want to consider copying it and pasting it as values. This will fix it in place even if the original data is changed.

Two columns

Next, let’s sort the table based on criteria that resides in neighboring cells.  Select both rows and use the second field of the formula for the sort criteria of b1:b4=”b”.

=FILTER(al:b4,b1:b4="b")

 

a filter based on two columns not applied yet

This will create a new, filtered list with just the rows that contain the letter “b” in the second column.  Again, the filtered data is still dynamic.  If you change anything in the original list to be sorted, the new sorted list will also change.

two filtered columns showing the result of the formula

Three columns

You can also filter a table based on multiple criteria. The picture below is showing an easy example of this. The formula works as an AND statement, meaning that both conditions need to be TRUE in order for the data to be output by the function.

three columns formula not yet applied

The output of this formula is as follows.  The function only kept the data that had a “b” in column B AND a 3 in column C.

filtered three columns

Follow image below for the live Google Sheet with this data

docs share icon

Conclusion

Having the filter function available, even it is not in the menus, can be quite handy when you are working on a mobile device.  For larger sets of data, the filter function can be faster and more accurate than sorting data manually.  Enjoy and happy spreadsheeting to you all.

Sort data in Google Sheets on a mobile device

-UPDATE- As of November 2016, their is a “Create a filter” option in the menus for Google Sheets on an iPad. You can find it by clicking the three vertically algined dots in the upper right hand corner of your spreadsheet. The tips below still apply to using the SORT function, but it not your only choice for sorting and filtering on an iPad now.

If you are looking for the SORT function in Google Sheets’ mobile app, good luck.  Much like the FILTER function in mobile Google Sheets, it has been relegated to the list of functions that must be typed in or found in the list of functions available in Sheets.  

Before you enter your SORT formula, you will want to select a cell in which to type it that will be the upper left most cell for the filtered list. This function write the data below and to the right of your starting point.  Once you find the right cell, enter the command using the following syntax:

=SORT(range, sort_column, is_ascending, [sort_column2, is_ascending2, ...])

In the formula above, SORT is the name of the function, range is the table of data that you want to be filtered, sort_column is the column by which you are sorting, and is_ascending is a true/false field to determine if you want the data sorted in ascending or decending order.  A value of TRUE for is_ascending would sort the data in ascending order (i.e. 1,2,3 or a,b,c).

Video explanation

Find more information on the SORT function at sheetshelp.com


One column

Let’s start with a simple example in the image below.

one column sort formula

This is a small list of data. For whatever reason, you find the need to sort it.  Above is the data with the formula typed in a cell below it.  Below it the result after entering the formula. 

 

 

one column sort result

As you can see, the sort function creates a new list sorted by the parameters that you specified.  Be aware that the formula still remains in the cell in which you typed it. If you want to keep the data in this new list, you may want to consider copying it and pasting it as values. This will fix it in place even if the original data is changed.

Two columns

Next, let’s sort a table with two columns.  Select both rows, specify that you want to sort by the second row, and in decsending order..

=SORT(a15:b17,2,false)

 

two column sort formula

This will create a new, sorted list.  Again, the filtered data is still dynamic.  If you change anything in the original list to be sorted, the new sorted list will also change.

two column sort result

Three columns

You can also specify a second column by which to sort data and a secondary level of orgainizing data.  The picture below is showing an easy example of this.

three column sort formula

The output of this formula is as follows.  You can see that it sorted first by type of animal then by the number in the first column.

three column sort result

Conclusion

Having the sort function available, even if it is not in the menus, can be quite handy when you are working on a mobile device.  For larger sets of data, the sort function can be faster and more accurate than sorting data manually.  Enjoy and happy spreadsheeting to you all.

Create a checkbook with a spreadsheet

Choose your spreadsheet program

There are several free options for online spreadsheet creating these days. The two most popular free options are Google’s Sheets and Apple’s Numbers, for which you need a free iCloud account.  These programs can be used on a wide range of devices.  Most of the screen shots below are from an iPad.  Once you have chosen your program and created an account –

Start with a blank spreadsheet

sheets create new

 

numbers create newCreate a header row

Video explanation


Amazon in Article


Type the following values in cells A1 through A7.  

checkbook headers

  • Date – The date you made the deposit, wrote the check, etc. Note that this date does not always correspond to the date on which the transaction is posted to your bank account. This time lag creates the need to reconcile the account monthly. See how to do that in this post.
  • Check Number – This field is perhaps a bit outdated. 15 years ago, most payments coming out of a checking account would have been from paper checks. Presently, many are ACH’s or payments made directly from a bank’s website. However, this field can still be useful. You can use it simply for the checks that you still write, or you can be more creative with it and put confirmation numbers in it for online payments.
  • Cleared – This is the column that you use when you do your monthly reconciliation. You put an asterisk (or any other symbol) here when you see that the deposit or payment cleared the bank in the month in which you are performing your reconciliation.
  • Description – At the least, use this field to specify the payee for amounts going out and the payor for deposits coming in. Since it is a spreadsheet, and not a paper ledger, you can type as much as you want here. Take advantage of this. No one ever regrets having too much documentation. If you have a deposit from multiple people, write out all of their names and the amounts. Later, when you are trying to figure out if Mrs. So and So paid you, you can use search the spreadsheet (Ctl + F as a shortcut) and quickly find out.
  • Debit – Use this column for your payments out of the account. Admittedly, this is the opposite of what you would do if you were an accountant for a company using the double entry method. However, I chose to make my register this way because your bank calls payments debits and deposits credits so I find this less confusing.
  • Credit – Enter deposit amounts in this column
  • Balance – This will be the running total of your credits less your debits. Now, keeping this number large is your job!

Record your first entry

This is probably a deposit for an opening balance. The amount for this would go in the credit column. The formula for the Balance column is different on the first line. Note that formulas are started with the “=” sign. This is what tells a spreadsheet that your are entering a formula and it should display the result. The formula is simply:

=F2

beginning balance formula

This will display the value that you entered in the credit column.  Note that the screenshots are from an iPad.  Depending on what device you are using, the screen may look a bit different.

Use styles to display dollars and cents

As shown in the image above, numbers do not always display the way that you would like them to.  When working with currency, it is typically helpful to see dollars and cents even when your amounts are in whole dollars.  When you have a larger amount of transactions, having all of the number amounts display the same makes them easier to look through.  If you don’t format these numbers, 1,000.01 will look significantly larger than 1000 when you are glancing at it.  If they both display as 1,000.00 and 1,000.01, you will be able to tell the difference faster.  Also, a comma can be helpful when the numbers get larger but a dollar sign can be redundant.  If you are using Google Sheets, use the following steps to style the numbers. 

First, select all of the columns to which you would like to apply the styles. If you only select certain cells, you will have to redo the styles when you add more rows.

select columns for formatting

Click on formatting and choose cell formatting then number format.

number format


That should do it.  Now your amounts will be easier to scan through.

Entering the next transaction

Now enter your next transaction in row 3. Whether this is a debit or a credit, this next formula will corrrectly capture it and add or subtract it from your balance.  Note that the formula starts with an equals sign which is the universal technique for telling a spreadsheet that you are entering a formula instead of a value.

=G2-E3+E4

running formula for the rest of the cells

This formula is the only one that you will need from this point forward. You should copy this formula down this column for thirty lines or so, enough to give you some room to work without copying it again. Depending on what device you are using, there are multiple ways to copy a formula down. The most intuitive is copy and past the same way that you would with any other program. The easiest is to move the cursor to the lower right corner of the cell, until it changes to a different icon, then drag the outline down as far as you would like. When you copy formulas, the spreadsheet is smart enough to increment the cell references so they are always pointing at the appropriate line.  If you are using Sheets on a tablet, select the rows you want to copy.  Make sure you get a green dot on the rectangle that surrounds your selection as shown below.  This image is shown after the green dot appeared and the user dragged it down with their finger.

cells with values copied down by dragging rectangle with green square

 

When you are entering your descriptions, make them as long as you need to.  You can search through your descriptions to find things later so pack them with the keywords that you think will be helpful.  The next cell will just overlap the data but not erase it.  See the highlighted portion below illustrating how the text is overlapped but is still saved and searchable.

cell overlapping but not deleting a long description

See an example of this checkbook here as a shared Google Sheet. This spreadsheet is configured so that anyone can view it but not edit it.

docs share icon

You know have a simple, useful check register that you can access from anywhere that you have a web connection as Google Sheets and Apple Numbers can be used on mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops.

Runkeeper – 4 things to improve with the mobile Android app

Oh Runkeeper , I love you so, but I need you to change your habits

Runkeeper has proved to be one of the most helpful pieces of software that I have ever used.  At its heart, it does what anyone interested in fitness wants – it motivates you to workout on a regular basis.  The ingenious way in which it is designed allows you to keep tabs on your friends which  keeps it interesting and helps to give it users a sense of accountability knowing that others are watching how often and how much they workout.

Runkeeper, for all of its strengths, still has some eccentricities that probably should be fixed by now.  For what it’s worth, I use if on a Galaxy S4 Active running a release of Android 4.  Here is a short list.

  • Manually entering an activity.
    • On some days, I just can’t get outside to workout.  As depressing as this it, Runkeeper adds a little injury to insult by not being smart about the equipment that it thinks I used.  If I got on a stationary bike on Tuesday, when I finish using an elliptical on Thursday, Runkeeper assumes that I used the elliptical while also somehow doing it on a stationary bike.  I think it would be safe for Runkeeper to assume that, while using the elliptical, I was not also using a stationary bike.  Runkeeper should be smart enough to not require me to select the piece of equipment that I used if it is obvious by which activity I choose.
  • Too easy to delete an activity
    • On more than one occasion, I have accidentally torched an activity before I saved it.  Imagine this scene, you complete a  wonderful run while you are on vacation.  The setting is idyllic – running through a seaside village, uphill the whole way,  people cheering you one, sea spray in your nostrils.  You can’t wait to look at the run on your PC when you get back on to receive some adoring comments from all of your friends that are vicariously exercising through you.  When you finish, you take your sweaty hand and fat finger the screen.  You scream in horror as you realize that you accidentally pressed yes when it is asking you if you are sure you want to delete.  “Noooooo!  How could this happen to me?!?  Life is not fair!!!  Wa ha ha.”  Runkeeper should offer an undelete function to help prevent this type of travesty.  Life, at least for this fictional character, would be a much better.
  • Elevation change exaggerated
    •  If you are a hill runner, one of your favorite stats is the coveted elevation change.  It is fun to use the “Graph” function on your phone to look back and see how many feet you climbed.  However, after completing a run with my Android phone, the elevation change will often be much great than the “actual” elevation change.  My guess is that this is from the GPS elevation readings varying slightly each time they are taken.  This could lead to changes adding up where there really aren’t any.  After posting these runs online, the elevation seems to get “smoothed” out, with a much smaller number.  Why can’t this processing be done on board the my mobile phone?  With the power of the mobile processors, it seems like this should be able to be bone.
  • Trail run setting
    • If you have ever been on a trail run in the hills, you know that it is significantly harder than running the same distance on the road.  The same is true for mountain biking vs. road cycling, although probably more pronounced on bike.  RunKeeper has the option to specify whether or not you went mountain biking or cycling, but you can’t do the same for running vs. trail running.  It would be nice to have a trail running option.  This would allow you to track speeds and frequencies for this variety of running as it is quite different than the road.