AI, startup hacks, and engineering miracles from your friends at Faraday

Plancha: how to flatten multi-sheet excel workbooks

This is part of our series on data science because it belongs in your toolchain.

If you work with data long enough - actually scratch that; if you work with data for more than a week - you'll run into the dreaded multi sheet (or tab) excel workbook. Sometimes the sheets are unrelated, but other times they should really all be stacked together in the same table, ideally in a more-interoperable format than .xlsx:


Enter plancha. Named for the trusty tortilla press, we built this simple CLI tool to flatten multi-sheet excel files, resolve header mismatches, and return a pipeline-friendly csv, like this:



This is a node.js tool, so use npm:

npm install plancha -g


Just feed it an input .xlsx file:

plancha -i myfile.xlsx

Happy data-pressing!

Obvious once you see it: 1-click Excel autofilter + split

This is part of our series on things that are obvious once you see them. Duh!

Excel's autofilter and freeze panes are a big reason we keep buying Microsoft Office. Add both with 1 click (hint: the smiley face)

the macro in action

Sub faraday_io_autofilter_split()
  ActiveWindow.FreezePanes = True
  Cells(1, 1).Select
End Sub
  1. Tools -> Macro -> Visual Basic Editor -> double click Module1 of Personal Macro Workbook
  2. Paste the code above (starts with Sub faraday_io_autofilter_split())
  3. File -> Save Personal Macro Workbook
  4. Excel -> Close and Return to Microsoft Excel
  5. Right-click toolbar -> Customize Toolbars and Menus -> Commands -> Macros -> drag Custom Button to the menubar (it's a ☺)
  6. Right-click new button -> Assign Macro... -> select 'Personal Macro Workbook'!faraday_io_autofilter_split

a screencast of the instructions