OfficePalooza

OfficePalooza is an online competition that tests your skills in Visual Basic for Applications, teaches you new skills, and above all, ensures that you have some fun with it.

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  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 10: Skip It

    Did you like the first slide in this challenge? We hope so. The first slide turned out to where Binder Clippy has been hiding throughout OfficePalooza. We wanted to give Binder Clippy a little bigger role throughout this competition, but, well, there were some contract issues…. As a result, Binder Clippy...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 9: I Need a Break

    It’s true: we all need a break once in a while. A break from work, a break from the kids, a break from the in-laws...sometimes we just need to power down for a little while and take it easy. But sometimes this can be overdone. The breaks at work come a little too often, or the parents say that you’re...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 10: Don’t Get Ten of Those Little Red Cells

    You know, if we were a little smarter we would have made Challenge 10 an easy one; after 2 solid weeks of copying Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) subroutines from emails, pasting those subroutines into a Microsoft Office application, and then running that subroutine to make sure it actually worked...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 9: And They’re Off!

    This was one challenge that we actually had to think about. (Does that mean we didn’t think about the other challenges? Um, well ….) That’s because we were initially tempted to try and use Microsoft Office PowerPoint’s animation capabilities to try and create a very smooth, very realistic-looking race...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 8: Twenty Questions

    So were we able to come up with a solution to challenge 8? Good question. As it turns out, we wrote the first half of our solution, then put it to the test, just to make sure everything was working correctly. When we did so, we discovered that not only was the code working, but the computer was able...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 7: It’s Showtime!

    This was an interesting challenge for us. We knew that there was no simple, straightforward way to implement a countdown timer in Microsoft Office PowerPoint. In addition, we assumed that there was a way to implement a countdown timer in Microsoft Office Excel; however, we weren’t positive that this...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 8: It’s Not My Fault

    We all make mistakes, right? Like maybe we say something we really shouldn’t have said, or even worse, we write down something we really shouldn’t have written down. Or sometimes we say or write something down that’s perfectly okay, unless someone thinks a different person was responsible for saying...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 7: Switcheroo

    This was an interesting challenge. As with just about any coding challenge, there were multiple ways of accomplishing this task. For the challenges so far we’ve seen code ranging three lines long to code 20 lines long, with the outcome of both being identical. We usually would never presume to tell anyone...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 5: You Name It

    We’ll start out by admitting something to you: we messed up. That probably isn’t a big surprise to anyone. What is a surprise (and a nice one at that) is that we messed up in a way that made things harder on us, but easier on you. (Okay, that really shouldn’t be a surprise either: we have a bad habit...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 6: How Animated Am I?

    For the first five challenges we sort of eased you into all the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) stuff. This is, after all, the Novice division, so these challenges aren’t supposed to be too hard. But after easing beyond the halfway point, it was time to make things a little more, well, challenging...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Exprienced Challenge 6: How Do You Spell That Again?

    This was a challenge a good 15 or 20 years in the making. That’s not because it took us that long to come up with the challenge; even we work faster than that. It’s just that one of the OfficePalooza organizers learned about the Soundex algorithm 15 or 20 years ago (yes, back when he was, uh, 5 or 6...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 5: I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

    We have to admit that Challenge 5 took us a little by surprise: it turned out to be easier than we anticipated. (As you might expect, things almost always turn out to be harder than we expect.) Even we knew that a simple SQL query could return a collection of all the non-stop flights from City A to City...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 4: I Need a New Style

    Our initial idea for this challenge was to have you set the font in the entire document to the first font on the local computer (alphabetically speaking) that begins with the letter B. However, we changed our minds about the alphabetically part; we’ll explain why when we take you through the solution...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 3: What Do I Owe You?

    Challenge 3 was an interesting one. Not so much the challenge itself, but people seemed surprised at how little authors made in royalties. (This may come as a shock to some people, but most authors don’t make a lot of money off book sales.) Be that as it may, those are the numbers we came up with...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 4: Hmmm, So Maybe This is Rocket Science After All

    This is the story of The Challenge That Almost Wasn’t. When we first thought of adding a missile trajectory challenge to OfficePalooza (because, after all, could you really call yourself a Palooza if you didn’t have missiles in there somewhere?) we immediately turned to the Internet for help on calculating...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 3: Are You Smarter Than a PowerPoint Developer?

    What could be more fun than taking a test? OK, good point: pretty much everything is more fun than taking a test. Fortunately, in Challenge 3 you didn’t have to take the test, all you had to do was write the test. And writing a test is a whole bunch of fun. Uh, isn’t it? Well, fun or not, duty...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 2: What Did I See?

    This challenge required that you use search and replace and that you know how to call up an input box. Neither of those things is too difficult once you find the right functions and objects. Here’s the solution we came up with: Sub ChangeSubject() Dim strSubject As String Dim strReplace As...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Novice Challenge 1: Color My Column

    We gave you a good start in this challenge by having you put the code in the Worksheet_SelectionChange subroutine. This subroutine runs each time a new cell is selected. Your solution may be different, but here’s how we solved this challenge: Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 2: The Secret Word is FGJAJGSHSBSW

    So is this what real spies do all day: write Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros that decode five-word messages? Well, to be honest, we’re not at liberty to say; that’s classified information. But as far as we know, yes. So what kind of macros would a secret agent write? Well, again, we...
  • Blog Post: Solution - Experienced Challenge 1: That’s a Lot of Jellybeans … Isn’t It?

    Well, we said Challenge 1 in the Experienced Division would be an easy one, and guess what: we were right. (And to think our manager bet her manager that would never happen!) Although there were a couple minor missteps here and there, at the time we wrote this no one who had tried Challenge 1 had failed...
  • Blog Post: Novice Division Scores

    Here are the final scores (OK, the current number of virtual goldfish awarded) for the OfficePalooza Novice Division. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the competition! If you don't see your score, or you have a question about your score, send email to palooza@microsoft.com and let us know. Note...
  • Blog Post: Experienced Division Scores

    Here are the final scores (OK, the final number of virtual goldfish awarded) for the OfficePalooza Experienced Divison. If you think we made a mistake somewhere along the line please send email to palooza@microsoft.com and let us know. Name 1 2 3 4 5 ...
  • Blog Post: OfficePalooza Every Day

    OfficePalooza: Learn on Your Own Thank you to everyone who joined us for this online competition! We hope you enjoyed it! If you missed out, the sweepstakes is over, but all the challenges and answers are still here, so give it a try. Good luck! Event Descriptions and Solutions ...
  • Blog Post: Featured Product of the Day Archive

    The best way to solve the challenges in OfficePalooza, and to continue learning long after OfficePalooza has ended, it to take a look at the great resources listed here. Don’t forget to also look at the Solutions for the Advanced Business Users of Office page for all sorts of great information about...
  • Blog Post: Challenge Descriptions and Solutions

    Here are links to all challenges and their solutions. Try not to peek at the solutions before you give the challenges a try! Novice Challenges Description Solution 1 Color My Column Challenge 1 2 What Did I See? ...
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