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All Show Notes from Call for Help or The Lab with Leo Laporte

Amber MacArthur, Bill Jelen, Leo Laporte, Andy Walker on the set of Call for Help on TechTV Canada.

If you've caught me recently on an episode of Call for Help or The Lab with Leo Laporte, this page will help you find the show notes. Visit this page to find notes from a past show. The dates below refer to the original airing date in Canada.

In Canada, the show airs at 6PM Eastern on TechTV Canada. It is re-broadcast at midnight and the next morning. In Australia, the show airs on the HOW TO channel at 6:30 PM with repeats at 11:30 PM and 7AM. In the rest of the world, some of the Call for Help episodes are available for sale on Google Video. All of the guest segments from The Lab with Leo Laporte are on Google Video.

  • On Episode 31, I discussed the 25th anniversary of spreadsheets, showing VisiCalc. The tips involved creating a pivot table, grouping by dates, the top 10 customer report, and using AutoFormat with pivot tables. This episode originally aired in October, 2004.
  • On Episode 33, I discussed using macros in Excel. I discussed using the relative recording button, assigning a macro to a hot key, converting a mailing list using a macro. This episode originally aired in October, 2004.
  • Next, in an episode from November, 2004, I disussed using Excel to plan your next car loan. Enter the price, term, and APR, then use the function wizard to calculate the payment. Copy those cells to create several scenarios, or simply use Goal Seek to find the exact payment that you can afford.
  • In another November 2004 episode, I discussed mastering dates in Excel. Use the shortcut Ctrl+; to enter a date. Simple date formulas that require the cell containing the formula to be properly formatted. I showed the right-click trick with the fill handle to fill weekdays. Finally, in a time sheet, the bizarre custom formula to allow you to total hours that exceed 24 hours.
  • On December 9, 2004, I discussed addressing holiday cards with Excel. I showed the steps for using Excel data in a Word mail merge and then also a quicker way to format the labels using a VBA macro in Excel.
  • On December 30, 2004, I discussed tracking maintenance due dates in Excel. The key was using the =TODAY() formula in a cell so that the worksheet could calculate today and thus how many days from today each event was scheduled. Using conditional formatting, I showed how to highlight items that are overdue in red and items that are due today or tomorrow in yellow.
  • On January 6, 2005, I talked about the Conditional Sum Wizard. I showed a simple total of =SUM(), then a tougher total using =SUMIF. I mentioned that the toughest formula is a CSE formula to total rows that meet two conditions. Luckily, you can ease the entry of these formulas using the Conditional Sum Wizard.
  • On January 9, 2005, I showed the hot new program from Microsoft called OneNote. The SP1 version of this product offered some great new features. OneNote is great for To Do Lists, Audio Notes, tracking research from Internet Explorer. We also hooked up two machines in the studio and demonstrated "conference mode" - where Andy and I could both simultaneously type on a one note page.
  • On February 8, 2005, I showed how to do automatic subtotals in Excel. This is one of those tips that is not incredibly sexy, but will save you hours of work. It is one of my favorite features.
  • On February 16, 2005, I showed some charting tips. How to create a pie chart, and then rotate the pie chart to get the overlapping labels in the corner. I showed how to change fill effects to liven up the grey background in a column chart and how to use a picture instead of a bar in the chart.
  • On episode 160, I showed how to use Excel to do some text calculations. With a row of first names in column A, last names in column B, I showed a formula to combine first and last name into a single column. This episode also showed how to double click the fill handle to copy a formula down the correct number of rows, how to use =PROPER to put the names in upper and lower case. This episode originally aired on March 23, 2005.
  • Tracking Collectibles was the topic for episode 168, but I was really showing off the cool database functions in Excel. How to use Freeze Panes, Sorting, Data Forms, AutoFilters, and I also showed cells with a pop-up picture. This episode originally aired on March 30, 2005.
  • On episode 172, I showed how to use Excel to create business diagrams. Excel has cool utilities for Org Charts, Venn Diagrams, Target Charts, Cycle Diagrams, Radial (Star) Charts, and Pyramid Charts. This episode originally aired on April 12, 2005.
  • On episode 185, I showed how to create those cool pop-up pictures in each cell that I originally showed in "Tracking Collectibles". The trick is to use a blank cell comment and change the fill of the comment to be the picture. This episode originally aired in late April or early May.
  • In a episode that originally aired on May 12, 2005, I showed how to use Excel to pick lottery numbers.
  • In an episode that originally aired on May 13, 2005, I showed how to use Excel as gridpaper for drawing out your garden.

The next 8 episodes were broadcast in the USA on G4 TechTV.

  • In the June 10, 2005 episode, learn how to use Excel for three kinds of sorting - One-Click, Custom, and Random. In the USA, this is Episode 5003 and debuted on August 30, 2005.
  • In the June 20 episode, use Excel to keep score in baseball, cards, and darts. In the USA, this is Episode 5007 and debuted on September 5, 2005.
  • In the July 12 episode, learn how to have Excel talk to you. In the USA, this is Episode 5018 and debuted on September 21, 2005.
  • In the August 1 episode, learn how to use VLOOKUP to match lists in Excel. Also =TRIM, =UPPER, =SUBSTITUTE. In the USA, this is Episode 5029 and debuted on October 6, 2005.
  • In episode 231, shown on August 9, 2005, learn how to use a pivot table to get a unique list of customers from a large database. Use the Options button on the Pivot Table Field dialog to show percentage of totals in a pivot table. Estimated USA Premiere: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 with a repeat at 10AM Eastern on Saturday, October 15, 2005.
  • Episode 236. In the August 18 episode, use pivot tables to create a pareto analysis. Estimated USA Premiere: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 with a repeat at 10AM Eastern on Saturday, October 22, 2005.
  • Episode 249. In the September 14 episode, use validation to help people fill out your spreadsheets correctly. Estimated USA Premiere: Friday, November 4, 2005.
  • Episode 259. In the October 5 episode, use MapPoint to show your Excel data on a map. Estimated USA Premiere: Friday, November 18, 2005.

The following episodes were only aired in Canada and Australia.

The following episodes will eventually be for sale on Google Video, as well as being aired in Canada and Australia.

Cali Lewis replaces Amber MacArthur as co-host for the shows taped during October-December 2006.

The last shows produced in Toronto had no co-host.

In Q2 2007, production moved from Toronto to Vancouver. The show is renamed The Lab with Leo. Kate Abraham is the new co-host. After these shows air, the guest segment is available on the show notes pages below.

Episodes are no longer shown in Australia. In Vancouver and Toronto, episodes are shown on the broadcast channels of CityTV.

Brianna MacGuyver replaces Kate Abraham as co-host. These are the last episodes with Sean on the bench set. You can see Sean's replacement variously on the set to the left of Brianna.

  • In Episode 183, on TBD, Pie Chart Secrets
  • In Episode 191, on TBD, Detecting Fraud with Excel
  • In Episode 193, on TBD, Excel in the Classroom
  • In Episode 195, on TBD, Printing in Excel 2007
If you have a question about Excel that you would like to see explained on a future episode of The Lab with Leo Laporte, drop me an e-mail. Include "The Lab with Leo" in the subject line and send it to consult @

The home page of each show: Consulting can be hired to implement this concept, or many other cool applications, with your data. provides examples of Visual Basic procedures for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. The Visual Basic procedures on this web site are provided "as is" and we do not guarantee that they can be used in all situations.


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