Excel: Generate a random integer within a given range in VBA

The other day I needed to write a bit of VBA code that involved the random selection of an integer between two numbers. Let's say you want to generate a random integer between 500 and 800. Here's how to make that happen with VBA, storing it in a variable I'm calling randomNumber:

Dim randomNumber As Integer
Randomize
randomNumber = Int((800-500+1) * Rnd + 500)
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Excel: Use the Fill-Handle to Quickly Fill Down

Did you know that you can double-click the fill-handle in Microsoft Excel to quickly fill down cells? For example, if you enter a formula in a cell, you can double click on the fill-handle (the tiny square in the lower right-hand corner of the cell) to automatically fill your formula down to the rest of the cells in that region.
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Star-Twine Campaign Update

If you haven't had the opportunity to play Star-Twine yet, there's no better time than right now. It's a real-time strategy game for PC that combines addictive gameplay with stunning graphics and a compelling soundtrack, and it now has a whole campaign to play through. Sounds fun, right? Check out the trailer:



So what's the game like? People ask me that and I find myself at a loss for words, which is such a rare thing when faced with the task of describing a game. Usually you can compare it to an existing game, as so many games are inspired by others (or just completely copying others). Star-Twine is an innovative new game that simply cannot be likened to other games.

Each level is made up of organic twine-like structures that stretch out across an expanse of outer space. While carefully managing your resources, you must build energy nodes, turrets, black holes, sentinels, and missile launchers to take out the enemy. Easy enough? Not quite. As you work your way through the game, you'll find an increasing need to be careful about your positioning and overall strategy. Button-mashing won't get you too far.

Head over to star-twine.net to get your copy, and follow SpareGameDev on Twitter to keep yourself in the loop. Enjoy!
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Outlook: Missing Envelope Notification Icon on Taskbar

I had an interesting problem the other day when I found that I wasn't getting the little envelope notification icon for new messages in my Windows taskbar. I immediately thought to check my Microsoft Outlook settings but was dismayed to find that the option to show the envelope was already checked off. Something else was causing it to be hidden away.

Sound familiar? Try checking the settings of your taskbar itself, outside of Outlook. In Windows 8, you can do this by clicking the upwards-pointing arrow ('Show hidden icons') on the taskbar next to any unhidden icons and the clock. Next, click 'Customize...'.Now you have a window that will allow you to choose options for any icons you like. Scroll down until you see the envelope icon for Microsoft Outlook, and change the 'Behaviors' drop-down to 'Show icon and notifications'. Click the 'OK' button to close the window and you're all set.
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SCNC 2014 Opening Ceremonies Speech

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to speak to everyone at the opening ceremonies for the Skills Canada National Competition 2014 in Toronto. What an incredible event! Congratulations to everyone who participated and a huge thank you to everyone who supports this wonderful cause.



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Excel: How To Insert a Watermark

Can't figure out how to add a watermark to your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?

Don't worry, you're not alone. There actually aren't any sort of built-in watermark capabilities in Excel, but there's a handy workaround that lets you fake it. The trick is to put your watermark in as part of a header, and then it will print behind everything on every sheet.

Click the 'View' tab on the ribbon, and then click on the 'Page Layout' button (in the 'Workbook Views' group). Now click at the top of the worksheet where it says 'Click to add header'. Click the 'Design' tab on the ribbon that will now have appeared, in the 'Header and Footer Tools' group.

Next, click the 'Picture' icon. This will open a dialog box that will let you choose a photo to use as your watermark. Once you've selected your photo, you'll see it inserted into the header with the code '&Picture'. Don't worry - it's your photo that will show up in printouts, not this code.

If you want to have your watermark show up a little lower on the page, just insert some spaces before it in the header. Yes, that's a tad on the sloppy side... but this is a bit of a hack. It works! I promise.

Once you've followed all of these steps, you'll be able to see your watermark in this Page Layout view, or when you actually print out the document. It will appear behind everything, just as a normal watermark would.
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