Announcing Tiller's 2022 Microsoft Excel Builders Challenge

Originally published at: Announcing Tiller's 2022 Microsoft Excel Builders Challenge - Tiller

Tiller is excited to announce our first-ever Microsoft Excel Builders Challenge. We begin accepting your amazing workflows, visualizations, templates, and helpers starting… right… now!

The Excel Builders Challenge aims to inspire the creation of new spreadsheet-based solutions that empower people with greater understanding, confidence, and control of their financial lives. The challenge also showcases the creativity and skills of Excel spreadsheet enthusiasts across the United States.

Prizes include merchandise and swag, annual Tiller subscriptions, gift cards, and cash rewards.

About the 2022 Microsoft Excel Builders Challenge

If you remember Tiller’s previous Builders Challenges, this one is a bit different. Rather than accepting entries and reviewing them at the end of a submission period, we will now award prizes within 5 business days of builder submissions.

Prize level will be determined based on the quality, ambition, and value of your solution.

Simplified Schedule Kicks off Today

The Excel Builders Challenge kicks off today, and we are now accepting submissions. Submissions are open until June 6, 2022.

The sooner you share your Tiller-powered Excel creation, the sooner you can claim your prize. We can’t wait to see what you build! Prize levels, awarded at Tiller’s discretion, include:

  • Tiller t-shirt
  • $25 gift card
  • 1-year Tiller subscription extension
  • $100 gift card
  • $500 cash
  • $1,000 cash

Judging Criteria

Prizes will be awarded by Tiller’s judging panel based on:

  • Value of concept to the personal-finance community
  • Value & quality of Tiller integration
  • Uniqueness of concept vision
  • User experience & usability

Examples of Compelling Solutions

tiller monthly budget excel

Solutions could include a new worksheet that can be inserted into the Tiller Foundation Template, a workflow that uses the Foundation Template to accomplish something valuable, or a stand-alone workbook that leverages our feeds. Solutions should:

  • Empower people with greater understanding and control of their financial situation.
  • Solve specific personal finance riddles
  • Showcase what’s possible in a spreadsheet (specifically Excel for this challenge)
  • Function reliably & performantly with clean design and formulas
  • Include helpful documentation (video is a plus!)

Looking for inspiration? Check out what’s been built already with Tiller and Google Sheets. The Show and Tell here in the Community has workflows and solutions shared by novices and experts, and the Solutions Gallery here has best-in-class examples of highly polished Community Solutions.

Requirements for Prize Consideration

  • Your solution must enhance the value Tiller’s transaction and/or balance data feeds
  • Your solution must be built for Microsoft Excel
  • Your solution must be fully compatible with Tiller’s worksheet & column conventions, including the Excel tables in the Transactions, Categories and Balance History sheets (download the latest version of the Tiller Foundation template to see how these tables are implemented)
  • Solution must be posted as a new topic in the Tiller Community’s Excel / Show & Tell category with the tag “builder-challenge” between 4/25/22 and 6/6/22
  • Your solution must identify and provide a workflow, solution or visualization to a common personal finance challenge. The topic must contain basic descriptive and instructional content for a user to understand the purpose of, be able to install, and use your solution.
  • Your solution must use Excel’s structured references to core data columns so that it can be installed in other users’ sheets and properly reference essential data.
  • Your solution cannot use scripts
  • Your solution does not integrate or use 3rd-party apps
  • You, the builder, are based in the U.S. and over the age of 18
  • Though you, the builder, will maintain ownership, copyright, and any other kinds of rights to the content, you grant Tiller an unlimited, non-exclusive license to use the resulting content, and/or portions of the content or derivatives of the content, in any way and for any purpose as Tiller solely determines
  • Only the first submission per contributor will be considered for prizes. If you’d like to submit additional entries for prize consideration, DM @randy in the Tiller Community.

Reply below if you have questions.

Hey @randy , will data modelling in Power Query count as scripting? It’s built-in to Excel 2016+, and available as an add-on apparently for 2010 Professional Plus (my stomach churned at the old “Pro”, “Pro Plus”, “Home”, … MS Product Naming schemes, :clap: MS improving that, “Windows 10” and “Windows 10 Pro” is perfect :+1:).

*Source: www (dot) howtoexcel (dot) org how-to-install-power-query

I made a proof-of-concept PowerBI Connector for Moodle, to analyze my son’s Grade’s in near real-time, with far more info available than the school login website shows. Really wrapped my head around Power Query.

This morning, after starting a competition entry, in hopes of winning or impressing the Tiller Team, (yes, all ~16 of you, according to LinkedIn), I stumbled on a familiar looking Power Query editor window in Excel by accident. I believe I was messing with Named Ranges. Anyways, BLEW MY MIND :exploding_head:

I am working on a Data Importer, and future Exporter (pre-defined CSV formats, Quicken QIF, Quickbooks QFX/OFX, Moneydance, Moneyspire, ledger-cli (:crown: of data sovereignty in my mind), etc…).

Biggest thing, that actually finally led me to Tiller, is that www.EQBank.ca DOES NOT OFFER AN OFX DOWNLOAD, or a standard CSV. Their date format is ‘02 FEB 22’ or something like that. Quicken won’t import, Quickbooks won’t, Moneydance, Moneyspire, but I think PocketSmith might have (my pick after Tiller at the moment).

Anywho, ummm, man. I have been at this all day, plus finished wall trim in my garage :slight_smile: :sleeping:

Right… so that led me to reconstructing the Tiller Transactions Worksheet into a a Power Query Table, along with an ImportSource sheet/table, and a column mapping sheet/table/query that I am still working out issues with, but still a week to go.

You can see my entries #WIP repo at

github
/gsteve3/tiller-challenge-2022

There is some sensitive account info in there that I will scrub, but it’s a semi-dummy account so no biggie.

Anyways, my mind was blown again when I realized there was no need for an IMPORT button, since the mappings were all being done on the fly in Excel Power Query transformations, merges, Table.GroupBy (to de-dupe entries), etc…

Am I onto something here?

Before this challenge, I found Tiller, in my ~3 weeks of using it now, limiting compared to the several other options I have reviewed, some listed in my previous sentences, is ANALYTICS and a MOBILE APP.

I was going to use Microsoft Power BI to create some beautiful, mobile friendly (portrait and landscape custom), themeable, Power BI Dashboards that could be live refreshed thanks to Microsoft 365 and OneDrive.

Wow, okay, anyway…

TLDR;

Can Excel’s Power Query be used as part of this challenge? Is it considered scripting? Is it good? Can I haz job yet?