Excel: COUNTIF function

Counting_lemurHave you ever needed to count the number of times something appears in a column (or range of cells) in Excel?

Enter... COUNTIF.

COUNTIF counts the number of cells within a range that meet a given condition.

  1. select the cell you'd like to hold your total count
  2. in the formula bar, type your formula:
    =COUNTIF(range, criteria)
    where range is the range of cells where you'd like to do the counting, and criteria is what you'd like to count

Here's an example for our lemur friend in the picture:


COUNTIF - cell as criteria
COUNTIF using a cell reference as criteria (click for full-size)

COUNTIF uses only a single criteria. Use COUNTIFS if you want to use multiple criteria.For example, you can use a number like 32, a comparison like ">32", a cell like B4 , or a word like "apples".COUNTIF works on more than just text, too. The criteria can be a number, expression, cell reference, or text string that determines which cells will be counted.

The mysterious Windows 10 icon


If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8 on your home PC or on a PC that is not supported by SCLS, you may have noticed a new Windows icon in the system tray next to the date and time. The icon will look like the Windows logo and if you click on it a dialog box will open that introduces Windows 10 and determines if you’re eligible for a free upgrade.


If you decide to reserve your free upgrade to Windows 10 it will ask for an email address that they will use to send you a confirmation.  

Then after Windows 10 is released, which is on July 29, you will automatically get it downloaded to your device and you will receive notification that it is ready to be installed.  While Windows 10 will be available in 7 versions you will only get the comparable version.  So if you have Windows 8.1 Home version then you will only be able to upgrade to the Windows 10 Home version.  

Some people have reported that after they reserved their copy of Windows 10 that the icon doesn't go away.  There are two options to get rid of this icon.  The first is to simply hide it and the second is to uninstall Windows Update KB3035583.  Microsoft's use of this way to get the word out about Windows 10 has mixed reviews, but hey who doesn't want free software?

more SLP

The first 2 of Jean's posts to help you develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers) are available:

  • Ancestry Library - Get the low-down on this fantastic genealogy resource!
  • NoveList - Learn more about the ultimate Readers Advisory tool for all ages and genres!

Each post includes an overview of the online resource, a short exercise to become more familiar with it, and a 3-4 question quiz (optional) to check your work. There are also links to additional training materials should you want to explore the resource even more -- for example, the Ancestry Library resources mentioned in the post included everything from their online Learning Center to "5 Minute Finds" YouTube tutorials to hour-long SCLS training webinars.

Ancestry Library is one of my favorites. I love to pull up the original census records and see who was living in the household, how old they were, where they were born, their occupations and more. Later in the summer, Jean will also cover another of my favorites, NewspaperARCHIVE, which is a another great genealogy resource. Combine these with the new SCLS slide and photo scanning kit and think of what genealogy fun you could have!

The new SCLS Scanning Kit is available for checkout!

Whose cool parents drove a Camaro?The Scanning Kit is a package of 3 different scanners and a laptop. It’s ideal for patrons who want to bring in their old family photos or documents to the library and digitize them.

What the kit contains:

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 is a high speed duplex scanner that means it scans both the front and back of a photo or document at the same time. You can stack 25 to 50 photos or documents up to legal size (8.5x14) in the paper feed and it takes about 1 to 2 seconds to scan each sheet. This scanner does require a PC, which is why we included a laptop with the kit. The laptop does have DeepFeeze on it so be sure to save the files before shutting it down! Files can be saved to a USB flash drive, SD card or DVD.

Wolverine SNaP-14MP Film Scanner for scanning slides, negatives and prints up to 5x7 inch. Load negatives or slides in the appropriate tray and scoot them into the scanner to take their picture. This scanner doesn’t require a PC to save the images on an SD card, but it is nice to have one to view the pictures afterwards.

VuPoint Magic Wand hand held scanner is for scanning documents that might be in a book or binder that is difficult for standard flatbed scanners to digitize. The images are saved to a micro SD card and I’ve included an adapter so you can view the images on the laptop.

The kit is available for check-out to libraries starting today! To learn more, or to place a reservation, visit the Programming Resources web page.


Trivia Question! Can you guess which SCLS staff member's parents are in the image above? The image was scanned from a slide using this kit!

Firefox Reader View


Like Jean, it's no secret that I love reading. Sometimes I dislike reading online though. Too much clutter on the screen can really get in the way of a good read. Anything that flashes, blinks or moves around while I'm reading is getting the evil eye from me.

Firefox Reader View to the rescue! Available in version 38.0.5, one click can take a cluttered, too-busy page and reduce it to just the main article that one wants to view. It can also render a page that is "unprintable" into one that prints cleanly.

FF-enter-reader-viewYou'll find this clever tool at the tail end of the Firefox address bar (just left of the Search box). Its icon looks like a little open book. The icon isn't always there; it will only be visible if the content of the page can be reorganized by Firefox.

Once you've clicked it, you can use the icons on the left side of the screen to fine tune the font, font size and screen background color, similar to features found on most e-readers. You can also drop the article from there into your Firefox Pocket for later reading, but that's a feature for another day...

Book Podcasts

Podcasts2 It's no secret that I love reading and always have three* books going at one time. I also love listening to podcasts and my current subscription count is up to 16 different ones (I didn't know I had that many until I counted!)

Among those 16 podcasts are three book-related podcasts that I want to share with you. First is the NPR Books podcast. What I love about this podcast is that it compiles much of the book related content in NPR shows and puts it in one place. Sometimes it's a book review from a Morning Edition or it could be an entire episode of Fresh Air. If it's book related, it shows up in this podcast.

Second is the Pop Culture Happy Hour. I only recently started listening to this podcast and I've come to look forward to the new episode each week. I freely admit that I don't keep up very well with pop culture and this podcast helps with that. My favorite part, however, is the ending of each podcast where the panelists talk about what is making them happy this week and often that's a book. 

Third is a brand new podcast from Book Riot's Rebecca Schinsky and Liberty Hardy called All The Books. I listened to the first episode of this podcast recently and have several new books to add to my "To Be Read" list. This is a weekly podcast that comes out on Tuesdays as that's when new books are released. Visit the podcast site for each episode to get a list of books talked about on the show as well as others released that week.

As I was listening to Megan and Merri from the CCBC this morning* as they presented CCBC Shorts, I realized that not only do I love hearing people talk about books they love, I love listening to two (or more) people have a conversation about books they love. I can hear and appreciate the rapport, respect, and relationship that is evident between the contributors of Pop Culture Happy Hour, All the Books, and CCBC Shorts - and that makes me happy. I hope these podcasts make you happy, too. Happy listening and reading!

*I wrote this post on May 20, 2015 and the books I'm reading right now are Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (print), Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (audio), and How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz (ebook).


Microsoft says bye, bye to IE

Rumor has it that Windows 10 may be released as early as this summer. As is true with any new version of an operating system, there will be many changes. One of the more radical changes is that Micosoft will be deprecating Internet Explorer (some stub of which will remain for software compatibility) and instituting "Project Spartan".

"Project Spartan" is the code name for the new (unnamed) browser. Here's a small list of features slated to be included in "Spartan":

  • PDF support integrated within the browser
  • Webpage 'snapshots' can be taken and marked up ~ Skitch
  • Cortana integration: think Siri on steroids. (She'll 'help' you navigate the web as well as your PC/mobile device.)

Here's a brief video tour. The 12 min. video covers many things about Windows 10. The video clip here will start when the Spartan tour begins (~ the 3 min mark). The Spartan tour ends ~ 7.5 min mark.



Helping patrons with email

Do your patrons need help with email? GCFLearnFree.org and DigitalLearn.org are 2 great resources for helping patrons learn about technology. 

For more than a decade, the GCFLearnFree.org program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, GCFLearnFree.org offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free. 


The Public Library Association's new site, DigitalLearn.org, is an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded project to create an online hub for digital literacy support and training. Included in DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.

Gmail Help
If your patrons are Gmail users, Gmail Help also has an extensive collection of help pages.

Previous TechBits posts about GCFLearnFree.org and DigitalLearn.org:

Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!

New Digital content web page available

You have a volunteer willing to digitize your library's historical photos. A patron donates a treasure trove of historical materials to the library and you would like to preserve these materials and make them available through digitization. But where do you put the digitized files? How do you make them available to the public? 

To help libraries answer these questions, SCLS has created a Digital Content resources web page that includes brief overviews of affordable hosting options such as OverDrive Local Content and Recollection Wisconsin. We'll continue to update the page as new resources become available.