Holiday Gift Guide for Excel Lovers & Data Geeks

Looking for a last minute gift idea for a fellow Excel fan, co-worker, or data geek?

In this post I share some of my favorite products that I use every day while working with Excel.

Excel Campus Holiday Gift Guide

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where we earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link. You still pay the same price you normally would.

All of the proceeds we make from the affiliate links through January 2021 will be donated to charity through GiveWell. We will also be matching/doubling the amount of the contribution.

If you have everyone on your list covered, then there are countless charities, food banks, and toy drives that could use your help this year. We all have our own causes we are passionate about, so I won't list mine here. I use Charity Navigator and GiveWell to research and learn about local & global charities.

Gift Ideas

Here is a list of products that you or your favorite Excel/data geek might like. The prices are approximate based on the time of this writing and are in USD.


There are a ton of Excel books available to help learn techniques and master topics. Here are a few books that I've helped author and contribute to, and they cover a wide range of Excel topics.

Excel Insights ($10-$30)

Excel Insights Book

This book is full of Excel techniques and strategies from 24 Microsoft Excel MVPs. It covers all areas of Excel so it's great for users of all skill levels.

I wrote a chapter on best practices for using pie charts. A controversial but important topic for data visualization.

Buy on Amazon

The 40 Greatest Excel Tips of All Time ($9-$25)

The 40 Greatest Excel Tips of All Time Book

This book contains Excel tips, shortcuts, jokes, and even cocktail recipes. The content was crowdsourced from over 300 Excel users (myself included).

It's a great book to keep on your desk or coffee table. Every time you pick it up you will learn something new and have a good laugh.

Buy on Amazon

Excel Book List

Here is a list of other Excel and Data Visualization books I have read and recommend.

Excel Book List on Amazon

View the Full Book List on Amazon

If you prefer video training, checkout our online training programs.


Logitech C920 Webcam ($100)

Logitech C920 Webcam

We're all doing virtual meetings these days. If you're hunched over a laptop with a dismal webcam, then I highly recommend upgrading. This Logitech webcam sits on top of your monitor and connects via USB. It also has a decent built-in microphone.

Buy on Amazon

Pro tips: You want to position the camera at eye level and tilt/angle it down a bit so that the top of your head is close to the top of video. The Logitech webcam has a tripod mount hole at the bottom, so you can attach a small desktop tripod to raise it up if the top of your monitor is too low.

If you're putting the webcam on your laptop, raise your laptop by putting some books under it to get the camera up to eye level. You're back and neck will also thank you. 😉


I love to rock out to my favorite tunes while I'm developing a financial model or writing code. Here are my favorite ways to not only listen to music, but also block out background noise. Especially when working from home! 🙂

Bose Quiet Comfort II Headphones ($270)

Bose Quiet Comfort II Headphones

If you want to block out the world and keep your ears warm this winter, then these are a great solution. They're not cheap but are quality made. I've had mine for over 3 years and they are still working well. The battery life lasts several days or weeks for me, depending on use, and the sound quality is great.

Buy on Amazon

Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro ($130-$199)

Apple AirPods Pro

I've had both versions of these and currently use the AirPods Pro. They really are an amazing set of ear buds. They connect to Windows and Android devices, so you don't necessarily need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The noise cancellation feature of the AirPods Pro works really well for ear buds, and you can quickly turn it on or off by holding the button on the AirPod's stick.

Buy AirPods on Amazon

Buy AirPods Pro on Amazon

Tablets & Devices

I switched to digital notetaking about a year ago, and absolutely love it. I no longer have random paper notebooks that are half-full floating around. I now write my notes on a tablet (Surface Pro) and have access to them on any computer and my phone.

I use Microsoft OneNote to store all my notes. The nice part is that you can type or write in OneNote and EVERYTHING is searchable, including your handwriting.

Surface Pro ($400-$1000)

Surface Pro Tablet

The Surface Pro is a tablet that can actually be used as a laptop with the detachable keyboard. I bought the least expensive model a few years ago with the intent to only use it for note taking. However, I have used it for work as well and it's great to travel with. The screen is beautiful and the writing experience is really good.

One thing I really like about the Surface pen is that it has an eraser. Even though it's digital, you can flip the pen and erase anything you've written. This is something the Apple Pencil doesn't have.

Buy on Amazon

Microsoft also makes the Surface Pro X and Surface Go if you are looking for something larger or smaller. The Surface Pen is sold separately.

iPad Air ($600)

iPad Air

I've also used the iPad to take notes. It works great too. The OneNote app for iOS was slightly limited on features in the past, but I believe it has mostly caught up now.

As I mentioned above, one thing I didn't like about the Apple Pencil was the lack of a dedicated eraser. It's a small nuance, but really nice to have.

The new iPad Air also has an attachable Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil is sold separately.

Buy iPad Air on Amazon

Keyboards & Mice

Excel users spend A LOT of time with our keyboard and (pet) mouse. Therefore, it's good to find one that allows you to perform Excel shortcuts easily.

Logitech K270 Wireless Keyboard ($20)

Logitech K270 Keyboard

This is by far my favorite keyboard for Excel because of it's simple design, dedicated function keys (F1-F12), Menu Key (right-click shortcuts), simple media buttons, and calculator button.

The battery life is great and it even fits in my backpack if I want to travel with it.

Buy on Amazon

Checkout my post on the best keyboards for Excel shortcuts to learn more about this keyboard, and what to look for in a laptop keyboard.

Logitech MX Master 2S & 3 Wireless Mouse ($65-$100)

Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse

This is a luxury mouse. It has programmable buttons that you can setup specifically for Excel shortcuts like changing sheets. It also has a horizontal scroll wheel near your thumb, so you can scroll left/right across wide spreadsheets.

Buy Version 2S on Amazon

Buy Version 3 on Amazon

Checkout my full review on the MX Master to learn more about it's features.

Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse ($30)

Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse

This is a more affordable mouse that still has the Back and Forward buttons I like for web browsing and File Explorer. It connects with Logitech's Unifying receiver technology, meaning you only need one USB dongle to connect both mouse and keyboard. The battery life is amazing and comfort is great for my hand.

Buy on Amazon

If you or your recipient have wrist pain or prefer a trackball mouse, checkout the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse on Amazon.


Hidrate Spark Steel Smart Water Bottle ($60)

Hidrate Spark Steel Smart Water Bottle

Ok, this is the most expensive water bottle I have ever used, but I love it! It tracks your water consumption throughout the day to help you stay hydrated.

It connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and the bottom of the bottle illuminates to remind you to drink. You can choose the color of the lights. You also get some interesting charts and data in the app, which is a plus for us Excel geeks.

Buy on Amazon

Here are screenshots from my phone of the Hidrate App. I really like the widget on the home screen that has a donut chart with your progress for the day.

Hidrate Spark iOS App Screenshots Widget
Click to Enlarge Image

Happy Holidays

I hope this list helps you find that perfect gift or spark some ideas. Please leave a comment with any questions or suggestions. Thanks and Happy Holidays! 🙂

1 comment

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  • Hello Jon,
    Great little presentation. Nothing for me but looks like some great ideas. The webcam looks particularly good.
    Holiday ideas are an interesting twist to the normal Excel fare.
    Have a good holiday.

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