Trending December 2023 # 10 Advanced Excel Charts That You Can Use In Your Day # Suggested January 2024 # Top 21 Popular

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What is an Advanced Chart? How to Use This Tutorial?

Here are some pointers that may help make this tutorial more useful to use.

For some charts, I have a video tutorial as well. I have embedded these videos in this tutorial itself.

Let’s get started and learn some awesome charting tricks.

Examples of Advanced Charts in Excel

Actual Vs Target charts are useful if you have to report a data that has the target value and the actual or achieved value.

This could be the case when you want to show the sales achieved versus the target or the employee satisfaction ratings vs the target rating.

By default, you can not create such a chart, but it can be done by creating combination charts and playing with the chart type and the formatting.

While I have only shown two ways to create this chart, there can be many other ways. The idea is to have a target value that looks prominent and clearly shows whether the target has been achieved or not.

Below is a video on how to create an actual vs target chart in Excel:

A milestone chart allows you to plot milestones on a timeline. This chart type can be useful when you’re planning a new project and want to visually show the planned milestones during a certain period (or chart the milestones that have been achieved in the past).

A milestone chart visually shows you the milestones and the distance between each milestone (as shown below).

When I was in my day job, we used to create a milestone chart when we were planning a new project and had to report interim updates and deliverables. We showed the dates when we planned the check-in call and interim/final deliverables.

While you can have this data in a boring table, plotting it as a milestone chart helps visually see the progress (as well as the time between milestones).

Below is a video where I show how to create a milestone chart in Excel:

Gantt chart is quite popular with project managers.

It is used to for creating a schedule for a project or tracking the progress.

With a Gantt chart, you can visually see:

What all tasks/activities are schedules

On what date a task starts and ends

Number of days it takes for each task to get completed

Any overlap on a date with other activities.

Below is an example of a Gantt chart (which is about Alfred – the butler – creating the Batsuit for Batman).

The biggest benefit of using a Gantt chart is that it shows you if there are any days where multiple activities/tasks overlap. This can help you plan better for your project.

Another good use of this kind of Gantt chart can be to plot leaves taken by your team members. It will show you the dates when more than one team member is on leave, and you can plan ahead.

A bell curve (also known as normal distribution curve) is a way to plot and analyze data that looks like a bell curve.

It is often used during employee appraisals or in schools/colleges to grade students.

If you have the employee ratings data or student marks data, you can not directly plot it as a bell curve.

You need to calculate the mean and the standard deviation values and then use these to create the bell curve.

In any sales process, there are stages. A typical sales stage could look something as shown below:

If you think about the numbers, you would realize that this forms a sales funnel.

Many opportunities are ‘identified’, but only a part of it is in the ‘Validated’ category, and even lesser ends up as a potential lead.

In the end, there are only a handful of deals that are won.

If you try and visualize it, it would look something as shown below:

If you have these numbers in Excel, then you can easily create a sales funnel chart. If you’re using Excel 2023, you have the option to insert the sales funnel chart directly from the insert tab.

But for versions prior to Excel 2023, you’ll have to use some charting trickery.

Below is the video where I show how to create a sales funnel chart in Excel 2013 or prior versions:

Pareto Chart is based on the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule), which is a well-known concept in project management.

According to this principle, ~80% of the problems can be attributed to about ~20% of the issues (or ~80% of your results could be a direct outcome of ~20% of your efforts, and so on..).

This type of chart is useful when you want to identify the 20% things that are causing 80% of the result. For example, in a hotel, you can create a Pareto chart to check the 20% of the issues that are leading to 80% of the customer complaints.

Or if you’re a project manager, you can use this to identify 20% of the projects that are generating 80% of the revenue.

If you’re using Excel 2023, you can insert the Pareto chart from the Insert tab, but if you’re using Excel 2013 or prior versions, then you need to take a few additional steps.

Below is a video where I show how to create a Pareto chart in Excel 2013 and prior versions:

Bullet chart is well suited for dashboards as it can punch a lot of information and takes very little space.

Bullet charts were designed by the dashboard expert Stephen Few, and since then it has been widely accepted as one of the best charting representations where you need to show performance against a target.

This single bar chart is power-packed with analysis. It has:

Qualitative Bands: These bands help in identifying the performance level. For example, 0-60% is Poor performance (shown as a dark blue band), 60-75% is Fair, 75-90% is Good and 90-100% is Excellent.

Target Performance Marker: This shows the target value. For example, here in the above case, 90% is the target value.

Actual Performance Marker: This column shows the actual performance. In the above example, the black column indicates that the performance is good (based on its position in the qualitative bands), but it doesn’t meet the target.

Below is a video on how to create a bullet chart in Excel

A step chart can be useful when you want to show the changes that occur at irregular intervals. For example, price rise in milk products, petrol, tax rate, interest rates, etc.

While Excel does not have an inbuilt feature to create a step chart, it can easily be created by rearranging the data set.

Below is an example of a step chart.

Now if you’re thinking why not use a line chart instead, have a look at the below charts.

Both of these charts look similar, but the line chart is a bit misleading. It gives you the impression that the petrol prices have gone up consistently during May 2023 and June 2023 (see image below). But if you look at the step chart, you’ll notice that the price increase took place only on two occasions.

Below is a video where I show how to create a step chart in Excel.

A waffle chart is a pie chart alternative that is quite commonly used in dashboards. It’s also called the squared pie chart.

Related Article: Creating a Pie Chart in Excel

In terms of Excel charting, a Waffle chart doesn’t really use any of the charting tools. It’s rather created using cells in the worksheets and conditional formatting.

Nevertheless, it looks like a proper chart and you can use it to jazz up your dashboards.

Below is an example of Waffle chart in Excel.

What do I like in a Waffle Chart?

A waffle chart looks cool and can jazz up your dashboard.

It’s really simple to read and understand. In the KPI waffle chart shown above, each chart has one data point and a quick glance would tell you the extent of the goal achieved per KPI.

It grabs readers attention and can effectively be used to highlight a specific metric/KPI.

It doesn’t misrepresent or distort a data point (which a pie chart is sometimes guilty of doing).

What are the shortcomings?

In terms of value, it’s no more than a data point (or a few data points). It’s almost equivalent to having the value in a cell (without all the colors and jazz).

It takes some work to create it in Excel (not as easy as a bar/column or a pie chart).

You can try and use more than one data point per waffle chart as shown below, but as soon as you go beyond a couple of data points, it gets confusing.

A thermometer chart is another example where you can show the performance against a target value (similar to Actual vs Target chart or bullet chart).

It’s called a thermometer chart as you can make it look like a thermometer.

Note: Thermometer chart can be used when you’re measuring the performance of one KPI only. If you have to analyze multiple KPIs or metrics, you need to either create multiple thermometer charts or opt for a regular actual vs target chart I covered earlier.

Below is a video where I show how to create a thermometer chart in Excel.

You May Also Like the Following Excel Tips & Tutorials:

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10 Online Jobs That You Can Do From Home

Many organizations are rapidly shifting to the ‘Work from Home’ culture. As per experts, the culture of work from home and remote login is going to be highly accepted and adapted in the coming times. The challenging times posed by the coronavirus pandemic have impacted businesses massively and affected almost all professions.  Fortunately, several jobs can be accomplished remotely by working from home to earn well. So, let’s look at some viable work from home jobs through which you can continue making money even while staying at your house.

Online jobs that you can do from Home

If you wish to earn by working from home, here is a list of some tech-related online jobs you can do:

Social media manager

Medical Transcription

Cloud Designer

Web Designer

Software Developer

Freelance Technical Writer

SEO and Review Writers

Mobile App Developer

Online Training and Tutoring

Digital Marketer.

Let’s look at each of these job profiles in detail.

1] Social Media Manager

Social media platforms have become one of the most prominent media of marketing and brand promotion wherein the biggest of the brands are leveraging the massive reach of the channels like Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Companies are tapping in the opportunity by prudently handling their social media campaigns to influence their potential buyers. Since not many businesses have a dedicated team to channelize their social media presence via accounts, many freelancers have taken up the role of social media managers and work remotely.

In the coronavirus pandemic, digital marketing companies are also looking for social media managers who can help them efficiently plan, design, and implement their social media campaigns through their accounts on various platforms. This is a relatively new role, however, youngsters and people who have a good hold on writing catchy posts and understand the nerve of viral media campaigns, love socializing online and are interactive can make successful social media managers. If you have the right presence on social media, then in the coronavirus lockdown, you can earn good money handling social media accounts of others.

Download: Microsoft’s Essential guide to working from home.

2] Medical Transcription

Medical Transcriptionist typically works from the hospitals and physician’s office; however, with the increase in technological aids that enable people to connect remotely, most of the transcriptionists are now working from home. The Work of medical transcription includes efficiently transcribing the dictation by doctors. The healthcare professionals and people who have completed a medical transcriptionist program can take up this job from home.

3] Cloud Designer

Cloud-based applications are much in demand these days as the technology is fast growing. If you are a well-versed cloud designer and architect, then you can earn well by working from home and providing cloud solutions to various companies. Many companies are looking for efficient cloud developers who can help them manage and develop cloud apps. Coronavirus lockdown has propelled companies to allow remote working, and the demand for freelancers has increased.

Read: Free Windows Software to help you Work from Home.

4] Web Designer

Everyone needs a website in today’s times. In the pandemic situation, when physical stores are almost shut down, an online presence is mandatory. In such a case, every big and small business is looking for someone to help build and manage their website. There are many self-employed web developers in the present times who work remotely as per their convenience and earn an impressive salary. Web developers and designers cater to the diverse needs of their customers from website design, administration, and development.

5] Software Developer

Read: Security tips to protect data when working remotely.

6] Freelance Technical Writer

Help Manuals, Online Guide, website content, blogs and social media posts, how-to articles, product reviews, there are so many places where clients need skilled and creative content writers to provide them quality content for websites like chúng tôi There is a massive demand for content writers in times of search marketing and digital marketing. If you are a skilled and quality writer, you can earn a considerable amount of money working from your home without any hassles. Content writing is one job that has been performed from home for the longest time. The writers can get great value for their content by using the right techniques and developing content that is informative and unique. Brands are ready to pay impressively to the writers who provide engaging content that can drive traffic to their websites.

7] SEO and Review Writers

SEO driven content is high in demand these days, as most of the businesses are done online based on search marketing. People are now investing highly in quality content instead of bulk content. You can groom yourself as a niche writer and reach out to potential clients easily on various forums and portals. On websites like chúng tôi Upwork, and chúng tôi you can build a strong portfolio and bid for freelance projects that are high paying. You can earn up to 1500 dollars per article, in case you make an influential profile as a writer. Freelance writing s one of the most well paying and feasible jobs, which can be done from home.

8] Mobile App Developer

In the current pandemic situation hen, people are stuck at home and have extra time at hand; the use of mobile apps has increased massively.  Mobile phone games, dating apps, chat apps, and shopping apps are massively used as they are quick and handy. As an Android or iOS app developer, you can efficiently work from home and build apps for various clients paying heavily. If you are a trained or skilled App Developer, you can earn more than a well paying regular job. It is the most viable Work from home options for developers and tech professionals.

9] Online Training and Tutoring

Whether you are a Tableau trainer or a skilled Yoga trainer, whether you provide art classes or just educate people on culinary skills, online coaching and training is something that can help you earn a fair amount of money while enjoying your creative skills. During the current Coronavirus, pandemic people are restricted to stay at home. You can provide coaching classes to children on various subjects or provide training to professionals on multiple technologies. You, training online, probably the best Work from home job that can bring you the most value for your time. From providing makeup tutorials and cooking classes to ladies to taking online Zumba classes for fitness enthusiasts, online coaching is excellent Work from home option in the coronavirus pandemic.

10] Digital Marketer

Digital marketing is all about handling the digital platforms and providing the right solutions to the clients on the various platforms, from email to website to social media. With the proper knowledge of Social media, Search Engine Optimization, and website administration, along with the algorithms of various social media platforms, you can attract the right clients who pay well. The job can be done entirely from home.

Final words

Disruptions are likely to change the face of workplaces forever. With remote working being the trend of the next generations, the above jobs can help professionals build strong portfolios and earn well.

10 Best Free Word Processors You Can Use

Microsoft Word has almost become synonymous with word processors, but its high pricing has stopped many users from using its services. Naturally, a lot of free word processors have come up with similar features and compatibility with DOC/DOCX format. You can use these word processors online and some even offer full-fledged offline desktop apps. Whether you want to write or edit a long-drawn document, you can do everything using these word processors for free. So on that note, let’s go ahead and find out which free word processors are worth using in 2023.

Best Free Word Processors (2023)

1. Google Docs

If you are looking for a free word processor that can be used on any platform then Google Docs is the perfect pick. Unlike other online word processors, Google Docs is actually pretty feature-packed and supports offline writing too which can be enabled through a Chrome extension. There are a ton of third-party add-ons just like Microsoft Word Add-ins that can be integrated to bring more functionality.

Having said all of that, keep in mind, Google Docs does not sit well with MS Word formatting, although it supports DOC/DOCX format. But the good part is that you have the option to export the file in PDF format. All in all, if you generally work on web documents and want a solution that works well and for free then Google Docs is highly recommended.

Check Out Google Docs (Free)

2. Microsoft Word 365

The desktop version of Microsoft Word charges a sky-high price and Microsoft is aware of it. That’s why the company has developed a free version of Microsoft Word and other Office apps that can be only accessed through the web. It means that you can’t use the free version of Microsoft Office while you are offline.

Apart from that, bear in mind, formatting breaks on the online version if you try to import an MS Word 2023 file. Simply put, Microsoft Word 365 can be a great free word processor if you don’t have a complex project at hand. For basic stuff, it’s quite good and does the job well.

Check Out Microsoft Word 365 (Free, Premium subscription starts at $9.99 per month)

3. LibreOffice

Download (Free)

4. Apache OpenOffice

Not to mention, Apache OpenOffice is compatible with DOC/DOCX files, and rarely would you find broken formatting while moving between different programs. In addition to that, OpenOffice also supports a huge number of other file formats including PDF, SWF, PPT, and more.

Download (Free)

5. Polaris Office

Polaris Office is a pretty popular word processor and it’s strictly not a free word processor like the other ones mentioned on this list. However, the best part about Polaris Office is that the company offers a limited free version that brings enough features to suit the needs of most individual users. Basically, you will not have to pay a high subscription fee to complete your work.

If you are someone who want support for add-ons and diagrams then you can opt for the Enterprise plan which is also quite cheaper than other solutions. When it comes to features under the free version, I would say Polaris Office offers all the essential tools that one might expect from a capable word processor.

Download (Free, Paid plan starts at $39.99/year)

6. Zoho Writer

In any discussion of word processors, rarely would you find people talk about Zoho Writer. But Zoho Writer is actually a really good word processor that is completely free — both online and in the offline desktop version. What I love about Zoho Writer is that it’s quite clean with all the basic features and toolset required to edit a word document. Don’t expect MS Word level of features, but it’s there with Microsoft Office 365 version.

You can insert images, change indentation position, change fonts, choose a template, collaborate with multiple users in real-time, and do much more. Not to mention, Zoho Writer has a special engine to convert DOC/DOCX documents and keep that original formatting intact so that is great. All in all, I would say, just go ahead and create a free Zoho account and you will be able to access its word processor for free.

7. Dropbox Paper

While Dropbox is moving many of its products behind a paywall, it’s still offering Dropbox Paper for free to its users. In case you are unaware, Dropbox Paper is the company’s lite word processor where the focus is real-time collaboration, access to to-dos, and managing tasks. In addition, you can add images, videos to the document, create table, add calendar timelines, and do much more.

What I like is that it also supports adding code snippets which many IT organizations would find helpful. There is also support for bulleted and numbered list. To sum up, if you are not looking for a traditional word processor and something that brings team members on one page then Dropbox Paper is an amazing free tool that you can get behind.

Check Out Dropbox Paper (Free)

8. Apple Pages

Comes preinstalled

9. FreeOffice TextMaker

FreeOffice TextMaker is a word processor that is feature-packed, lightweight, free, and one that works really well. It includes all the three standard office programs including a word processor. In terms of feature set, FreeOffice TextMaker is right there with LibreOffice and Free Office. I love the fact that you have similar-looking tools and features which many would appreciate.

Coming to compatibility, FreeOffice TextMaker has robust support for MS Office file formats, and better Office XML compatibility. Apart from that, it includes perks like multiple language dictionaries for more efficient spellchecking and smart indentation. To sum up, FreeOffice TextMaker is another free word processor with desktop-level features and you should definitely give it a shot.

Download (Free)

10. WPS Office

In addition to having all the essential document creation/editing abilities, WPS Office includes hundreds of free templates and fonts. The free version lets you create and edit documents in MS Office compatible formats. To sum up, on the utility side, WPS Office is really good and a lightweight word processor, but on the privacy front, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Download (Free)

Use Word Processors for Free on Windows 10, macOS, Linux in 2023

6 Ways You Can Use Twitter In Your Customer Feedback Loop

Out of all the social networks where people rant and rave their opinions, why should your business still care about Twitter?

Even as newer, “hotter” networks gain steam, Twitter remains a great platform both for customers who need to reach out in real time and for businesses looking to learn more about their customers.

Why Use Twitter for Customer Service?

For any business with customer experience at the top of their priorities list, it’s still a necessity. Some of the factors that come into play:

Twitter is built for immediacy. While platforms like Messenger might offer more sophisticated automation tools and might have more users with push notifications enabled, Twitter’s culture is all about fast posting and of-the-moment conversation. It’s also much more real-time than other networks like Facebook, where the newsfeeds are more powerfully influenced by algorithms.

Velocity loosens lips. People don’t seem to “filter themselves” as much here, so you’re likely to get a better glimpse of your customers’ true thoughts and desires than on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

That’s the beauty of social media customer service – you can talk to customers easily and in real time, building better relationships with them as individuals and boosting your online reputation while still making the most of the asset that is their feedback.

What’s more, having an active support presence on Twitter pays off. A 2023 study by Twitter, in partnership with Applied Marketing Science, found that airline customers who received prompt support responses via Twitter were more likely to recommend the airline to others and even to spend more on subsequent purchases with the airline.

To make the most of this all, you just need to know where to find the insights on Twitter, and how to use them in a customer feedback loop that will improve the experience for all customers and improve your products and systems.

Let’s take a look at some especially potent and efficient ways to find and use customer feedback published 140 characters at a time.

1. Systemize Support Queries to Help Faster

Twitter can be a gold mine for discovering customer problems, points of confusion and other important experiences you can learn from. Not only can you jump in and solve the problem, but you can also use it to understand your audience’s experiences with your business and make strategic improvements.

For example, Fitbit combined customer listening with a custom system to incorporate customer feedback into product and services, as Director of Community Allison Leahy explained on the Focus on Customer Service podcast.

Here, social posts get automatically tagged based on keywords and type of input. Customers are also pointed to a Features Suggestions board on the brand’s official community portal, which is reviewed regularly by their product teams.

These systems make it easier to help customers and actually use their opinions.

You can also use listening tools to create templates or automations for answering customer questions based on frequent queries.

For example, you can incorporate canned responses for interactions such as seeking out more feedback via direct message or asking for a shipping tracking number.

2. Automate Repetitive Support Tasks

In addition to saving time on certain steps of the support process, other steps, particularly very repetitive or tedious tasks like answering frequently asked questions, can be fully automated.

Going back to the Evernote example, this company’s support team also commonly moves conversations to direct message, where they use Twitter’s welcome messages and quick reply automation to get to the root of the problem.

Since 42 percent of consumers contacting brands on social expect a response within 60 minutes, automation can save time crucial to customer happiness and retention.

3. Analyze Interactions More Deeply

There are many benefits to automating parts of your support beyond the immediate time saved on that task.

In the longer term, it organizes feedback for your product teams and other departments to analyze and incorporate. Twitter’s DM quick replies can even collect a net promoter score (NPS) rating and integrate with Zapier to either continue the support conversation or send the data to another tool, for analysis over time or for triggering message drips aimed at increasing customer delight.

You can also collect and analyze any conversation, whether or not you’re using Twitter’s official support features.

Advanced social listening tools like SentiOne can even turn these signals into useful automated dashboards and reports that make it easy to track brand reputation and social footprint over time.

4. Combine Your Feedback Channels

Another way Twitter can improve your customer feedback loop is by streamlining some of your different customer feedback channels. Between multiple social channels, website chat, call centers and email, helpful feedback can come from a number of places, and it can be hard to keep track of it all holistically.

Diversifying the number of channels in which you are available to receive customer feedback helps develop a sense that you’re customer-focused. And merging it all via a centralized service hub can make the overall process easier to manage.

Twitter even offers its own easy tool to embed a button on your website with a call-to-action to direct message you.

Instead of linking to a support contact form on every page of your site, or using a separate live chat, this pushes customers into an automated social support system like those described above.

Last year, Microsoft found that according to 39 percent of customers, the best way to deliver a satisfying service experience is to make sure people never have to repeat themselves to multiple representatives. By allowing customers to contact you from multiple places, while merging it all into the same customer support funnel, it’s easier for you to keep the conversation organized, nonrepetitive and personalized.

5. Track Your Audience

So far we’ve mainly talked about direct messaging, but a lot of customer feedback and support happens “out in the open,” through mentions. Since these types of tweets may not all warrant responses, therefore being irrelevant to your multi-channel support system, it’s helpful to have a separate way to track and analyze mentions.

For example, you can use Publicate’s Twitter search-driven RSS feed creator to subscribe to mentions of your handle, product names or industry keywords – or even your own support account’s conversations.

You can then view these in your RSS reader to review feedback and use Zapier to forward anything insightful, important, or requiring a reply to your larger feedback loop.

6. Proactively Initiate Conversations

Finally, we’ve yet to address going out and soliciting feedback from your audience and customers. But don’t just wait for people to come to you with feedback.

Instead, try to start conversations and use Twitter as a public forum or chat to initiate conversations with customers. This could be as simple as a Twitter poll to learn more about your customers’ preferences. They’re quick and simple yet can be surprisingly insightful.

Twitter Ads are most commonly used for customer acquisition, but they’re also great for reaching your existing customer base.

In this example, Workfrom just learned a key insight about their audience of remote workers. Knowing the workspace preferences of their community can help them tailor features for their remote work spot search.

And in addition to starting conversations with your customers, you can monitor brand keywords for people talking about you but not “to” you and reach out where there’s an opportunity to help and learn more about improving that customer experience.

Bring Customers in the Loop

It’s no longer enough to tweet back and be clever. You need to strategically apply those conversations to business improvements. Integrate Twitter into your larger customer feedback loop.

More Twitter Resources Here:

Eleven Ways You Can Use Vr To Escape Your Home

Virtual reality is not nearly as popular as video game consoles or smartphones, but the technology is improving rapidly. Software is getting better, hardware is getting cheaper, and fewer people are coming away from these experiences feeling utterly nauseous.

And although VR and gaming sometimes overlap, you should know that the former has plenty more to it. Almost every real-world experience now has a virtual equivalent, and we’re at the stage where you can go almost anywhere, and do almost anything with a VR visor.

If you’re feeling like the walls are closing in and you need a break from the same old scenery, gear up and let VR transport you somewhere completely new in a matter of seconds.

1. Apollo 11 VR HD

Book your spot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission and fly to the moon and back in virtual reality. You can wander around and interact with the command and lunar modules, and the Moon’s surface, or just sit back and let the experience play out. The VR app combines high-resolution graphics and renders with archive footage from the actual mission for a truly memorable ride.

Apollo 11 VR HD is $10 for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

2. T. rex: Skeleton Crew

The exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History helped develop this game, but you might want to skip those and jump straight to the age of the dinosaurs. T.rex: Skeleton Crew brings these prehistoric beasts and their world back to life so you can get a feel of what it was like to walk among them, and learn about the most famous dino of the lot—Tyrannosaurus rex.

T. rex: Skeleton Crew is $5 for HTC Vive.

3. Everest VR

This experience may be the perfect thing to help you get over your fear of heights. Everest VR

Take in the grandeur and the spectacle of the planet’s highest mountain without leaving your home. The experience will take you all the way to the summit, along five stages that match key points on the route up. Combining photorealistic graphics worthy of any video game with 360-degree videos taken from real expeditions, it’s probably the next-best thing to actually making it up Mount Everest.

Everest VR is $15 for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

4. Google Earth VR

Google Earth VR is an experience good enough to turn hardened VR naysayers into true believers. From this experience alone, you won’t actually get to stand in the middle of Manhattan or on the edge of the Grand Canyon, but it’ll feel like you are. Take a 3D visual and audio tour of any spot on the planet you like—courtesy of the high-resolution mapping data in Google Earth—and fly above famous landmarks, national parks, and cities. And to make things even better, it’s totally free.

Google Earth VR is free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

5. Island Explorer VR

If taking a relaxing drive around a virtual island sounds like an appealing way to pass the time, you’re going to love Island Explorer VR. There are no challenges to overcome, no one else to meet, and nothing to do except roam around at your own pace. It’s not the longest virtual reality experience, but it’s a fun and laid-back way of losing yourself and practicing your driving skills for a few minutes.

Island Explorer VR is free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

6. The Climb

You might get a little workout from The Climb. The Climb

While there are hints of a game in The Climb, we’re going to claim it as a non-game due to its tourist mode—though admittedly you will have to exert yourself a bit to make it up whatever mountain you decide to tackle. There are four fictional environments to explore, either at night or in broad daylight, and the views are simply breathtaking as you get higher and higher. If you suffer from vertigo, this experience may not be worth the admission fee. Though if you want to overcome it, maybe it is.

The Climb is $30 for Oculus Rift.

7. Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass

The first VR experience from the Louvre Museum focuses on its most famous exhibit, and it’s a new and immersive way of engaging with Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. Learn about the artist’s techniques and the latest modern-day scientific research on the Mona Lisa, while enjoying the artwork without any of the distractions of the thronging crowds that you’d normally have to put up with.

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass is free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

8. Allumette

Virtual reality cinema is still in its infancy, but new titles are coming out all the time, and there are some stunning (if short) stories to immerse yourself into. One such story is Allumette, the tale of a young orphan girl who lives in a city in the clouds. But because this is VR, you’re not just watching the movie play out—you’re actually living in its world, able to explore and look around freely. Expect a lot more from VR filmmakers in the future.

Allumette is free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

9. Memoria: Stories of La Garma

Virtual reality also allows you to visit places you wouldn’t be able to access in real life. Memoria: Stories of La Garma

Memoria: Stories of La Garma is $6 for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

10. Bigscreen

Bigscreen is free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

11. Nature Treks VR

Nature Treks VR quite simply lets you wander through nature, at your own speed. And the virtual sights might even be better than whatever happens to be outside your own front door. You control the weather and the time of day, can meet more than 60 different animals on your travels, and there are a variety of settings, including beaches and forests. You can even take a dive underwater or a trip into space if you feel the need.

Nature Treks VR is $10 for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Can You Play Elden Ring Early? That Depends

Can you play Elden Ring early? That depends

There’s a few cheeky things you can do to get the game early if you’re on Xbox at least.

So, Elden Ring has got some impressive reviews, huh? Now it seems that the excitement levels are through the roof. It is now leading some players to wonder how to play Elden Ring early. The good news is you likely can as long as you’re on specific platforms.

For the eagle-eyed out there, you may have noticed that most regions and platform for Elden Ring has a global release time. For PC, this means that your game will go live at the same time as everyone else in the world. Sadly, it means you have to wait until the time it comes out in your region to play the game. 

However, now this is a big, however, Xbox players can technically cheat the system. Xbox has some decent preload and launches windows. It is one of the reasons Xbox players can preload things much earlier than everyone else. This comes in handy when a game launches at midnight local time.

How to play Elden Ring early on Xbox

If you go into your system settings, press language, and location, and change your location to New Zealand, you can theoretically play the game when it goes live in NZ. It is known to work for other games, and it is why we say it will theoretically work for Elden Ring. It means if you’re a European, you can expect to play the game 12 hours earlier if you get on it as soon as it’s midnight time in NZ. Meanwhile, the US can get it 18-20 hours earlier using this method. Unfortunately, PlayStation users do not have this feature and will have to wait till midnight local time.

Other than that, there does not appear to be any other way to play Elden Ring early. You might be one of those that get your preorder through the post early, which technically lets you play the game early, but it is before the Day 1 patch. However, that means your experience is more than likely bug-filled, as Day 1 patches tend to fix pre-launch issues dramatically. It’s up to you though.

Can you play Elden Ring early on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5?

Technically yes, but is it worth all the effort, maybe not.

To play Elden Ring early on a PlayStation console you will have to follow a similar route to that of the Xbox solution, however, you will also need to create a brand new PlayStation account with the location set as New Zealand. Of course, with the new PSN account, you will also need to purchase a copy of Elden Ring, so for those who have already pre-ordered it is probably not worth it, for those who have yet to purchase go right ahead!

Note: if you do go and purchase Elden Ring on the newly created New Zealand PSN account be sure to use PSN credit that you purchased through the New Zealand PSN store. Good luck!

If you fancy some extra reading, we are building an Elden Ring hub, filled with guides on classes, equipment, and bosses.

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