Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Introduction to Excel
C H A P T E R 1
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Introduction to Excel
Making the Acquaintance
It’s here—Microsoft Excel 2010, the latest take on the spreadsheet program that millions of people use
worldwide to process, calculate, and display information in countless ways, and for countless reasons.
As with so many computer terms, “spreadsheet” has its roots in the hard-copy world, harking back
to the outsized, columned, paper ledgers in which bookkeepers recorded invoices and other financial
doings. But with the advent of the PC, those green-tinted pages eventually gave way to an electronic
“she e t,” on e e mpowe r e d to do far mor e than i ts 17” x 11” for e be ar e r s, an d to do so wi th far mor e data,
and at far greater speeds.
Unlocking Your Inner Worksheet
It’s true of course that many Excel users spend a good deal of their time adding columns and rows of
numbers, and while that‘s a critical task, and one Excel performs with surpassing ease and accuracy,
that’s really just the beginning. Once you merge your understanding of what Excel can do with what I
call the “spreadsheet imagination,” you’ll begin to discover there isn’t much you can’t do with the
a ppl i ca ti on . (T he r e a r e l i mi ts, thoug h; I’ v e se e n some on e compose a CV on Exce l ...Not r e comme n de d).
There’s little doubt that enormous numbers of Excel users badly underutilize the potential sealed
within the program, even at their current skill level, and so it’s worth knowing that every boost to your
understanding can only work to your advantage.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Suppose you want to track your family expenses for the
calendar year. Sure—at first blush that sounds like little more than an old-school, standard, add-these-
rows-and-columns type of task. But think about it—if you could, you’d also likely want to break your
expenses out both by category and date. So instead of a simple history of payments that starts out
looking like Figure 1–1:
 
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