Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Explore the Patterns
in Your Data
Excel offers you much more than a way
of keeping track of your data and doing
calculations. It also provides tools to analyze
your data and thus to understand it better and
make better decisions. In this chapter, you
learn about a range of tools that can give you
rich insights into your data.
This chapter also introduces Excel’s statistical
functions. These statistics were once available
only through large, expensive statistical
software packages. You will learn to use
descriptive statistics to characterize your data
and to explore associations between data
series by using the correlation function. For
the statistically adept, Excel also includes more
advanced functions.
One of the most useful tools, the PivotTable, is
also one of the least understood. Similar to
cross-tabulation in statistics, a PivotTable shows
how data is distributed across categories. For
example, you can analyze data and display how
different products sell by region and by quarter.
Alternatively, you can analyze income distribution
or consumer preferences by gender and age
bracket. Excel makes it easy for you to answer
useful questions about your data.
Finally, you learn to do two related analytical
tasks: what-if analysis and goal seeking. With
what-if analysis, you vary an input to find how
it affects a result. With goal seeking, you start
with a goal and try to achieve it by varying a
single factor.
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