Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Let’s face it—when there’s a task that you don’t know how to
do but you need to get it done in a hurry, or when you’re stuck
in the middle of a task and can’t figure out what to do next,
there’s nothing more frustrating than having to read page after
page of technical background material. You want the
information you need—nothing more, nothing less—and you want it
now! It should be easy to find and understand.
…And the easiest way to do them
Another thing I’ve tried to do in this topic is to find and
document the easiest way to accomplish a task. Excel 2013 often
provides a multitude of methods to accomplish a single end
result—which can be daunting or delightful, depending on the
way you like to work. If you tend to stick with one favorite and
familiar approach, I think the methods described in this topic
are the way to go. If you like trying out alternative techniques,
go ahead! The intuitiveness of Excel 2013 invites exploration,
and you’re likely to discover ways of doing things that you think
are easier or that you like better than mine. If you do, great! It’s
exactly what the developers of Excel 2013 had in mind when
they provided so many alternatives.
That’s what this topic is all about. It’s written in plain
language—no jargon. There’s no single task in the topic that takes
more than a couple pages. Just look up the task in the index or
the table of contents, turn to the page, and there’s the
information you need, laid out in an illustrated, step-by-step format.
You don’t get bogged down by the whys and wherefores: just
follow the steps, and get your work done.
A quick overview
Your computer probably came with Excel 2013 preinstalled, but
if you do have to install it yourself, setup makes installation so
simple that you won’t need my help anyway. So, unlike many
computer books, this one doesn’t start with installation
instructions and a list of system requirements.
Occasionally, you might have to turn to another page if the
procedure you’re working on is accompanied by a See Also
reference. That’s because a lot of tasks overlap, and I didn’t want to
keep repeating myself. I’ve scattered some useful tips here and
there, and I’ve thrown in a Try This or a Caution occasionally,
but by and large, I’ve tried to remain true to the heart and soul
of a Plain & Simple book, which is that the information you need
should be available to you at a glance.
Next, you don’t have to read the sections of this topic in any
particular order. You can jump in, get the information you need,
and then close the topic and keep it near your computer until
the next time you need to know how to get something done.
But that doesn’t mean I scattered the information about with
wild abandon. I’ve organized the book so that the tasks you
want to accomplish are arranged in two levels—you find the
general type of task you’re looking for under a main section
title, such as “Formatting the worksheet,” “Summarizing data
visually using charts,” “Using Excel in a group environment,” and
so on. Then, in each of those sections, the smaller tasks within
Whether you use Excel 2013 at home or on the road, I’ve tried
to pack this topic with procedures for everything I could think
of that you might want to do, from the simplest tasks to some
of the more esoteric ones.