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I must admit, I quite like Microsoft Excel. It's easy to use and doesn't have half as many bugs as Word does.
Excel allows you to quickly and easily create a spreadsheet for all kinds of things, but is ideally suited for financial tasks. I personally use Excel to keep a record of the money I've spent during the month, so it's not too much of a surprise when I get my credit card bill! I've also used it to track my exercise routines - from how far I've run to how many weights I've lifted.
It's easy to create graphs and charts from your data. Simply select the data you wish to use, click on the chart icon and follow the wizard through. These charts can be customised using different colours and labels and are so simple to produce that even novice users won't find them too taxing.
Another great feature is the auto filter. This allows you to filter your data to only display the results you want on screen. This can be a very useful tool.
All in all, Excel is a pretty good program! :)
I work On IT projects, I have been demonstating and training people, and am fast learning some basic rules over the years. Use the most widely marketed products for whatever problems you need to solve. Microsoft Office 2000 is such a product (and of course Office XP). Within this the most versatile element is the spreadsheet Excel. This one product is capable of many varied tasks. I have had full versions of Lotus Millenium offered to me gratis, but I have left it standing at the side. No other group product comes close to these. Use microsoft because everyone else does! That makes it compatable, you can share skills and information, and microsoft plough so much money into Office, that the products are screaming with features. That innocent little grid of squares can transform to self running applications, spreadsheets, database, word processor, graphics editor, web sheet design. It can connect to the microsoft wordprocessor WORD and the microsoft database ACCESS. TRY THIS AT HOME A. a main feature of Excel is the ability to convert information in clear stages to complete a task which you want like a business invoice for example. info note where I say put "= HI" in cell type = space HI in the box, not "= space HI" "maybe you have a table showing a clients "order of products" from your company... your first column is headed "products" in cell C10, and each cell under it describes each product type in turn. Your second column is headed "quantity" in cell D10, and has a number in each cell below it representing a quantity of that product type. the third column is headed "vat" in cell E10, and under it you write "yes" if that product type is considered vat taxable. the fourth column is headed "price each exvat" in cell F10, and under it you write your price per product exclusive of vat for eac
h product type in the list. the fifth column is headed "total exvat" in cell G10, and has formula 1 written in it. formula 1 is a statement written in cell G11 "=D11*F11". now select cell G11 with your mouse and goto edit and copy. then select G12 with your mouse. on your keyboard hold your shift button down while pressing your down arrow key to select all the cells from G12 to the bottom of your column. then release your fingers away leaving the cells still highlighted. then go to edit and paste. The formula you typed in G11 is now automatically brought down for the rest of that column. the sixth column is headed "total inclvat" in cell H10 and has formula 2 written in it. Formula 2 is a statement written in cell H11 "=IF(E11="yes",G11*1.175,G11)". now select cell H11 with your mouse and goto edit and copy. then select H12 with your mouse. on your keyboard hold your shift button down while pressing your down arrow key to select all the cells from H12 to the bottom of your column. then release your fingers away leaving the cells still highlighted. then go to edit and paste. The formula you typed in H11 is now automatically brought down for the rest of that column. in cell I8 write "totals". In cell F8 write the formula "=sum(F11:F30)". The F30 assumes that your lowest product is on row 30, change to suit your table. now select cell F8 with your mouse and goto edit and copy. then select G8 with your mouse. on your keyboard hold your shift button down while pressing your right arrow key once to select 2 cells from G8 to H8. then release your fingers away leaving the cells still highlighted. then go to edit and paste. The formula you typed in F8 is now automatically brought accross for those cells. are you still with me, ok yeh, great! Now make it look better. first notice that you have several sheets with tabs at the bottom, then think in terms of fo
rmatting each page in tools:options and by selecting a group of cells (clickdown,drag mouse accross, clickup) and format those format:cells. These are very powerfull options and used skillfully can create dramatic effects. insert:worksheet adds a new sheet and rightclicking the worksheet tab then select rename to change the tab name to whatever you want. cool eh! eg change the font colour, and the background colour, and create borders. eg select accross cells in alignment and click mergecells and wrap. eg format your cells as text so that anyone typing a tel number in that box doesnt lose the first "0" (01233467892 automatically is changed to 1233467892) eg format your cells to produce £ sign or $ etc The combinations in this section are limitless, this is just a start. Tables of information You can create a database in excel by simply writing a table straight on the sheet, this is followed by some commands which instruct excel that your table exists and that you wish to addto or modify it. That is a process I have used to good effect. Excel does have an internal automatic database within it allowing you to create an active list or table, but this method is limited in size so don't be tempted unless your table is small. The developers true option is linking to other software. With a little patience you can master this and have an Access database linked to your spreadsheet. Word has an automated assistant to help you link excel to it for doing mailing lists which either run from an excel table or an access table. Ie you have a list of names and addresses in excel and word will automatically run your letter with updated name address etc for each name on the list. this could be thousands. can do this for envelopes to. Gadgets & macros there is much much more to excel 2000 as you start to enter into macro territory and VB programming. I have used fairly complex techniques to make full grown
applications which work manipulate and update member records and perform analysis on each member at the click of a button. It then at other click commands which I control, will print many different combinations of reports to suit the business concerned, where the reports have active information which changes with each individual client. Each client can be fed into complex analysis which can show analysis of their status with respect to your company, for example show the multiple elements of their complex finances as their finances progress through time. eg loans, mortgages, life insurance, credit cards etc through say 30 years period described in month by month detail. all this from microsoft Excel 2000, neat eh!
s well as providing us with excellent utilities for making spreadsheets Microsoft Excel 2000 has a few hidden features. My favourite one is the car racing game, which I shall explain how to access at the end of one of my longest pieces of work yet! As I said in the beginning Microsoft excel provides us with many features for making spreadsheets. One such feature is its ability to copy a formula for a whole column. Firstly the formula is in itself a very 'unique' facility and is the only time where 'maths is fun' (strangely enough). I don't know about you but I personally find it really fun to try my best to make new formulas each time. Enough about me and lets get on to how to copy formulas or words onto many columns. You place the mouse over the bottom right of the 'square' the formula/piece of information is in and you drag it downwards until where you want it to stop. (At this moment your most probably like what's he going on about). Now for the bit I bet you've all been waiting for, the method of how to play an awesome car racing game. Firstly you have to open a new page in Microsoft excel and save it as a web page and tick the single sheet box and then the add interactivity box. Next you have to open the saved file (you can do this on internet explorer if you wish). You then have to go to column WC and row 2000. Next click on the row 2000 so that it is all highlighted apart from WC. Now comes the tricky bit where you have to press shift, alt and tab at the same time while clicking on the office symbol at the 'top of the page'. A screen will appear where you have to press the arrow buttons to move forwards and turn. Spacebar is the one, which shoots bullets and press 'h' for headlights. Good luck!
Excel is a program that just about every computer user will have experienced at some point in their life, but few home users actually use it's full power. Not that I do either, in fact I use only a small handful of the features that Excel offers, but I recently discovered that Excel is more useful than I once thought. For anyone who doesn't know, Excel is a spreadsheet. What a spreadsheet is, exactly, is quite hard to describe, but put simply Excel give you a blank table full of empty boxes. What you do with these boxes is up to you, you can simply enter data, then use excel to draw a bar graph for you - quite useful for kids homework. You may be doing a science experiment and need to work out some values from the results you got, using Excel you can quickly do calculations because once you've worked out the correct formula, you can simply copy and paste it to give you the other values. Excel really does help a lot with number crunching, and can save a considerable amount of time. Until recently this was about all I had done with Excel, until I came to University that was. Doing Physics I have my fair share of experiments to do, which naturally require lots of calculations and graphs to be drawn. From using Excel to draw simple graphs, I now use it to plot much more complex things. It'll do error bars for you (don't worry, I don't know what they are either), trend lines with regressions of almost any type you want, including linear, logarithmic and exponential, and just to be extra nice it will give you the equation of this line too, as well as the R-squared value. It would be a lot better if I understood what half of the things I did meant, but I do know one thing - being able to use Excel saves me time! In addition to graphs, Excel features a comprehensive selection of mathematical, financial and statistical functions, making it perfect for mathematical calculations, accounts and statistics (awards for stating
the obvious go to me!). It's much quicker to work out things like standard deviation on a lot of values using Excel than it is by hand, with the added bonus that Excel never makes any mistakes in it's calculations (and if it does it's because you've typed it in wrong!). If you know what you're doing then Excel can be taken a long way. It's fully programmable, I think using Microsoft VB 6 as well as Web Scripting. I messed around with Macros once, and it's amazing what you can achieve, especially if you know what you're doing. It's also fully compatible with all the other MS Office applications, so if you paste an Excel table in to Word then Word converts it in to a normal Word style table. Included as standard (as in all Office applications) is the annoying Office Assistant, who can take the form of a Paperclip, cat, Professor or one of a number of equally pointless forms. The only useful setting (in my humble opinion) is disabled - but you'd be surprised at how many people actually like to have these animated helpful characters, who pops up time you want to do something. To be honest, if you need help you'd be better off trawling through the traditional help file, which thankfully is rather comprehensive. Installation is painless (although these days most things are), spec wise you need at least a Pentium 75 with 150Mb of HDD space, and 32Mb RAM. Although I currently use Excel 2000 (which comes as part of Office 2000), it's one of those programs that doesn't change a great deal. Sure, each new edition brings a few new features, but these are often as much cosmetic as they are useful, so don't panic if you're still using Excel 97. By far the best way to get Excel is when buying a new PC as part of the Office 2000 pack, the OEM version should add £100 (although I may be wrong) on to the price of your PC, whereas you may pay that just for a single copy of Excel normally (althou
gh again I don't have exact figures). One point worth considering is that if you aren't going to use a lot of the advanced features that Excel offers, is that you may be better off with Microsoft Works, which comes with a Spreadsheet section that is basically a less powerful version of Excel. Buying Works over Office will save you a fairly sizeable proportion of the price of the package, so think long and hard before you decide which one you want!
I’ve already give my thoughts about the Microsoft Office suite of programs under Word and I’d just summarise here by saying that because the Office suite is so popular and widely used, it’s made all the component parts equally popular and well liked. Word has its detractors, but the Excel spreadsheet application is absolutely peerless and widely acknowledged as such. It stole the lead generated on early doors by Lotus 123 and is now clear market leader in the sphere of office products. It’s one of those industry standard products which generates new users each and every day, although it’s fair to say that the preponderance of Microsoft Office in the company arena had a significant boost in the early days. I myself am a whole hearted supporter of Excel and have found nothing better. I started with other spreadsheets back in the 80’s and found switching over to be a little fraught, but since I’ve become comfortable with the program, I’ve found myself to be more and more enthusiastic. I’d also just like to say that I use some of the out of the way features like databasing and functions and macros, but I steer clear of things like pivot tables and some of the more esoteric marginal functions, so I'd class myself as a fairly proficient standard user, rather than a professional. Excel is aimed at the full range of users, however, from the beginner to the professional expert and manages to pull off a programn that hits all the bases. Spreadsheets are such logical and user friendly things that everyone seems to have grasped the basics and started to embrace the possibilities, but it’s probably worth just briefly mentioning some of the things that new users do find a little complicated. Excel is no different in their ease of use than other spreadsheets, so this part is more about the general program than Excel in particular. Mathematics and brackets – this can get qu
ite confusing, especially when you’re using functions and nested maths and it’s easy to get the wrong number of brackets, which renders a formula unworkable, but with Excel the error finding tools are pretty halpful. Absolute cell references – these are a devil to explain to non users and probably are the biggest drawback to people making best use of Excel. Macros – these are quite hard to grasp, but the learn and copy facilities in Excel are first rate in building your understanding. Generally, I’m very impressed by the power and flexibility of Excel – it is strong on graphs, charts and graphics and the text box tool means that you can quickly put together extremely professional looking reports and documents. The way you can group worksheets together so that you can make mass changes across an entire workbook is also a neat touch and the macro facility can allow even quite inexperienced users to build quite powerful automated programs. The database options are a fine addition and mean that you can carry out most of the simple querying tasks on slabs of data without having to resort to the more complicated Access database program. All in all, I have very few quibbles with the program – it is quite expensive to buy, but is worth every penny and I’d suggest you look to do a deal when you buy a new system to have it as part of the package because that’s the cheapest way to get in and you can then buy the less expensive upgrade options. Another low cost way to get on the ladder (if there’s a student in the family – see, kids do have some uses) is to but the student version which is a great deal cheaper than the normal price. For business users, it is almost mandatory that you are a competent user of Excel and so whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to clamber onto the bandwagon one day if you haven’t already done so, and I can recom
mend Excel for its intuitive interface and ease of use. You’ve even now got the facility to capitalise on the Internet compatability and add hyperlinks and searches to the spreadsheet to make your spreadsheet readily updatable from real world data. I remember Masterclass’ Richard Topping showing that particular possibility several months ago in one of his tutorials and was suitably impressed. The other brief point to note is the facility to customise the toolbars and make it very personal to your own needs and working practice. That's a marvellous facility, though you need to set up when you reinstall or upgrade. Oh well! Once you’ve got into Excel, all sorts of possibilities arise and you’ll never look back – I can promise you that much. Enjoy!!
I found about this little "Easter Egg" tonight. Try it - it really works and may brighten up a dull day in the office! You MUST follow the following instructions EXACTLY for it to work. The designers of serious apps like this obviously didn't want us to find this, its very tricky. But it works I absolutely faithfully promise you! OK, here we go then: 1) Open up a blank Excel spreadsheet as normal. 2) Click on the File menu, then "Save as webpage" 3) On the box that opens up, make sure that "selection:sheet" and "add interactivity" are checked. Now click on "Publish" 4) A Publish as web page box comes up. Make sure that "open published web page in browser" is ticked at the bottom. Now click "Publish" again. Now the difficult bits. 5) Your web browser (Internet Explorer only) opens up with a copy of the blank Excel sheet on it. 6) Click on the down arrow on the scrollbar, scrolling down to row 2000. (This takes a while). 7) Now, click on row 2000 to highlight THE WHOLE ROW. (Very important!). 8) Use your tab button to tab across to column WC. (This also takes a minute or so.) 9) Hold down cntrl, shift and alt and at the same time click on the Office logo in the top left corner of the open browser excel sheet. (The four puzzle pieces logo) 10) Hey presto, if you've done the above EXACTLY, your game will start. Have fun! Use cursor arrows to move left and right, accelerate and decelerate. O spills oil. Spacebar to fire machine guns, H to turn on/off headlights! Have fun and dont let your boss catch you! Oh and for those who were expecting a full review of Excel, well, thats been done elsewhere, many many times before. And treats like this cannot be kept a secret.
I would have thought that the ability to perform relatively simple mathematical tasks using a spreadsheet was more or less the raison d'e^tre of said spreadsheet. Not, apparently, in the world according to Bill Gates and Microsoft. I first encountered problems with functions when trying to find the x-intercept of a line. This called for some visual basic to create my own function to perform this. No problems so far. It worked perfectly on first calculation but became clear that auto recalculation was causing problems - throwing up a #VALUE! where once there had been a sensible (and rigorously tested) figure. To get around this, I changed to manual calculation and, in various event handlers forced the function to check itself/recalculate (NOT the kind of thing you want to be doing when you've got lots of sheets containing the function which takes values from lots of cells!). Then the next issue reared its ugly head - DON'T have a chart embedded in a sheet with a user-defined function. Make sure it is as a separate sheet. You can't copy the chart or even alter the attributes (such as colours etc.). These problems are, kind of (in a roundabout way) dealt with not on the UK site (or I couldn't find it there anywhere) but on Microsoft's US site in selected articles. Now I've been approached because there seems to be a problem with the worksheet function GAMMAINV. It has difficulties with beta=1. I have contacted MS to this effect but have not yet seen anything about the problem. So, a cautionary note - it is good practice anyway, but particularly with Excel functions, make sure you check by hand that your figures make sense and put cross checks in the worksheet.
I have been using MS Excel both corporately and privately for about 8 years, starting with version 2. I would describe myself as a heavy user, but perhaps not a “power” user, i.e. the management reports I designed and ran were large rather than pioneering in any statistical way. It would be easy for me to list some of the features of Excel 2000 that I think are really neat, but it would be equally easy for someone to point out that this or that facility has existed since version 1, or, worse still, that Lotus 1-2-3 does it better! This has been the whole trouble with MS Office upgrades all along – did we really do any more than scratch the surface of the old version before Uncle Bill decided that we needed a newer one to use up all the disc space and RAM to which we had just upgraded? “In answer to consumer demand” always seems to be the reason given for an upgrade – which consumers? That’s what I would like to know. Anyhow, that’s got my “I hate Bill” bits out of the way. I still happen to think that Excel is the de facto market leader in spreadsheets. Whether it deserves the accolade is another matter Rather than delve into the nitty-gritty detail of whether Excel is bug-ridden or prone to viral attack, which has been opined elsewhere anyway, I thought that I would give you some idea of the uses to which I have put it, now that I am semi*-retired. You never know, it might help you get a tighter control on your finances, or you could REALLY depress yourself by keeping a check on how much your car costs per mile. (*my wife refuses to let me call it retired, since she can see no light at the end of her particular tunnel). Excel As a Bean-Counter ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Firstly, here is a lightning tour of Excel for complete novices. Open any new spreadsheet, and you are met with a blank stare from what looks like graph pap
er. The rectangles are called cells, starting (usually) with A1 at top left (that’s column A, row 1). Any cell can be filled with one of three things. 1.Text – However much of a maths “whiz” you are, you are going to need to label something sooner or later. 2.Numerical data – By numbers, I mean anything from a date to a percentage, currency to ordinary numbers with God-knows how many decimal places (if you want) 3.Formulae - The “engine” of any spreadsheet – without these, it’s just a piece of on-screen squared paper. Not sure what I mean by a formula? Here’s a quick and dirty example. Let’s say that cell A1 has £3.50 typed in, and next to it, we want to show how much extra you will pay including VAT. We don’t reach for our calculators to work out 17.5 % of £3.50, and then type it in. We type in a formula instead. These always start with “=” to differentiate it from text or numbers. In this case, we would input in cell B1, “=A1* 17.5%”. (The asterisk being Excel’s nearest known symbol to “times”) Any alterations to A1 would immediately reflect in B1. Now lets put in the total gross amount next to B1, (in C1). Our formula here could be “=Sum(A1:B1)” – I say COULD because you could also put “=A1+B1”. So now you’ve got three cells all telling you something, A1 – the net price of a widget, B1 – how much the VAT is, and C1 – the gross cost of a widget. Now for the neat part - type a new price into A1 and watch your other two cells recalculate themselves. Voila, you’re now a spreadsheet user. Tart it up a bit with some labels, and you’ve got an invoice. Obviously, any “power” user of Excel will view this as a travesty of oversimplification, since the power of Excel lies in the vast array of commands
(like SUM) that it can use, including manipulating dates (e.g. how working days between x and y?). Here are some of the items I now track with a spreadsheet – withhold any judgements as to just HOW sad I am until the end please! Utility Meter Readings. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I use Excel here to identify any shortfall or overpayment in my monthly debits to Gas, Electricity and Water Companies using Excel’s graph facilities – very easy to use, just identify the data to be used, martial it to one contiguous rectangle, and follow the “wizard”. I also used it to carry out several “what-ifs” using the tariffs quoted by the vast array of companies vying for my affections. I now know that moving to Npower from BG and Southern Electricity still costs in, but only just, by 16p a week. When I first made the change, this was before BG dropped their standing charge and threw the whole issue back into the melting pot. Recording weekly meter readings has also enabled me to prove the gas saved by installing a condensing boiler (much more efficient). You COULD set up your own home banking sheet, but most people use MS Money of Quicken for this. Financial ~~~~~~~~~ Several years ago, when the threat of redundancy first reared its ugly head (funny how a THREAT like that becomes a PROMISE of early retirement instead, the longer you hang on in there!) I decided it was time to monitor what I was worth. I gathered all my insurance policies, latest statements for PEPs, ISA’s etc together and started a month-by-month plot of what they were worth based on the latest data available. I have updated this monthly ever since, and I have found it very reassuring. Having set myself a target of being worth £xyz by the time my wife retires, I adjust how much money needs to go into savings each month to hold to that target. This is proving difficult at the moment, since on
e of my major holdings is BTshares! However, at least I know what I USED to be worth! Having retired, obviously my income has taken a serious “hit”, so I am monitoring my outgoings as a proportion of my income, taking into account such things as when the mortgage is paid up, projected pay-rises etc. To be honest, I only use Excel to provide the tabular data here. I use my other “toy”, MS Access database to manipulate this data, but only because I want to keep my hand in and develop my skills in this area**. This set of reports has helped me identify just how much cheaper a pay-and-go cell phone has been (for me that is), thereby trimming down another overhead. ** Once you get in deep with Access, you soon find yourself designing modules in Visual Basic too, to make up for its shortcomings. Yet another inadvertent string to the bow! Excel As a Database ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well, sort of. There is limited database function within Excel that allows for one data table, known as a flat file. This is limited to 32 columns wide and something like 16,550 records deep. The 32 columns can be a limitation as I discovered once at work. Having set up a 28-column database to monitor customer survey results, some bright spark revised the questionnaire to need 50 columns without checking on the consequences. Enter one very rapid self-teach exercise in learning Access instead! (By rapid, I mean by the time next month’s figures were wanted!) What do I use this for now? Why, keeping tracks of my DOOYOO opinions of course! The on-screen format of DOOYOO opinions only stays chronological till you revise one, after which it plonks itself at the top of the list. Having a separate database that can be sorted into any one of several orders is very useful when it comes to updating it. I suppose this could be extended to show average reads, and/or income per opinion, which months were yo
ur best period etc. Who needs a Community Centre like CIAO’s. Make your own! Setting up the database is a “doddle” – so much faster than a “real” one. The pay-back comes when you try to extract statistical data (e.g How many opinions are rated Very Useful?) In a “real database” you’d only have to write a query. In Excel, you have to write a “Criteria” which shows which data you are looking at, in this case the ratings column, filtered down to “Very Useful” followed by a formula that specifies that you want to count how many items meet the criteria. Messy, but once written, it doesn’t need adjusting. Verdict ~~~~~~~ As a home user, is this really any use? Well, personally, I think it is, but then I’m a “steam-hammer to crack a nut” person. It also stops the brain addling, since it’s rarely straightforward, especially when integrating Excel and Access. I’m tempted to make my MS Access address database integrate with Word, but I’ll leave that for another time! Another positive, is that keeping au fait with MS Office certainly seems to buck up your chances of finding general office work – when was the last time you saw an ad saying “Knowledge of Wordstar an advantage”?
MS Excel 2000 can either be purchsed as part of MS Office 2000 or as a stand-alone program. It's primary purpose is to manipulate data, mainly numerical, for statistical analysis. In other words, you can put numbers into a spreadsheet and produce charts and graphs to display the data as a visual image. Excel includes many add-in programs/patches, these can be used for anything from business decision making through to in-depth statisitical ananlysis, such as regression and correlation. Excel has a very straight forward, easy-to-use interface, which could be used by the newest computer user. It is often used an accounts manager, as it allows the user to define their own customized layout. In this day in age, it is also used within schools for support in IT and mathematical studies. One feature Excel has, that many people do not acknowlege, is its Database facility. Excel can be customized to be used as a simple database. It would be very suitable to use this feature, as apposed to using MS Access, if your database is going to include many sums, numbers or equations. If you aree considering which spreadsheet program to purchase and/or use, definetly consider MS Excel, it includes everyhing you would ever need and more.
I work for a financial institution and consequently we use Excel quite a lot, as most of the information we deal with is in the form of a spreadsheet. Recently I have moved from actually selling our product (cars) to creating management reporting information concerning how many cars we have sold. When I changed jobs, I thought I was pretty much an expert on excel because I could make it do sums for me and I knew how to format the data quite well. Phew! How wrong I was. Since I have started my new job I have been introduced to a world of capability within Excel that I never knew existed. Now I can make Excel provide me with all kinds of data automatically, that previously I would painstakingly have produced myself. I have been taught how to use pivot tables, which are advanced sum functions, which will do all kinds of complex mathematical equations for you. I now know how to use look-ups, which can automatically look up a value in one spreadsheet and check if it appears anywhere in another spreadsheet (and if so, tell you all sorts of other information about it as well). And I love the charts and reports function, which helps you produce some beautiful pie charts and bar graphs. I love Excel because it is so adaptable and useful. If you want the figures in front of you to yield some kind of data, then the chances are that Excel can do it automatically for you. All it takes is a little user expertise to set it all up and you are off and running. For companies everywhere, Excel is a must and this is why it has become part of the Office package in the last few years. For individuals it is very useful, it is just as powerful as any of the home / office accounts packages available. Charities, clubs and syndicates could also use it very effectively. The disadvantages of Excel are that, in some ways, it is a victim of it’s own success. It is such a powerful tool that it is almost impossible to learn how to use i
t from a manual or from the help topics provided. I was taught by a colleague and she was taught by her colleague and he was trained professionally. Sometimes I wonder whether Excel will ever offer up all of its secrets to the individual user without formal training and I have to say that I doubt it very much. For people who can use it to almost its full potential, then it is worth learning how to and investing time and money into your training. For individuals who just want to use its simple functions, choose something more basic and less expensive as you will probably never need or use its full capacity.
Talk about a brand leader. Excel has evolved over recent years to become the only spreadsheet facility to use. It integrates seamlessly with the other components of Office, whether it be 97 or 2000, although some of the features can seem strange at first if you have been using Lotus or Quattro but generally Excel is far superior to use and its’ new web-integrated features are also quite nifty. I use it every day at home and at work, and to be honest there simply isn’t a way back. It has key differences from other spreadsheet, which can seem a bit awkward at first and make you think “well that’s a roundabout way of doing things” but after a while I think it converts most of us and you wonder how you ever lived without it. I like the way hyperlinks can be easily built into spreadsheets and working with macros is also reasonably simple (writing them is, as ever, anything but for a Northern thicko like myself!) Most importantly, if you are as sad as me, and constantly trying to improve your skills, you will find that there really is that much to learn and do in Excel that you don’t already know. Very often if there’s something that you want to do with a spreadsheet, it’s not a case of “can you do it” but “can you find how to do it” and the answer is usually yes!
Excel 2000 is an excellent product, I have just upgraded Excel 97 and I find it still has the same functionality plus some new features. I use it to produce many varies types of spreadsheets including charts & graphical representations. It can handle simple and very complex spreadsheets with ease. I also use the spreadsheet for data manipluation, therefore I use the Query capability which is very good, this allows you to retreive data from many other sources (I use ODBC to connect to other database files). If you already use Excel 97 I wouldn't really say it is worth upgrading, but if you are not using Excel I would recommend Excel 2000 as the best spreadsheet on the market.
I have been a user of Microsoft excel for about six years now and still claim that you wont find a better spreadsheet anywhere, recently I started to use excel 2000 and surprised how far it has improved compared to the last one I used (excel 95). For beginners it may seem impossible to get excel to do what you want but with the help of the excel assistant (help – the piece of paper that always pops up) it will assist you in any way it can. The spreadsheet can be used for anything from keeping address up to date to solving mathematical problems. There are quite of a lot of features that comes with the excel 2000 package just like the ones before (just been improved) once you have got this package I would not bother upgrading to the next one, there’s not that much different.
I use Excel everday at work, I am no clever clogs but am quite confident in using Excel, even if we still are only on '97!!!!. This is a very powerful tool which can do some amazing things, especially if used with VB. If you are a novice or complete beginner to spreadsheets don't be put off as this is very user friendly and you will soon be able to work your way around this, especially as there are so many wizards on the way to help you!!!! You customize all your spreadsheets to your way, so each one is unique. I love using Excel it has come along way since the years when I used to use Lotus 123.
I have to 'fess up here - I haven't used Excel 2000 much yet, but I am pretty familiar with Excel 97, with which it bears more than a passing resemblance. This is not, therefore, a review of E2k, but rather a comment on Excel in general, and some of its shortcomings in particular. Until Microsoft Office took over the world, thanks to slick marketing, bundling deals and a slice of luck, the two favourite office applications were WordPerfect and Lotus 123. Both of these botched the changeover to Windows (it's hard to imagine now, but ten years ago, the future of Windows was not assured) giving Microsoft a foothold in what had been unassailable territory, and the rest is history. I mention all this because it's important to realise that Word and Excel have not got where they are on merit. They are both buggy and over-complex, and because they are developed on whatever Intel's latest offering might be, slow and clunky on any hardware more than 18 months old (I don't suppose it occurs to MS to do some tests on one of those PC's collecting dust in the corner). OK, so you've got a nice new computer, and you know that Excel can handle any problem you care to throw at it, so you can ignore my witterings. So you can, but did you know that MS has never actually bothered to get Excel's maths properly verified? Did you know that it has trouble calculating statistical distributions correctly, or even the modulus of a simple division? These are not just the ramblings of my diseased mind, they are discussed in a paper published last year in the prestigious Journal of Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, whose conclusion was that "persons desiring to conduct statistical analyses of data are advised not to use Excel." Period. Apparently, these problems were originally unearthed in 1994, when Excel was at version 4, so let no-one accuse Microsoft of too much haste. The final problem, whic
h for once isn't MS's fault, is that Visual Basic is now the favourite medium for attacks by virus writers (VBA texts don't look like viruses but can still access core functions), so the easiest way to avoid such attacks is to use anything other than MS Office (which is what I would have recommended, anyway).