Most people who are familiar with Microsoft Excel know it as a program designed to create simple spreadsheets, automating mathematical operations and simple sorting routines. In Special Techniques in Excel, David Fong shows how to unlock the true power of Excel to perform much more involved tasks, often with only a few simple commands.
The result of over 20 years’ experience working with Excel to help various companies analyze data and perform other tasks, Fong’s book shares some of the author’s customized methods of performing “query operations”: that is, making use of Excel’s functions to extract data that meets certain conditions. Fong doesn’t waste time explaining the most common commands in Excel; a basic level of facility with the program is assumed.
Each chapter demonstrates how to use one of Fong’s techniques to seek or manipulate data. Fong provides clear, step-by-step instructions, along with sample spreadsheets and simple, easy-to-input examples, so readers can see the results not just in the book, but on their own computer screens.
Fong’s techniques are creative and often ingenious, but the everyday business needs that are met by these methods are not always clear, especially for the more complicated functions he describes. For example, Fong writes, “[..] in this chapter , we will learn how to put the total value just below the data” and goes on to explain that “[..] even with the size of 10 rows, if we have 4 data, Excel will automatically put the total in row 5.”
A hypothetical business as a framing device, or more specific examples of the applications of these techniques, might have better illustrated how and why Fong’s techniques are useful in creating reports and managing information.
Despite this shortcoming, Special Techniques in Excel delivers as promised. Its intended audience—Excel users looking to make better use of the program’s capabilities—will be satisfied and enlightened.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.