Category Archives: Product Review

person reading book with desktop

The Best Excel Book to Purchase from Amazon

Microsoft Excel is supposed to make your life easier; but if you find using it brings you nothing but frustration, it may be time to find a good book that can teach you the ropes of using Excel. We’re here to help with that.

We have compiled a list of the ten best Excel books that can help you use Excel with ease and to its full potential.

Microsoft Excel Books FAQs

software books

Image via Pixabay

1. What Is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a digital spreadsheet software program used to organize, store, format, calculate, and manipulate data. Excel is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and is compatible with other Office applications.

2. Who Needs Microsoft Excel Books?

Almost anybody can benefit from Excel books: from total beginners to experts. Excel is such an efficient way to organize and track data that those who have never used it could surely benefit from learning how.

Even people who have used Excel for years are probably not using it to its full potential and could benefit from Excel books aimed at users with Excel experience who are looking to learn about more advanced concepts.

3. What Should I Look for in an Excel Book?

What to look for is largely subjective. First you want to make sure that the book you choose matches your skill level. If you have never used Excel before, don’t choose a book that is teaching you how to integrate Excel with Microsoft Power BI.

If you are a visual learner, you will want a book with a lot of pictures, charts, and/or graphs. Conceptual learners may benefit more from a book that leans heavily on examples.

An important feature of any book, no matter your skill level or learning style, is well organized and structured information.

man sitting while reading a abook near his laptop

Image via Pexels

4. Where Can I Buy the Best Excel Books?

You can find the best Excel books in most bookstores such as Barnes & Noble or B.A.M.. Amazon.com is a great resource for buying new, used, and digital books. Every Excel book featured on our list is available on Amazon.com.

How We Reviewed

man wearing gray crew neck shirt holding a book

Image via Pexels

We evaluated the Excel books on our list by considering the organization of the information provided, the expertise of the authors, how clearly the information was conveyed, and by the amount of information covered.

We wanted to present a diverse list of the best Excel books so that newbies and experts alike could find what they are looking for.

What We Reviewed

  • Excel 2019 Bible 1st Edition
  • Excel Formulas & Functions for Dummies
  • Slaying Excel Dragons: A Beginners Guide to Conquering Excel’s Frustrations and Making Excel Fun
  • Excel 2019 All-in-One for Dummies
  • Excel Dashboards and Reports
  • Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools for Excel Analysts
  • Excel Macros for Dummies
  • Building Financial Models with Microsoft Excel: A Guide for Business Professionals
  • Excel: QuickStart Guide – From Beginner to Expert
  • Power Pivot and Power BI: The Excel User’s Guide

Excel 2019 Bible (1st Edition, by Michael Alexander)

Excel bible 2019

Image via Amazon

Summary

First on our list of the best Excel books is The Excel 2019 Bible. This 1120-page reference book is written by Michael Alexander, a Microsoft MVP and the author of several advanced business analysis books.

This book is for all types of Excel users; total beginners or novices using Excel for business or at home will find this book to be a valuable resource.

Also, this book is a great introduction to the new features and tools of Excel 2019 and will teach readers to incorporate new templates, use and apply formulas, create pivot tables, analyze data, create functional spreadsheets, and much more.

Gain a comprehensive overview by reading the Excel 2019 Bible cover to cover or finding the chapter or chapters that give you the specific information you are looking for. This book is available in paperback and digital format.

Excel Formulas & Functions for Dummies (5th edition, by Ken Bluttman)

 Formulas & Functions For Dummies

Image via Amazon

Summary

This 400-page book from Ken Blutton is one of the best Excel books from the popular “For Dummies” line. Best for beginner to intermediate Excel users, this book focuses on the formulas and functions aspect of Excel.

Get the most out of Excel by learning how to properly utilize formulas and gain access to step-by-step instructions on Excel’s 150 most-used functions.

Examples of specialized functions help you learn the material and understand how to apply it when using Excel. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.

Excel 2019 All-in-One for Dummies(1st edition, by Greg Harvey)

All-in-One For Dummies

Image via Amazon

Summary

Yet another one of the best Excel books in the “For Dummies” line, this book has condensed 8 of the “For Dummies” Excel books into 815 pages, including Excel Basics, Worksheet Design, Formulas and Functions, Worksheet Collaboration and Review, Charts and Graphics, Data Management, Data Analysis, and Macros and VBA.This book is for beginner to intermediate Excel users. Beginners can learn about importing data, building and working with worksheets, creating formulas and pivot tables.

Advanced Excel users can learn about worksheet sharing and auditing, error trapping, macros, charting data, and integrating Excel with Microsoft Power BI. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.

Slaying Excel Dragons: A Beginners Guide to Conquering Excel’s Frustrations and Making Excel Fun (by Mike Excelisfun Girvin)

Slaying  Dragons

Image via Amazon

Summary

This is one of the best Excel books for total beginners—those who view Excel as an opponent to be conquered and then become friends with it.

In 532 pages, authors Mike Girvin and Bill Jelen will teach you all the basics; learn about rows, columns, cells, subtotaling, sorting, pivot tables, and more.Over 1,100 screenshots will come as a relief to visual learners. It should be noted that this book came out in 2011 and is therefore a little outdated.

It still contains a ton of useful information for the total beginner, but anyone hoping to learn about new features of the latest version of Excel won’t find them here. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.

Excel Dashboards and Reports(2nd edition, by Michael Alexander)

Dashboards and Reports

Image via Amazon

Summary

This is one of the best Excel books for people who already have experience with Excel and want more specific instructions on using Excel dashboards and creating Excel reports.

It should be noted that, in regards to Excel dashboards, this book is more of an introduction to the concept and may not go deep enough for more experienced Excel users. 

It should also be noted that this book came out in 2013, so it will not have the most up-to-date information; but readers will still find a lot of useful information here. This 432-page book from Michael Alexander is only available in paperback.

Excel Macros For Dummies(2nd edition, by Michael Alexander)

Excel Macros For Dummies

Image via Amazon

Summary

This is the second book by Michael Alexander on our list of the best Excel books and another one from the “For Dummies” line. As you may have guessed from the titles, this book will teach you everything you need to know about Excel Macros in its 312-pages.Published in 2017, you can expect the information to be fairly up to date. This book will demonstrate the time-saving power of Excel macros and will introduce you to over 70 of the most-used customizable Excel macros.

Like most books in the “For Dummies” line, the information is well organized, making it easy to find what you are looking for, and an icon system provides visual cues for important information. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.

Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools for Excel Analysts (1st edition, by Michael Alexander

Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools for Excel Analysts

Image via Amazon

​​​Summary

Here we will see Michael Alexander’s work again—this guy must know what he’s talking about! Mr. Alexander has teamed up with Jared Decker, Bernard Wehbe, and John Walkenbach to bring this book aimed at business analysts and managers who need to learn more about Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools.

This will help analysts learn skills such as database management, query design, data integration, and multidimensional reporting, among other things.This book provides information on using BI tools such as Power Pivot, Power Query, and Power View. It should be noted that this book will be most useful for those dealing with big data tables. This 384-page book is available in paperback and digital formats.

Building Financial Models with Microsoft Excel: A Guide for Business Professionals (by K. Scott Proctor)

Building Financial Models with Microsoft Excel

Image via Amazon

Summary

The next entry on our list of the best Excel books comes from K. Scott Proctor, is part of the Wiley Financial Series, and is a good option for business professionals who want a refresher on financial models or students who are learning this material for the first time. Visual learners will love the fact that this book includes many picture examples.

While this book was published in 2009 and will not have the most up-to-date information, it will still be very useful for those looking for information on how to build financial models within Excel. This book is available in paperback, hardcover, and digital formats.

Excel: QuickStart Guide – From Beginner to Expert (by William Fischer)

Excel QuickStart Guide - From Beginner to Expert

Image via Amazon

Summary

This book is a brief 100-page guide from William Fischer and is advertised as a good option for newbies or veterans. This book will covers basic Excel information to get you started, including functions, formulas, shortcuts, and macros.

While the title says this book can take you from beginner to expert, nobody is becoming an Excel expert in a mere 100 pages.This will not be the best Excel book for visual learners, as there are no pictures to accompany the text. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.

At the time of this writing, this book is available on Kindle unlimited, which means Amazon Prime members can see this book for free.

Power Pivot and Power BI: The Excel User’s Guide (2nd edition, by Rob Collie)

Power Pivot and Power BI

Image via Amazon

Summary

Last on our list of the best Excel books is this 308-page guide from Rob Collie and Avi Singh. Full of color images, this book is less likely than others to have your eyes glazing over and will be great for visual learners.

This book is for those looking to learn more about Microsoft Power BI, including Power Pivot and Power Query.Learn the difference between calculated columns and measures, how to reuse formulas across reports of different shapes, how to use Power Query to enhance your Power Pivot models, how to write Dax in Power Pivot, and so much more.

This book passes on information in a conversational tone that is easy to follow. Owners of this book swear by it, and will tell you they pick it up over and over again. This book is available in paperback and digital format.

The Verdict

woman reading a book

Image via Flickr

If we were to name one of these books as the overall best Excel book, it would have to be Excel 2019 All-in-One For Dummies. This book is really eight “For Dummies” books all wrapped into one.

It is great for those new to Excel as well as those looking for more specialized materials. As with most books from this line, the information is very well organized and structured well.

We also like the use of the icon system, which provides a visual cue for you to pay extra attention to important notes and concepts. The affordable price of this book is just the icing on the cake.That concludes our list of the ten best Excel books. We hope we have been helpful in your search for a quality Excel reference material and wish you the best of luck in all your future Excel endeavors!

Featured Image via Pexels

Excel for iPad – Paste as Values

Being a long standing Excel user and an avid Apple products consumer, I downloaded the new Microsoft Excel iPad app in April 2014 and quickly found out that you can’t do anything of substance until you pay a subscription fee. After looking at the available options I decided to purchase the Office 365 Personal yearly subscription, which is $69 + tax USD. It comes with full access to all Office iPad apps, OneDrive document storage in the cloud, and allows me to install the latest Office applications on a PC or Mac, which I haven’t done as of yet.

Here is Microsoft’s official blurb on what you get:

Office 365 Personal enables you to install the latest full desktop version of Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, on 1 PC or Mac, in addition to 1 Windows tablet or iPad — so you can use all the features offline as well as online. You can also install Office on multiple smartphones.

I’m tempted to use my PC because I get to install Office 2013, which I don’t have, as compared to using Office 2011 that I already have on my iMac. But Microsoft is bringing out Office 2014 this year and I’ve decided to wait and see how they incorporate this version into Office 365 Personal. But I digress.

Excel on the iPad

The Excel app is more intuitive and much better than I imagined it could be. I’ve tried to use Numbers, but frankly it always feels like an alien designed it. I’m glad Microsoft held off until they “got it right” for the iPad.

I created a spreadsheet to document my vacation expenses and used it for a week to make entries. The file is saved automatically to OneDrive in the cloud were I can access it with the Safari browser on my iMac or my wife’s MacBook Air – or any browser for that matter. I can even view or modify the spreadsheet using the Office Mobile app on my iPhone.

The Ribbon menus are straightforward, albeit a little sparse in functionality. Yet the popup and shortcut menus help to increase that functionality, as you shall see in the following example.

I wanted to enter the current date into the aforementioned spreadsheet, but didn’t have a calendar handy so I entered the TODAY() formula. I needed to Copy and Paste as Values, but couldn’t find the Paste as Values functionality on the Ribbon. As it turns out, it was relatively easy to find.

When you enter an equal sign into a cell a list of formulas appears in a popup menu, which is similar to the desktop version of Excel. I tapped on TODAY() and hit the return button on my keyboard to enter the formula into the cell. Easy-peasy.

To copy the formula just tap the cell, a popup menu appears, and then you tap Copy. A moving rectangle on the cell border lets you know there is a copy value in memory.

Pasting the formula as values is not readily apparent, but easily discovered. Just tap the cell, then tap Paste from the popup menu. Notice the paste format icon at the bottom right corner of the cell – very similar to the desktop version on Excel.

Tap the paste format icon to bring up a menu where you tap Paste as Values and BOOM, you’re done. The screen shot sequence below shows what I’m talking about.

Paste as Values Excel iPad App Steps 1-3

Paste as Values Excel iPad App Steps 4-5

If you use Microsoft Excel, especially on a PC, this is the app for you. The look, feel, and functionality will be very familiar. The only problem is deciding if you need full functionality of the app and will purchase a yearly subscription to get it.

Note: I type on a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air (affiliate link) when I’m using the Excel app on my iPad, which increases the screen real estate immensely by not having an onscreen keyboard. The added benefit is that keyboard shortcuts work similar to the desktop version of Excel 2011 for Mac.

Break Even Calculation International Phone

Break Even Calculation with an Unlocked iPhone and International Rates

iPhone 4 PhotoI just upgraded my wife to a new iPhone 4S and since she’s finished with her contract, AT&T will now unlock her old iPhone 4.

Having an unlocked phone is advantageous when traveling overseas because you can pick up a Sim card with a phone plan and save some money. The question I want to answer here is, “Is it worth it?”

Phone Plans

I’ve spent time in the UK and the best place to get a Sim card or even buy an inexpensive mobile phone is with O2. Great coverage, products, service, and you can find them practically everywhere. Just what you need when “on Holiday” and are looking for a mobile phone plan.

With and unlocked iPhone you can pick up a Sim at O2 for £13.50 that gives you 100 minutes of talk, unlimited text, and 100MB of data. My phone plan with AT&T includes international roaming, which is free, but the international roaming rate in the UK is $1.39 per minute. Ouch!

The Conversion

The problem is that I need to convert British Pounds to American Dollars so I can make the comparison. You can find this information online with a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo). It would be nice if Microsoft would include currency conversion in the CONVERT function, but I digress.

The Calculation

Break Even Calculation International PhoneGiven a Sim only plan of £13.50, and a conversion rate of 1.6123 dollars per pound, my cost is $21.77 USD. That works out to $0.22 per minute, verses the $1.39 that AT&T will charge me while in the UK.

If I divide my cost in dollars, by the AT&T international rate in the UK, I can talk roughly 15 minutes on my AT&T plan before it becomes cost effective to purchase a Sim card.

The Smart Move

With a smart phone, data is king. So while it’s nice to consider the break even point for talk time on an international plan, the bottom line is that with 100MB of data in the aforementioned Sim plan on O2, there is no comparison.

When going on Holiday or spending time in the UK, pick up a Sim card and stick it in your unlocked iPhone. It’ll be the best spent money on the trip.

Microsoft Query Incompatible with Mac OS X Lion [Updated]

Lion picThe other day I read an article on how to prepare my MacBook Pro for Lion, the new Mac OS X coming out this month, and discovered that any application that requires PowerPC is incompatible with Lion and will not work. See update at the end of this post.

So I followed the instructions to check all the installed programs on my MacBook Pro and was surprised to find that Microsoft Query will be incompatible. This will affect any Excel for Mac versions you might have on your computer — 2004, 2008, 2011.

Microsoft Excel for Mac and PowerPC

I would venture a guess that 99.4% of all Excel users have never used Microsoft Query, but I’m one who does and thought this might be significant to a select few. (Notice that Open XML for Excel and Charts uses PowerPC too.)

Microsoft Query allows you to pull data into an Excel spreadsheet from “behind the wall,” so-to-speak, of a database or ERP system. I made a career out of doing this very thing. Getting data that others could not.

In Microsoft 2010 (Windows) the new PowerPivot can replace Microsoft Query but in Excel for Mac there’s no replacement.

Excel for Mac users should beware, Microsoft Query is an incompatible app in the upcoming Lion upgrade for Mac OS X.

[UPDATE]

Since I wrote this post Microsoft updated their Office 2011 software. If you have Microsoft Office version 14.1.2 or later Microsoft Query has been updated to Intel, as you can see in the screen shot below, instead of PowerPC, and will now work on your Mac with OS X Lion.

MS Office Update for MS Query

Thanks to J. Monroe who pointed out the update by Microsoft in a comment.

Google Docs pivot tables

Pivot Tables in Google Docs

Mark my words, “This is the beginning of the end for Excel.” To be sure this is a long way off and I probably won’t see this in my lifetime, but make no mistake Pivot Tables in Google Docs spreadsheets marks the eventual decline of Microsoft Excel.

Google Docs pivot tables

Of course, part of me will refute this claim vociferously and to the death. But common sense dictates that this prized feature of Excel escaping to Google Docs is a big deal. Even if it’s not right now.

PivotTables are to me, the heart of Excel. They represent how data can be transformed in a simple, user-friendly manner to create information. PivotTables are truly awesome.

We all know that Excel’s dominance in the spreadsheet world has been ubiquitous for a long time. Yet we tend forget that things change bit by bit. The online world is slowly gaining ground and I have personal experience with how this change works.

Take the printing industry. I recently spent over a decade with a company that consulted exclusively with the printing industry. Magazines, phone books, soft and hard cover books, and the ever-irritating newspaper inserts, are a few types of printing that have been in a steady decline for many years now.

Why the decline? As you might guess, the demand for printed material is inversely proportional to the rise of online or digital content for consumption. Just check the current headlines: Kindle Books Now Outselling Real Books on Amazon.

This brings me back to Google Docs offering a basic pivot table report. There’s even an online guide for creating and editing pivot table reports. This means a starting point for true change in the spreadsheet world.

Mark my words.

VBA Help System Lacking in Excel 2011

Since never using the VBA Editor in Excel 2011 for Mac was a slight embarrassment, I thought to give it a whirl with a half-written function that was started in Excel 2010. I quickly found out the Editor’s windows have more of a free-floating style, but the programming looked to be quite the same.

VBA Editor Excel 2011

Until I wanted to find out whether to use the TypeName or VarType function and tried to access Help. This is something they make sufficiently hard enough that I didn’t find either function definition before giving up and deciding to write about the futility of being dropped into a maze.

But first I switched back to Excel 2010, selected VarType in the VBA Editor and activated Help, which quickly generated a nice pop-up window with all the facts I needed about the VarType Function, as you can see below.

VarType Excel Help

When you try this in Excel 2011, the following screen is the entrance to the maze.

VarType Excel Help 2011

click for larger image

Continuing on from this screen is when you start feeling that something’s all jumbled and confused in the Help system for VBA in Excel 2011. I don’t recommend going on any further unless you’re desperate.

Oh what a tangled web they weave.

Microsoft Office 2011 Document Connection

Microsoft Document ConnectionOne of the neat programs you get with Microsoft Office 2011 is Microsoft Document Connection. It allows you to interface with your SkyDrive without going through a web browser.

Once you open the program and sign in to your SkyDrive account all your online files are accessible. You can open the files in Read Only or Edit mode.

Document Connection SkyDrive Files

In Preferences I set all my files to open in Edit mode so that when I double click on a file, Excel 2011 downloads, then opens the file so I can make changes.

Documnent Connection Download Files

Once changes are saved the file uploads to your SkyDrive account.

There’s also an option to upload a file directly to SkyDrive. And you can also get a URL link to any file on your SkyDrive.

I don’t know if a similar program is available with the Windows version because I didn’t purchase the entire Office suite of programs (too expensive). With Excel 2010 I have to launch my web browser to connect to my SkyDrive account in order to get access to my cloud storage files.

Files in the cloud are much easier to access and work with using Microsoft Document Connection. Take advantage if you have a Mac.

Excel 2011 Ribbon Screen Shots

There are eight default tabs on the Excel 2011 Ribbon, and nine if you unhide the Developer tab. They are Home, Layout, Tables, Charts, SmartArt, Formulas, Data, Review, and Developer.

Comparing the Excel 2010 Ribbon, the new Windows version, where the tabs are Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, and Developer.

The Tables, Charts and SmartArt tabs in Excel 2011 are new and different from Excel 2010, and seem to replace its Insert tab. The Layout tab is similar to Page Layout. The rest of the tabs have the same names in both versions, yet are slightly different, as shown below in Home Tab Comparison.

In Excel 2011 the Menu and Standard Toolbar are still visible above the ribbon. This accounts for some of the variation in Ribbons between the two Excel versions. But then Excel 2010 has the Quick Access Toolbar.

Below are a few Ribbon screen shots. (Click to enlarge the image in a new window for better visibility)

Home Tab Comparison

As you can see below the Menu and Standard Toolbar are still present above the Ribbon in Excel 2011 (Workbook2). What’s curious is that you can also make the Formatting Toolbar visible, which is completely redundant with the Home tab in Excel 2011.

The bottom of this picture shows the Excel 2010 Ribbon Home tab.

Home Tab Comparison

The grouping labels are located above the toolbar items in Excel 2011 and below the items in Excel 2010. I like them above. For Excel 2011 they are Edit, Font, Alignment, Number, Format, Cells, and Themes. For Excel 2010 they are Clipboard, Font, Alignment, Number, Styles, Cells, and Editing.

Just be glad you’re not switching between these two versions of Excel like me.

Now here’s a quick look at the different Excel 2011 Ribbon tabs. Remember to click each image to enlarge for better viewing.

Home Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Home

Layout Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Layout - Click to Enlarge

Tables Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Tables

Charts Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Charts

SmartArt Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon SmartArt

Formulas Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon SmartArt

Data Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Data

Review Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Review

Developer Tab 2011

Excel 2011 Ribbon Developer

Excel 2011 for Mac – Installation, Preferences, and VBA

After reading all the great things about Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011 that were written before its release, I decided to purchase a copy. My primary goal was to have an Excel version on my MacBook Pro that allowed VBA macros, however the full Office software suite seemed to be a really great value.

I paid $174.99 USD for the Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 – 1 Pack edition on amazon.com after pre-ordering and receiving a $25 discount from their price assurance guarantee.

Excel 2011 Software Installation

What you get with the Office 2011 Home and Business Edition:

  • Word 2011
  • PowerPoint 2011
  • Excel 2011
  • Outlook 2011
  • Microsoft Office Web App support
  • Messenger for Mac 8
  • Remote Desktop for Mac 2 (drive your Windows-based PC from your Mac)
  • Technical support 1 year

The installation took about 15 minutes. The program loaded, I entered the product key, activated and registered the software, then launched Excel, and got a welcome screen telling me all about the new features.

Whats New Excel 2011

And then I had to face the Excel Workbook Gallery, which is the default screen that appears when you open Excel 2011. Nice for all of 15 seconds.

At the bottom of this screen there’s a box you can check: Don’t show this when opening Excel, but I ignored it and went straightaway to a blank Excel workbook.

Excel 2011 Preferences

The first thing I wanted to check out was the Options, oops pardon my Windows speak, I mean Preferences, by using the menu selection Excel → Preferences or the keyboard shortcut Cmd+apostrophe ( ⌘ , ).

Excel 2011 Preferences

Within these preferences is standard stuff you’d find in a Windows version of Excel, but I want to review some of the settings for General, Edit, AutoComplete, Compatability, and Ribbon.

General Preference

In the General dialog box I unchecked the box beside: Open Excel Workbook Gallery when application opens so that Excel opens to a blank worksheet.

General Settings Change

Edit Preference

On the Edit dialog box, a new option for Excel 2011 is Automatically convert date system. As you can see in the Description box below, this option converts the date system of the source data to match the date system of the target workbook.

I’m not exactly sure how this preference option works and will be looking into it, but with Excel’s two different date systems (1900 & 1904) this setting becomes more important now that Excel 2011 and Excel 2010 can share workbooks on the web in Windows SkyDrive.

Excel 2011 Edit Dialog Box

AutoComplete Preference

In the AutoComplete dialog box the setting for Show the menu only after I’ve typed x letters (x set at 1, range 0-9) seems to be one that I’ll revisit soon. I’m not sure I want AutoComplete popping up after typing only 1 letter.

AutoComplete Dialog Box

CompatibilityPreference

On the Compatibility dialog box, under Transition, the Save files in this format: is defaulted to Excel Workbook (.xlsx) and can be set to a number of different things.

Excel 2011 Compatibility Dialog Box

Changing the default file format to Excel 97-2004 Workbook (.xls) might be prudent should you share files frequently with people using older versions of Excel.

Ribbon Preference

On the Ribbon dialog box, under Show or hide tabs, I noticed that you can drag them in the order you prefer. I added the Developer tab to the Excel Ribbon by checking the box for Developer.

Ribbon Dialog Box

The VBA Editor – A Quick Look

I had to peek at the VBA editor just to check it out. Going to the Developer tab and clicking Editor opened the VBA Editor, where I added a module and wrote a quick test macro, as you can see below.

Excel 2011 VBA Editor

Not a bad start.

Next I’ll compare the Ribbons of Excel 2011 and 2010.

A New Charts Editor – Google Docs Keeps Improving

Tuesday Google announced a New Charts Editor in Google Docs. This is important because Google continues to improve it’s spreadsheet offering in the cloud. And while in my opinion, Excel will always be the king of spreadsheets, Microsoft has to be aware that many younger people may very well use spreadsheets in Google Docs because it’s free. Hence, a new generation of people that may grow up without Excel.

There’s a short video on the Google Docs Blog about the new Charts Editor in Google Docs. They also show a few screen shots of some, but not all of the chart offerings.

  • Org Chart
  • Annotated Time Line
  • Motion Chart
  • Line Chart
  • Pie Chart
  • Column Chart
  • Scatter Chart
  • Sparkline
  • Gauge

The Sparkline chart isn’t shown in the blog article, but you can give the new charts editor a try at goo.gl/newcharts. I think their Sparkline charts are kind of big and bulky, but that’s just me.

However, I kind of like the Gauge chart.

Google Docs Charts Editor Gauge Chart

Let me know what you think.

Introduction to PowerPivot

In the year 2000, I began to use Microsoft Query to pull data from corporate client’s database tables, using their raw data to create PivotTable reports. Each table required a different query, each linked by using VLOOKUP formulas. And of course the data had to be restricted to Excel’s 65,536 rows.

Soon I was having clients write queries to get around using VLOOKUP formulas and started pulling data into Microsoft Access to get around the row limitations. But to get data into Microsoft Excel, the primary interface was Microsoft Query. I don’t know the history of this program but it served me well, even though it’s old, clunky, and not supported very well.

Enter PowerPivot

PowerPivot is a program that works with Excel 2010 to do some amazing things.

  • Import hundreds of millions of rows of data
  • Import data from multiple sources
  • Build relationships from imported data
  • Visualize the data with PivotTables and PivotCharts

If any of this sounds remotely interesting you can check it out for yourself on the PowerPivot website. Better yet, check out the video page where you can see an Overview (there’s three of them, the first one is enough to get the idea), check out how to download and install the PowerPivot program, and see the Importing Data video series.

Here’s a screen shot from the first video in that series.

PowerPivot Importing Data Video Series

And if that isn’t enough, you can even check out a demo.

Pretty awesome stuff.

OnLive icon

Microsoft Excel 2010 on the iPad with the OnLive Desktop

OnLive iconExcel 2010 iconThe gold standard for Microsoft Excel is the latest Windows version, Excel 2010, and the gold standard for tablets is the iPad. The OnLive Desktop App brings them together.

If you love Microsoft Excel and have an iPad, then this app is for you. I could go on and on and on about what a great combination these are, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you an overview and let you rush right out and experience it for yourself.

An Overview

The OnLive Desktop is an iPad only app that’s free in the iTunes App Store. Download the app, then sign up for a free account, and you get 2 GB of online storage.

Once you launch the app and sign in to your account, a remote Windows desktop appears. You not only get the full version of Microsoft Excel 2010, but also Office 2010, with PowerPoint and Word.

You can create files from your iPad and save them to your online account. You can also upload files from your computer to your online account, then access and edit them from your iPad.

The Windows desktop comes with some other features that are nice to play around with, but what strikes me is how easy it is to use Excel on the iPad. It’s far and away the best user experience with Excel on the iPad, or any spreadsheet on the iPad.

Anyway I’ve said too much already. You’ll have to try this out for yourself just to believe how truly amazing it is. I’ll leave you with a few screenshots to whet your appetite.

OnLive App iPad Screen Shots

OnLive App 01

OnLive App 02

OnLive App 03

OnLive App 04

OnLive App 05

OnLive App 06

Yes, that’s right, OnLive Desktop has to use a non-iPad keyboard. But that’s not a deal-breaker.

Since you’re accessing a remote Windows desktop, you would think there’s a big delay between your actions and the program’s response. Not so, it’s really is very quick.

One caveat is that with the free account you may experience a delay in connecting to the remote desktop if the servers are busy. Premium accounts (people that pay money) get priority on connectivity. I experienced a couple of slight delays in my tests before I was allowed to connect. A minor inconvenience for me.

Nevertheless this whole experience is free and damn well worth the effort to check it out. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...