The focus of this blog is to help people improve their skills with Microsoft Excel. That being said this blog is probably more appropriate for beginning and intermediate level users. Advanced concepts will be covered, but as an extension of a prior foundation of knowledge.

I’m a long-time Windows user, yet Microsoft Excel is not limited to Windows. I now have a MacBook Pro and just started using Microsoft Excel Mac 2008. This will be a whole other type of learning curve for me that I will also share on this blog.

In addition, the spreadsheet experience is expanding to the cloud. Microsoft has entered this market with Office Web Apps so I’ll explore this realm as well.

My Excel Story

I began using spreadsheets in college, 1988 to 1992, where I graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering. In 1994 I went into the consulting business to help companies improve productivity and reduce waste. Part of my job required using Excel to analyze financial and shop-floor data.

In 1997 I received my first organize training for the Microsoft Office family: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access. It was an extensive set of eight-hour training classes covering beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. This was when I finally realized the true power of Microsoft Excel.

In 1999 I began using Microsoft Query to pull data out of client systems into Microsoft Access to create productivity reports. I quickly realized that Pivot Tables were an entirely better solution for reporting.

Because of my Excel and Access skills, my job description changed and allowed me to work full-time with clients to find workable solutions for shop-floor productivity and waste reporting.

Needing the skills to create a stand-alone Excel reporting system drove me to learn Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications or VBA. I methodically consumed several books written by John Walkenback on Excel and VBA, which has served me very well. This knowledge has allowed me to expand the type of work I’ve done with Excel.

After years of working with many different clients, I’ve come to realize there are a great many people who use Excel inefficiently and could improve their skills dramatically with just a little bit of organized knowledge.

My goal with this blog is to provide people of all skill levels a resource for how to use Microsoft Excel in this online world. My name is Janice Friedman and this is my Excel Semi-Pro blog.