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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2015
I have used Excel for many years for basic analytical purposes in the course of a career in engineering with only some brief training at the basic level. Two things prompted me to buy this book: a switch from the 2003 version of Office to the 2010 version (Excel became much more powerful from the 2007 edition) and taking on the task of treasurer for a local charitable organisation.

There are two requirements to get the best out of this book: 1. You do need to have a reasonably good working knowledge of Excel basics (if not you would be best off starting with the 'essential skills' book in this series). There is an appendix in this book summarising the content of the earlier book. 2. You will not benefit much from sitting in an armchair and reading the book or trying from the outset to use it as a quick reference manual: it is all based on practical exercises (with files downloadable from Mike Smart's website) and you do need to be sitting at your PC working through the exercises to get the full benefit of this book.

Strengths of the book:

It is very well designed: the book is broken down into eight main sections with each section comprising a large number of bite-sized practical lessons, typically taking a few minutes each. Each section uses a standard page layout with a main text section describing the exercise and sidebars with additional 'Note', 'Tips' and 'Important' (notes and tips being optional additional information and important sidebars warning of possible pitfalls). A short introductory section clearly explains the design including typographical conventions used.

The order of the main sections broadly covers the more commonly used features early on with more complex and/or less commonly used features later. In many cases the downloadable teaching files are modified during one lesson and then modified further in succeeding lessons. However multiple versions of the files are provided so that in many cases it would be possible to dive into a section halfway through the book and download the teaching file appropriate for that section. Having said that I think the greatest benefit is obtained by working through all sections in the printed order: I found that even in areas with which I was quite familiar I found useful tricks that I wasn't previously aware of.

Once you have worked through the sections that are of interest the book then becomes a useful reference resource, though in some cases you might need to reload the teaching file for the section to remind yourself of the detailed procedures. The book includes a comprehensive index including function names to quickly find the lesson relevant to a particular topic.

The outcome for me of working through this book is that I have discovered tools that I might never have found on my own and have been able to provide my charity committee with a greatly enhanced level of timely information on their finances. It has saved me many hours of time - strongly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2013
I really like this book! It goes straight to the point without having to wade through page after page of introductory material. Very clear examples with downloadable file examples to work with. I have been using Excel for many years but found so much new material in this book. An excellent purchase for anyone who wants to literally excel with Excel!
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on 19 July 2014
I definitely learnt new things from this book. Like anything - it will be a worthwhile purchase if you actually start incorporating things you have learnt into your day to day work. Those things I have are second nature now, but there are useful functions in here that I haven't made use of and would not be able to use without spending some time reviewing again.

One thing I liked was the authors comments on vba - he stated in his experience most of problems people approached him for that they claimed needed vba could actually be handled easily by the normal Excel functions he teaches in this book.

I have borne that in mind since reading, and it seems like good advice. I have discovered one possible exception - trying to make dynamic forms where users input information which in turn drives the subsequent choices they are presented with. I have made use of the excellent data validation section here, but have found out that people can skirt the rules by inputting data, making a subsequent choice, and then removing the original choice. Validation can stop people entering data into a cell, but it is harder to control it once it is already in there.
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on 11 May 2015
Finished it in 7 days. It consists of 8 chapters so you can do 1 chapter a day. I was doing Excel course anyway so this book was a supplement. Loved it through. Thought me things i didn't know,. Although this is an expert book, it is not as comprehensive as i hoped. For example for IF function it does not mention how complicated it can get. HLOOKUP is not in the book too, only VLOOKUP. Mixed cell referencing (very important) and DMAX function also not mentioned in the book. Last chapter is the most beautiful one. Thought out the book he sometimes goes back to previous chapters reminding you which I like very much. Anyway the Book does touch most of the subjects you will need but Excel 2010 application goes more beyond this book. There could also be plenty more practices & tests for the subjects mentioned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2013
very good easy steps to learn . enough examples to practise. i was just a begineer on excel before i got these book but now expert
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2013
From all the various books and courses I have used to learn excel, this book is the best, highly recommend
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on 17 July 2014
This is a really excellent way to improve your Excel skills. I had been a user of the previous versions of Excel and always struggled with the new layouts, but now am fine with them. This book provides practical exercises with actual excel files that you can download so that you learn by doing which is always thebest way. Cannot praise this highly enough.
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on 28 March 2015
The book's layout and clear explanations together with the downloadable examples made for a quick and painless learning experience. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to go beyond basic Excel.
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on 16 May 2014
I am only thru 7 lessons and have already picked up a few tips. Easy to download the files and clear instructions. It will really help me in my work.
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on 19 February 2013
This is a great way to learn something new - the combination of theory and practice makes it a breeze to learn new skills.
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