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Excel Best Practices for Business: Covers Excel 2003, 2002, and 2000 [Paperback]

Loren Abdulezer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2003
Spreadsheets have become the de facto standard for communicating business information and the preferred tool for analyzing business data. In this current climate, the accuracy and clarity of spreadsheets are paramount. However, busy managers have little time to sift through heaps of reference books to extrapolate techniques for making polished spreadsheets. Even with finished spreadsheets in hand, managers and business professionals still need a book which holds up a mirror to their real world situations and reflects hidden flaws; and then takes the next step and guides the reader in specific ways to rework these critical documents.

Excel Best Practices for Business enables readers to examine their work and ask critical questions. And once asked, this book also answers with dynamic, practical approaches and provides Take-Aways extrapolated from real situations across a managerial spectrum, making this book more mentor than reference. In this book, a critical need is met.

Book Highlights:

  • XML in Microsoft Office Excel 2003: Entirely new to Excel 2003 is major support for XML, making Excel truly web capable and Internet ready. This book provides extensive coverage of these new features from a hands-on perspective. It identifies subtleties, gotchas and problems, and shows you practical solutions and workarounds.
  • SPREADSHEET PORTALS: This book introduces the topic of Spreadsheet Portals, which elevates spreadsheet practices for the Internet-ready software to the next level. Aside from explaining the basic concepts and principles of Desktop Client Portals, best practice techniques for building your portal pages and reference implementations are provided. These reference implementations, sample spreadsheets, and online demos are provided on the book's CD.
  • SPREADSHEET MAKEOVERS: What do you do when your manager or boss asks you to take over a complex, spreadsheet-based application and send out reports every two weeks? The person who created the spreadsheet no longer works for the company. Aside from a few emails, there's no documentation. You look at the spreadsheet and you find it has flaws. Never mind about fixing the old reports; the new ones are going to go out with your name on it. This report is not your prime responsibility. You do not have the time or resources to turn this into a whole project, yet you can't afford to leave it the way it is. Excel Best Practices for Business provides a step-by-step approach to these "Mission Impossible" situations and walks you through the steps with fully worked out examples.
  • ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES: For the first time in a mainstream book, the topic of preparing accessible spreadsheets for individuals with disabilities is addressed. Government agencies needing to make electronic information section 508 compliant and corporations choosing not to alienate communities with special needs will find the techniques presented invaluable. You will learn from a hands-on perspective how to organize and design accessible spreadsheets for the visually impaired that will work with Screen Reader software, how to set up Screen Reader software, and how to build graphical components that will work with Screen Readers. These practices are carried to the next level with the introduction of Assistive Portals. This allows you to make spreadsheets accessible and avoid having to alter your original spreadsheets. The Portal Page does all the work. Because it is table driven, there are no formulas or scripts to modify. Think of how this will change the economics of preparing accessible documents.

There are many more topics in Excel Best Practices For Business including: practical techniques for visualizing hard-to-present data, incorporating "Smart Data" into your spreadsheets, how to build a Data Overpass, quantification of uncertainty, conversion of mountains of legacy data into manageable and useful form, spreadsheet auditing to validate the work of others, a hands-on approach to working with the Excel Solver tool, spreadsheet construction techniques through both simple design and large, complex applications. If you want to find about these and many other techniques covered, then Excel Best Practices for Business is the perfect guide!


Product Details


Product Description

From the Back Cover

Everything you need to know about
  • Implementing the new XML features in Spreadsheet Portals and Web Services
  • Auditing spreadsheets provided by third parties
  • Making spreadsheets accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Performing spreadsheet makeovers
  • Constructing large, complex spreadsheets that are efficiently designed and easily maintained
  • Quantifying uncertainty and incorporating "fuzzy" numbers in financial analysis
  • Moving and managing mountains of data with competence and efficiency

What do your spreadsheets have to say about your business?

In a corporate climate tainted by high-profile accounting issues, the answer to that question is paramount. This book empowers you to create, manage, and validate spreadsheets that will stand up to scrutiny and provide a clear and accurate picture of your enterprise. It shows you how to examine your work for hidden flaws, preserve the integrity of inherited spreadsheets while improving their clarity, and apply specific techniques to achieve results. If you need practical techniques you can use today, you’ll find them here.

"Excel Best Practices for Business is a "must-read" for today's busy professionals working with quantitative information."
–Tom Inman, Vice-President, WebSphere Foundation & Tools; IBM Software Group

CD-ROM Includes

  • A selection of "Quick ’n’ Easy Take-Aways"– sample components and spreadsheets that can be quickly and easily modified to meet various business needs
  • Mathematica Version 5 evaluation

About the Author

Loren Abdulezer is CEO of Evolving Technologies Corporation and an IT professional who has assisted several Fortune 500 companies. He has worked with MIS/Web reporting and Internet security for a major financial firm, where he played a significant role in implementing a public key infrastructure/smart card initiative.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Although the cover lists this book as being intended is for intermediate to advanced users of Excel, rest assured that even if you consider yourself a beginner, the book can serve as a wonderful learning tool for you as well. Read the first page
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Concordance
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By M. Los
Format:Paperback
In one year I bought (in succesive order):
1. John Walkenbach - Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA
2. Michael Kofler - Definitive Guide to Excel VBA
3. Loren Abdulezer - Excel Best Practice for Business
The first two books are way use a lot of VBA code examples. Loren's Excel Best Practice for Business is a refreshing surprise. Written in simple, easy to understand english in fluent lines that read away as though is was a novel! Once started , I couldn't stop reading untill I finished the whole book.
Its details are simple, but most effective. The outlined ideas give you a headstart when creating and maintaining Excel files.
For example, Loren demostrates clearly what pitfalls to escape from when you design any Excel file. It is good that Loren reminds the reader of some old Roman advise ("Divide and Conquer") when recommending to SEPARATE the date into 3 layers: 1) original date, 2) analysis layer and 3) presentation layer) to CONQUER in your work of creating and maintaing Excel files.
It is funny how, if you look at your own personal or labour Excel files, many times this simple device is still broken.
Another example deals with the advantages of the R1C1 workbookstyle compared to the traditional A1 style. It sounds so simple, but yet, in Walkenbach and Kofler you will not find these kind of tips.
Finally the book has great examples on the CD. Examples on how to use conditional formatting to colour and present your data.
In a nutshell, I can advise anyone to buy this book, whether he or she considers him or herself novice or expert Excel user.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning Software Analysis into Hard Answers Dec 31 2003
Format:Paperback
Spreadsheets are one of the hidden backbones of strategic business analysis. In a sea of data, many corporate professionals are left to figure out on their own how to leverage the spreadsheet tools which are so crtical to success and sometimes even survival.
'Excel Best Practices for Business' goes further, than any book I have found, to turning this challenge into the opportunity that Excel always promised and can now deliver on.
The book is real, hands-on and gets the reader to productive answers -directly and efficiently. Answers, sometimes to questions you didn't know to ask. Concrete answers that help meet business deadlines and achieve tangible success.
Layout, organization and clarity of language all went a long way to making this book's tools accessable and consumable by a businessman who no one would confuse with a technical expert.
As I have used this book, I have discovered a partner in Mr Abdulezer, and his book, to help me in business and to support customers and clients in gaining strategic insights that they need to succeed.
As a user of Excel 2003, with all of its additional capabilities, I am especially appreciative of a resource that can help me leverage the potential for this new program and its expanded range of applications. Specifically, I found a whole new side to Excel as I discovered insights about Spreadsheet Portals, XML and Web services.
Bottom Line: This book is a powerful tool for productivity -- as important as Excel itself. Anyone using Excel should consider this book a fundamental part of their Microsoft investment - both in terms of time and money. Why buy only half the solution? This book has allowed me to fill in the missing insights I needed so badly.
Well done and thank you for this gift to my business.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Practical Spreadsheet Guide Ever Written Nov. 23 2003
Format:Paperback
I'm a very lucky guy because I was paid to read Excel Best Practices for Business. I teach introductory Excel courses as well as more advanced Excel applications. As a result, I have reviewed many guides on how to use spreadsheets dating all the way back to VisiCalc, MultiPlan, and Lotus 1-2-3. For these and other reasons, I was offered and accepted the opportunity to be the Technical Editor on this book.
Aside from having all the latest and greatest spreadsheet technology (like spreadsheet portals, XML, and web services), the author writes about really practical techniques. Even if you think that you know all that there is to know about spreadsheets, you will still learn more from this book. Where else can you learn, for instance, how to evolve a strategy for Absolute vs. Relative vs. Hybrid cell referencing in Excel? While this may seem mundane to some, having the best strategy for your particular situation can make a serious difference in long-term productivity and the resulting value of the spreadsheet.
Just as there are best practices for construction in the home building industry, there are best practices for spreadsheet construction that can make a long-term difference in customer or client satisfaction. In addition to providing a better understanding of simple spreadsheets, you will learn how to create blueprints for large or complex spreadsheets.
The author's excellent formal training in applied mathematics is readily apparent in the sections on manipulating, compiling, managing, viewing, and presenting data. You will learn about how to create and use smart data and how to analyze data without getting stuck in the MUD (messed-up-data). How you ever managed before learning the fine art of data slogging will become a mystery to you.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novice or expert - good advice comes cheap this time!, July 25 2004
By M. Los - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In one year I bought (in succesive order):

1. John Walkenbach - Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA

2. Michael Kofler - Definitive Guide to Excel VBA

3. Loren Abdulezer - Excel Best Practice for Business

The first two books use a lot of VBA code examples. Loren's Excel Best Practice for Business is a refreshing surprise. Written in simple, easy to understand english in fluent lines that read away as though is was a novel! Once started , I couldn't stop reading untill I finished the whole book.

Its details are simple, but most effective. The outlined ideas give you a headstart when creating and maintaining Excel files.

For example, Loren demostrates clearly what pitfalls to escape from when you design any Excel file. It is good that Loren reminds the reader of some old Roman advise ('Divide and Conquer') when recommending to SEPARATE the date into 3 layers: 1) original date, 2) analysis layer and 3) presentation layer) to CONQUER in your work of creating and maintaing Excel files.

It is funny how, if one looks at his or her own Excel files, this simple device is still broken many times.

Another example deals with the advantages of the R1C1 workbookstyle compared to the traditional A1 style. It sounds so simple, but yet, in Walkenbach and Kofler you will not find these kind of tips.

Finally the book has great examples on the CD. Examples on how to use conditional formatting to colour and present your data.

In a nutshell, I can advise anyone to buy this book, whether he or she considers him or herself a novice or expert Excel user. GO GET IT!
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Practices is the best. This time I am right. Jan. 11 2005
By Arthur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Firstly, I have to tell everybody that I am from China, and I got this this book from a friend of mine.

Here is a story. Several years ago, when I worked in a network coporation, the CFO, an MBA back from USA, said to us, "If anyone in this coporation can use Excel as skillfully as those guys from ... (a famous consultanting company, who then worked as our consultant) do, I will raise his monthly salary by RMB1,000!" I was confused, "Is Excel so valuable, or, magic? If yes, what can it do for me? It's just a table-maker (and I heard of that it can do some calculations), but I am not an accountant nor an analyst. Well, perhaps I will never be qualified to get that RMB1,000; eventhough I learn it by myself, the sales job makes it unreasonable for me to to get it. Forget it!"

Last year, I saw EXCEL BEST PRACTICES FOR BUSINESS accidentally in a friend's home, and then there was no Chinese version of it. Since I thought my English is ok, I took it and had a rough reading. By just looking some titles and figures, I knew I had been totally wrong about Excel! It can do a lot for any business, as long as the business has something, even little, to do with data analysis and statistics! I took the book home and began to read line by line, following every example spreadsheet on the accompanying CD. I found something never heard of before, and I began to know that Excel is really useful to anyone. The book tells me how to get clear human resource information from a sea of data, which is especially helpful for me, to predict "unmeasurable" targets, and to make use of "uneditalbe" data from a PDF document, of course all with Excel. Those examples and tools on the CD are really great, they helped to solve some problems at-hands. The book begins with simple issues, such as cell reference style, which I've never heard of before, and goes as far as some complicated knowledge, such as how to get remote data with Excel 2003's XML capability, which is helping a friend of mine in a big project. So both beginners and experienced users will get benefit from it. Any one wanting to get the most from Excel will found this book is a powerful squeezer.

Also, I got a satifying after-sale service as another one did. Even though I want to monopolise such a valuable resource, but Best Practices should be shared. This time I am right.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excel Best Practices for Business March 28 2005
By Steve P. Newbern - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
No matter what your level of Excel experience, Excel Best Practices for Business provides clear and invaluable instruction with regard to efficient spreadsheet design and manipulation, auditing and analysis of data. Other key concepts include XML, spreadsheet portals and database interaction. This is my top choice among many other books about Excel.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You for showing me the light March 30 2004
By Jim Shields - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Too often, while going through this book, did I say to myself, "I've tried that", often recalling the mixed results I had. This book and the awesome accompanying CD has empowered me to return to those battles with a concise set of tools, to get the results I was looking for the first time. The section on resolving PDF data was immediately helpful, as were the Pivot Table sections of the book. Excel is my first choice for an analyses tool, both for my business and of my business. The techniques and tools presented in this book have quadrupled my abilities to do both. I've wasted too much time wading through reference books and help screens to achieve the results I've always felt were possible within Excel.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power Excel training courses should be based on this book! Aug. 2 2004
By johnt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has FAR EXCEEDED my expectations. It literally sits open on my desk at work for the entire day, allowing me to quickly jump to any page. The examples, `best practice tips', and various notes, are all highly detailed. Power Excel training courses should be based on this book!

Excel has a lot of power. Loren's book shows you how to unleash the power. This is not a simple how-to book; rather this is a practical book on using Excel in everyday business environments and applications. The tips I have learnt so far have saved me several hours of work each week (no exaggeration). There are a stack of useful utilities and example spreadsheets that come on the accompanying CR-ROM too. The book has shown me how to use Excel as a tool, as opposed to its face value features only.

The additional surprise I received was the "after sales service". I had a difficult problem with large data sets that I posted to the web site referred to in the book - [...] Loren himself replied to me. Several emails between us later, my problem was solved. Loren provided me with a scalable solution that I previously thought could only be solved by using two additional third-party applications in addition to Excel. Loren showed me that the entire solution could be provided within Excel. Buy the book!
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