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Customer Review

on May 7, 2007
This book is only so-so as a guide to features, and definitely isn't aimed at engineers or technical types.

A simple example: suppose you want to change the cursor motion after Enter so the cursor stays put, instead of moving down to the next cell. Look under "Cursor" in the index -"Cursor" is not an entry. Look under the Chapter on Excel Options Dialog (the menu where this is adjusted). Cursor adjustment neither is mentioned nor is the menu to do it shown in any of the screen shots. Another example: suppose you want to find the Document Properties, like who is the author. Help tells you "Click the Office Button, point to Prepare, click on Properties". Jelen tells you nothing explicit, although he has a table p. 32 suggesting erroneously that you use menu View, Show/Hide, Properties. So, use Help, I guess.

There's more: suppose you want to change the label of a single data point on an xy-chart. The procedure, found by trial and error, is to select the chart, select the FORMAT tab under "Chart Tools" on the "ribbon", select the curve on the chart (click it), select the data point (click it), select "Format Selection" in the "Current Selection" window of the "ribbon". That extended process produces the same-old menu choices you used to get by selecting the point and making a right-click. Jelen doesn't tell you anything at all, and the Excel help is useless too.

More examples? If you want to use Goal Seek, the book tells you how to find it, but it does not tell you how to set Maximum Iterations and Maximum Change, two items often changed. To find that info, use Excel Help, a hit-and-miss thing at best. The book tells you how to install Solver, but fails to point out how to call it once installed. As typical of Excel books, there is no assessment of accuracy of Excel functions, nor the hazards of round-off errors.

By and large, guidance is erratic, and there's much blather about "jaw-dropping new Excel features". The Special Edition volume on Word 2007 is better organized, has a comprehensive index, and uses cross-references to advantage. Author Jelen should look at that book to see how much better things are done.

As a postscript, Jelen's five-page discussion of Assigning a Formula to a Name (p. 857-862) has several examples, while the "Inside Out" book has only a paragraph (p. 448). So there are topics that are better in Jelen.
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