Book review: Excel programming

Microsoft Office User Specialist – Microsoft Excel 2000 – Cheat Sheet by Rick Winter
Published by [ ] QUE   (ISBN 0-7897-2116-3)

Didn’t realise it at the time when I picked it up, but this book is actually aimed at professionals wanting to prepare for the MS MOUS exam. Apparently the book is approved courseware. It’s one of those "If you have this qualification you are worth more in the marketplace" things. Never bothered myself, but seeing how easy it , even for the "expert" level of the exam, maybe I will one day.

Taken that it’s aimed at passing an exam in Excel, not learning Excel, here’s my thought. If you are taking the MOUS exams, get this book and it’s companion in Access etc, if you want to increase your expertise, there are weightier books out there. After glancing though it, I reckon that anyone willing to put the effort in could use this range to pass all the Office User Specialist exams and get a pay rise worth far more than the cost of the books and exam fees (about $70)

Teach Yourself Excel 2000 by   Moira Stephen
Published by Hodder & Stoughton   (0-340-77171-2)

Like the other Teach Yourself, it was a little dry for my liking, if books can be said to be dry. If you have a little understanding of Excel and want to be competent, then it’s as good a place to start as any. Nowhere near as good as the ‘3D visual approach’ below, but it is a smaller format book, suited to keeping handy in work and offers more in-depth information. I’ll give it a 6/10

Microsoft Excel 2000 Simplifed by maranGraphics, Inc
The 3D Visual® Approach to learning Excel 2000
Published by IDG Books
  (ISBN 0-7645-6053-0)

Well, that was a breath of fresh air after the sad tome below!
It’s the graphics that do it. It’s aimed at beginners, but if you are new to Excel, or even spreadsheets in general, this book richly deserves a space on your shelf. I’ve been using spreadsheets for nearly twenty years, all the way back to Visicalc and it still gave me a new perspective. OK, I never learned anything “new” but it shone a light on things. What can I say, I’m impressed. This is the first computer book I’ve ever read that I can honestly say, “Hey that makes sense”. Better even than the rightly respected ‘Idiots guide…’ and ‘Dummies guide…’ series. Certainly I will be looking for more books in this range. Naturally, they also write for more advanced levels of expertise.

Microsoft Excel 2002 – Simply Visual
Published by Perspection Inc for
Sybex Inc   (ISBN 0-7821-4006-8)

Glanced though it in five minutes and that’s five minutes longer that I needed. It is only a beginner’s guide, but it’s printed in pale blue ink with the odd screen grab of a few cells. I wouldn’t bother if I was you.

You might want to glance over the other books they do at Sybex e-Trainer see if there’s anything better.

(Or not, as the e-Trainer link now goes to some Chinese website. Sybex as a whole are good, but that particular book was a waste of pulp!)

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