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Keywords: Excel 2007, spreadsheets, Microsoft Office
Title: Excel 2007 For Starters
Author: Matthew MacDonald
Level: For beginners
Considering the power and flexibility offered by Excel, arguably the jewel in the Microsoft Office crown, it's amazing how little support there is for the new user. If any application cries out for a decent manual, it's Excel. And now, thanks to this little book, new (and possibly not so new) users have got somewhere to turn to when they want to work out how to get the best out of their shiny new install of Excel 2007.
Starting from the absolute basics of what a spreadsheet is, author Matthew MacDonald (who also authored Visual Basic 2005: A Developer's Notebook), takes us on a grand tour of Excel from workbooks and worksheets to formatting, charts, tables and right on through to formulae. It's action packed but proceeds at a pace that manages to be brisk enough while still managing to impart tons of useful information. The writing style is on the friendly side of things, and even if the occasional joke seems a bit laboured overall it keeps the reader engaged throughout.
While this is definitely a beginners book, that doesn't mean that old hands won't pick new things up - particularly those upgrading from previous versions. The coverage of the new features in Excel 2007 is very good, so that even those who old hands will definitely pick up a thing or two. Coverage doesn't extend to developer topics though, so programmers looking for information on VSTO (or VBA support for legacy applications) will have to look elsewhere. Power users similarly may find that there's not enough detail here, but again, this isn't really pitched at power users, it's explicitly pitched at the beginner.
Aside from the text the book benefits from a nice clean design, with good layout, good use of screenshots and easy to read typography. And, very important in a book of this sort, there's a decent table of contents and a detailed index.
All in all, this is one of the best Excel for beginners books that we've seen at TechBookReport.