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Book Review of:
Excel 2002 from A to Z

 

These frequent trips to Barnes and Noble are a drain on a budget. 
Rose Lynn Saenger

From the March, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

This book is another in the A to Z series of quick reference books for Microsoft productivity software.  Excel 2002 from A to Z published by Redmond Technology Press and written by Stephen L. Nelson has a publication date of 2001 and has the ISBN # 1-931150-22-2.  The four-page introduction gives information on the Windows online tutorial in case you lack familiarity with Windows, gives a brief review of the important parts in the Excel program window, and a quick explanation about the book.  A very short paragraph, probably less than 100 words, on the back cover of the book is devoted to the author. Stephen L. Nelson’s Field Guide and Pocket Guide quick references have been translated into more than a dozen languages and Nelson has sold more than 4 million of the books he has written. Nelson is referred to as the best selling author writing about how to use computers in business.

This book is set up very much like an encyclopedia and as a result there is neither an index nor a table of contents. There is a four page introduction and then the information starts on page one with Absolute Cell References and ends one hundred and ninety-three pages later with an entry for Zoom. The Introduction provides basic information for the user by stating what the user should know about Windows (the operating system), providing a graphic of the Excel window with an explanation of the parts, discussing dialog boxes and previews, and explaining what the reader should know about the book. Screen captures or graphics are liberally sprinkled throughout the book in locations where they will help the user to understand the terminology. There is information in this book that will benefit the new user and the experienced user equally. One entry in particular, “Boolean Algebra”, provided me with that I S-E-E feeling that one only gets when something finally makes sense. [And, no, in spite of many algebra classes, it never sunk in before.] One thing that I particularly like about this book is that it provides the user with the ability to find information even if the user uses terminology somewhat different from what the author considers correct. As an example looking up “indentation” refers the user to “Formatting Toolbar”. Excel 2002 from A to Z explains the use of Lotus 1-2-3 as well as how to create and use “Macros”.

This book is an excellent reference book and probably belongs on the desk of everyone who uses spreadsheets. It is a reference book, though, and I feel that the person who is new to spreadsheets may want to work with a more comprehensive instructional book to learn the program first and then use this book to look up specific items.

I went to CompUSA and Office Depot looking for Excel 2002 from A to Z and did not find it on their shelves, but since the publication date is June of 2001, it may be on the shelves by the time that you read this review. I checked the Internet and found it at the publisher for $11.95. I went to Amazon and found the book for $9.56 new and $8.60 used. It is also available digitally (download) from Amazon for $9.95. Barnes and Noble is selling this book for $12.95. Yes, according to the Barnes and Noble Web site, their price is $1.00 higher than the publisher. Borders Book Stores are a part of Amazon and probably would order Excel 2002 from A to Z for you. Barnes and Noble is always willing to order books for you to pick up at the store, also. At a recent jaunt to Barnes and Noble I noticed a table of Current Computer books discounted by 20%. This discount table is worth looking for and look you must because the discounted computers were near the history section, not the technology section. It is also possible to order from the publisher 

Redmond Technology Press
8581 154th Avenue NE
Redmond, WA 98052.


This book is an excellent reference for anyone who uses Microsoft Excel. You can thumb through it and learn a lot or just look up a new task or reinforce an old task, term or trick. The vast majority of tasks, terms and tricks also are used in Excel 2000, so if you have that version and want a good reference book, this book is for you. I found this book not only to be easy to use but also easy to understand and follow. At $11.95 Excel 2002 from A to Z is certainly an affordable addition to anyone’s technology library.
 


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