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Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Spreadsheets but Were Too Afraid to Ask

This book relies on you having a working knowledge of spreadsheets, and I'm going to assume that you already understand the basics. If you've never used a formula before in your life, then you've got a slight uphill battle here. I'd recommend going through a For Dummies book or some other intro-level tutorial for Excel before diving into this.

That said, even if you're a seasoned Excel veteran, there's some functionality that'll keep cropping up in this text that you may not have had to use before. It's not difficult stuff; just things I've noticed not everyone has used in Excel. You'll be covering a wide variety of little features in this chapter, and the example at this stage might feel a bit disjointed. But you can learn what you can here, and then, when you encounter it organically later in the book, you can slip back to this chapter as a reference.

As Samuel L. Jackson says in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts!”

EXCEL VERSION DIFFERENCES

As mentioned in the book's introduction, these chapters work with Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2011 for Mac, and LibreOffice. Sadly, in each version of Excel, Microsoft has moved stuff around for the heck of it.

For example, things on the Layout tab on 2011 are on the View tab in the other versions. Solver is the same in 2010 and 2013, but the performance is actually better in 2007 and 2011 even though 2007's Solver interface is grotesque.

The screen captures ...

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