Chapter 1: Excel in a Nutshell

In This Chapter

• What's new in Excel 2013?

• The object model concept in Excel

• The workings of workbooks

• The user interface

• The two types of cell formatting

• Worksheet formulas and functions

• Objects on the worksheet's invisible drawing layer

• Macros, toolbars, and add-ins for Excel customization

• Internet features

• Analysis tools

• Protection options

Microsoft Excel has been referred to as “the best application ever written for Windows.” You may or may not agree with that statement, but you can't deny that Excel is one of the oldest Windows products and has undergone many reincarnations and face lifts over the years. Cosmetically, the current version — Excel 2013 — barely even resembles the original version. However, many of Excel's key elements have remained intact over the years, with significant enhancements, of course.

This chapter presents a concise overview of the features available in the more recent versions of Excel, with specific emphasis on Excel 2013. It sets the stage for the subsequent chapters and provides an overview for those who may have let their Excel skills get rusty.

Excel: What Is It Good For?

Much of the appeal of Excel is that it's so versatile. Excel's forte, of course, is performing numerical calculations, but Excel is also very useful for non-numeric applications. Here are just a few uses for Excel:

Number crunching: Create budgets, tabulate expenses, analyze survey results, and perform just about any type ...

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