Chapter 9. Excel 2003 Annoyances

Excel’s basic functions haven’t changed in years. Of course, Microsoft has to add new stuff to give you a reason to upgrade to the latest version. In Excel 2003, that reason was support for the Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML lets you transfer data between applications without worrying about whether your programs know how to open some other program’s files. And although Microsoft didn’t invent XML, it did come up ways that make the XML/Office 2003 combination appealing for business folks. XML is seriously cool, but it does require some explaining. (You can get Microsoft’s take on using XML with Office and other applications at For O’Reilly’s detailed take, check out Office 2003 XML, which focuses on using XML with Word, Excel, Access, and Infopath.)

Unfortunately, Excel 2003 also includes some new and interesting ways to break down. For example, the random number generator, which is supposed to generate a decimal value between 0 and 1, sometimes generates negative numbers. And there’s also a bug which causes the chart tool to come up with a sum of squares that’s a negative number—quite impossible unless you’re working with imaginary numbers.

Oh, yes...I almost forgot: Excel can crash if you try to run it with another graphics-intensive program. Microsoft has designed Office 2003 to compete for the same video resources that games and other full-screen programs need, and sometimes your computer just gives up. You ...

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