Introduction

The world is bursting at the seams with data. It’s on our computers, it’s in our networks, it’s on the web. Some days, it seems to be in the very air itself, borne on the wind. But here’s the thing: no one actually cares about data. A collection of data — whether it resides on your PC or some giant server somewhere — is really just a bunch of numbers and text, dates and times. No one cares about data because data doesn’t mean anything. Data isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Knowledge is cool. Insight is cool.

So how do you turn data into knowledge? How do you tweak data to generate insight? You need to organize that data, and then you need to clean it, sort it, filter it, run calculations on it, and summarize it. In a word, you need to analyze the data.

Now for the good news: If you have (or can get) that data into Excel, you have a giant basket of data analysis tools at your disposal. Excel really seems to have been made with data analysis in mind, because it offers such a wide variety of features and techniques for organizing, manipulating, and summarizing just about anything that resides in a worksheet. If you can get your data into Excel, Excel will help you turn that data into knowledge and insight.

This book takes you on a tour of Excel’s data-analysis tools. You learn everything you need to know to make your data spill its secrets and to uncover your data’s hidden-in-plain-sight wisdom. Best of all, if you already know how to perform the basic Excel chores, ...

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