In this chapter, I will discuss a series of advanced Excel features that are used often in financial models. Even if you are familiar with some of these features, you may not know them well and may have difficulty learning them thoroughly from other general Excel books or Excel's online Help. You do not need to learn all of them right away. The Overview of each feature tells you what you may use it for and how often you are likely to use it. You should read the Overviews for all of these features to get an idea of what tools you have access to and then learn the ones that you think you will use now. You can come back and learn the others as you need them.
The large number of built-in functions and analysis tools that Excel provides is one of its most important advanced features. They are so important and numerous that I will cover them in several subsequent chapters organized by their category, such as statistical functions and financial functions.
I start with a general discussion of the built-in functions and analysis tools and then present the other features in the approximate order of how frequently you are likely to use them; I have started with the ones you will probably use all the time and ended with the ones you will probably use occasionally in special situations. Be aware, however, that this ordering may not apply to you perfectly. Use your own judgment about the relative importance of these features.