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Excel 2010 – Business Basics and Beyond

written by "Smitty"

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I’ve been fortunate to have had some fantastic opportunities to travel around the country facilitating Excel training, and along the way found that a lot of people who use Excel in a business environment receive little, if any support for how to actually use Excel. The result is often outright frustration in not knowing the best ways to perform tasks with Excel. If you’re one of the lucky ones who is considered the “Office Excel Guru”, then you know this all to well. In fact, in my life in a Fortune 500 corporate environment, I was just that person, and found a lot of my time spent helping others be more effective in Excel. Another thing that I saw all to often was how poorly the “professional training material” that is provided to many organizations is sorely lacking in terms of business relevance. As a result, I decided to write a book on Excel focused specifically at how to use Excel in a business environment. My overall goal with the book is to show you how to make Excel work for you vs. you working for Excel.

Excel 2010 - Business Basics & Beyond

The true inspiration for the book was my old boss, who for years I tried to help with Excel, but more often than not I simply ended up doing it for him because it was much less frustrating. When he reviewed the book he asked me outright why I hadn’t done it earlier.

Here’s a brief description of what you can expect:

Microsoft Excel is one of the most powerful tools a business owner, manager, or new employee has at their disposal, and this guide teaches how to harness business data and put it to use. Using real-world examples of a small business in operation, the book covers topics such as preparing financial statements, how to best display data for maximum impact with formatting tools, data tables, charts and pivot tables, using customer information to create customized letters with mail merge, importing data from programs such as QuickBooks, calculating the costs of doing business with financial formulas, and much more. Helpful screenshots are spread throughout the text, and the book explains how to find ready-made templates online for free.

The book begins with how to customize Excel so it suits your style/needs (especially with regards to the “Ribbon” user interface, new with Excel 2007), then follows a natural progression of setting up a workbook project as you would in a business environment. This involves discussing intelligent spreadsheet design, entering/editing data and formulas, followed by the analytical tools you have at your disposal, finishing with how to import/export data from/to other sources. There are also downloadable sample workbooks for each chapter, so you can follow along with the content in Excel on your own. As for the content itself, I put a lot of effort into making note of shortcuts, as well as tips and tricks that you can use in your daily Excel work to help you become more efficient. After all, if you can save time, then you become more productive, and hopefully happy with what you’re doing.

Here’s a breakdown of the chapters:

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Excel
Lesson 2 – Basic File Operations & Setting up Excel the way you want it
Lesson 3 – The Ribbon In Depth – The Home Tab
Lesson 4 – The Ribbon In Depth – The Rest of the Ribbon.
Lesson 5 – Entering and Manipulating Data & Basic Rules of Spreadsheet Design
Lesson 6 – Using Functions (you know, formulas and stuff like that)
Lesson 7 – Formatting & Printing
Lesson 8 – Working with Graphics
Lesson 9 – Charts (this is one of the most time consuming elements for most Excel users, and this chapter shows you how to save tons of time!)
Lesson 10 – Excel Tables (an immensely under-utilized Excel feature – Once you start using them you won’t go back!)
Lesson 11 – Pivot Tables (one of the most powerful analytical tools you have at your fingertips)
Lesson 12 – Importing Data from other sources & Mail Merge

Excel 2010 – Business Basics & Beyond is by no means a be-all-end-all book and couldn’t remotely be compared to one of the Excel “Bible” publications, but if you are frustrated with Excel and want to become more productive with it, then this is a very affordable and easy to read start.

You can find it at Amazon (for Kindle), Amazon Paperback, and at the Mr. Excel Bookstore.

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