Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies

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Just because electronic spreadsheets like Excel 2000 have become almost as commonplace on today’s personal computers as word processors and games doesn’t mean that they’re either well understood or well used. Excel is a great organizer for all types of data, be they numeric, textual, or otherwise.

Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies covers all the fundamental techniques that you need to know in order to create, edit, format, and print your own worksheets. In addition to showing ...

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Just because electronic spreadsheets like Excel 2000 have become almost as commonplace on today’s personal computers as word processors and games doesn’t mean that they’re either well understood or well used. Excel is a great organizer for all types of data, be they numeric, textual, or otherwise.

Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies covers all the fundamental techniques that you need to know in order to create, edit, format, and print your own worksheets. In addition to showing you around the worksheet, this fun and friendly book exposes you to the basics of charting, creating databases, and converting spreadsheets into Web pages. Expect to pick up invaluable tips and tricks on

  • Creating a spreadsheet from the get-go
  • Dressing up the look of your cells
  • Printing your spreadsheet masterpiece
  • Facing a database
  • Making sense of multiple worksheets
  • Editing your worksheet Web pages

Keeping things simple, this book cuts to the chase by telling you in plain terms just what it is that you need to do to accomplish a task using Excel. With spreadsheets as the focus, Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies shows you how to

  • Launch Excel from a toolbar or browser
  • Mess around with the menu bar
  • Fabricate fabulous formulas
  • Tamper with how text wraps
  • Add hyperlinks to a worksheet
  • Work with WordArt
  • Customize and design your own toolbars
  • Explore top features of Excel 2000

One look at the Excel 2000 screen (with all the boxes, buttons, and tabs), and you realize that there's a whole lot of stuff going on. With this book as your expert companion, you can tame your anxiety over the tech stuff and cell-abrate success with all the computing, text-editing, and formatting potential in this powerhouse program.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764504464
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,184,159
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Harvey is a veteran software trainer and the author of more than 30 computer books.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 3: Making It All Look Pretty

...Using the Format Cells Dialog Bar

Excel's Format->Cells command on the menu bar (Ctrl+ 1 for short) makes it a snap to apply a whole rash of different kinds of formatting to a cell selection. The Format Cells dialog box that this command calls up contains six tabs: Number, Alignment, Font, Border, Patterns, and Protection. In this chapter, I show you how to use the Number, Alignment, Font, Border, and Patterns tabs in the Format Cells dialog box to assign new number formats and fonts to your cells as well as to change their alignment, borders, and patterns. For information on how and when to use the options on the Protection tab, see Chapter 6.

The keystroke shortcut--Ctrl+ 1--that opens the Format Cells dialog box is one worth knowing. Many of you will be doing almost as much formatting as you do data entry in a worksheet. Just keep in mind that the shortcut is Ctrl plus the number 1 and not the function key F1. Further, you must use the 1 key on the top row of the regular typewriter keyboard, not the 1 located on your numeric keypad. Pressing Ctrl plus the 1 on the numeric keypad doesn't work any better than pressing Ctrl+F1.

Getting to know the number formats

As Chapter 2 explains, how you enter values into a worksheet determines the type of number format they get. Here are some examples:
  • If you enter a financial value complete with the dollar sign and two decimal places, Excel assigns a Currency number format to the cell along with the entry.
  • If you enter a value representing a percentage as a whole number followed by the percent sign without any decimal places, Excel assigns to the cell the Percentage number format that follows this pattern along with the entry.
  • If you enter a date (dates are values, too) that follows one of the built-in Excel number formats like 02/19/97 or 19-Feb-97, the program assigns a Date number format that follows the pattern of the date along with a special value representing the date.

Although it's fine to format values in this manner as you go along (and even necessary in the case of dates), you don't have to do it this way. You can always assign a number format to a group of values before or after you enter them. And, in fact, formatting numbers after you enter them is often the most efficient way to go because it's just a two-step procedure:

1. Select all the cells containing the values that need dressing up.

2. Select the number format you want to use either from the Formatting toolbar or the Format Cells dialog box.

Many times, you can use one of the tools on the Formatting toolbar--if not, you can select a number format from the Number tab in the Format Cells dialog box (Ctrl+1).

Even if you're a really good typist and prefer to enter each value exactly as you want it to appear in the worksheet, you'll still have to resort to using number formats to make the values that are calculated by formulas match the others you've entered. This is because Excel applies a General number format (which the Format Cells dialog box explains as "General format cells have no specific number format.") to all the values it calculates as well as any you enter that don't exactly follow one of the other Excel number formats.

The biggest problem with the General format is that it has the nasty habit of dropping all leading and trailing zeros from the entries. This makes it very hard to line up numbers in a column on their decimal points.

Figure 3-10 shows this sad state of affairs. The figure shows a sample worksheet with the first-quarter 2000 sales figures for Mother Goose Enterprises before any of the values have been formatted. Notice how the columns of monthly sales figures zig and zag? This is the fault of Excel's General number format; the only cure is to format the values with another more uniform number format.

Carrying your cells with the Currency Style

Given the financial nature of most worksheets, you probably use the Currency format more than any other. This is a really easy format to apply because the Formatting toolbar contains a Currency Style tool that adds a dollar sign, commas between thousands of dollars, and two decimal places to any values in a selected range. If any of the values in the cell selection are negative, this Currency format displays them in parentheses (the way accountants like them).
Figure 3-10: First-quarter-sales zigging and zagging in columns B through E.

In Figure 3-11, only the cells containing totals are selected for the Currency format (cell ranges E3:E10 and B10:D10). This cell selection was then formatted with the Currency format by simply clicking the Currency Style button on the Formatting toolbar (the one with the $ icon, naturally).

Figure 3-11: The totals in the Mother Goose Sales table after click- ing the Currency Style button on the Formatting toolbar.
Note: Although you could put all the figures in the table into the Currency format to line up the decimal points, this would result in a superabundance of dollar signs in a fairly small table. In this example, I've decided that only the monthly and quarterly totals should be formatted A la Currency.

"Look Ma no more format overflow!"

When I applied the Currency number format to the selection in the cell ranges of E3:E10 and B10:D10 in the sales table shown in Figure 3-11, Excel not only added dollar signs, commas between the thousands, a decimal point, and two decimal places to the highlighted values, but also, at the same time, automatically widened columns B, C, D, and E just enough to display all this new formatting. In earlier versions of Excel, you would have had to widen these columns yourself, and instead of the perfectly aligned numbers, you would have been confronted with columns of #######s in cell ranges E3:E10 and B10:D10. Such pound signs (where nicely formatted dollar totals should be) serve as overflow indicators, declaring that whatever formatting you've added to the value in that cell has added so much to the value's display that Excel can no longer display it within the current column width.

Fortunately, Excel eliminates the format overflow indicators when you're formatting the values in your cells by automatically widening their columns. The only time you'll ever run across these dreaded #######s in your cells will be when you take it upon yourself to manually narrow a worksheet column (see "Calibrating Columns," later in this chapter) to such an extent that Excel can no longer display all the characters in its cells with formatted values.

Carrying your cells with the Comma Style

The Comma format offers a good alternative to the Currency format. Like Currency, the Comma format inserts commas in larger numbers to separate thousands, hundred thousands, millions, and, well, you get the idea.

This format also displays two decimal places and puts negative values in parentheses. What it doesn't display is dollar signs. This makes it perfect for formatting tables where it's obvious that you're dealing with dollars and cents or for larger values that have nothing to do with money.

The Comma format also works well for the bulk of the values in the sample first-quarter sales worksheet. Figure 3-12 shows this table after the cells containing the monthly sales for each Mother Goose company were formatted with the Comma format. To do this, select the cell range B3:D9 and click the Comma Style button (the one with the, [comma] icon, of course) on the Formatting toolbar.

Figure 3-12 shows how the Comma format takes care of the earlier alignment problem in the quarterly sales figures. Moreover, notice how the Commaformatted monthly sales figures align perfectly with the Currency-formatted monthly totals in row 10. If you look really closely (you might need a magnifying glass for this one), you see that these formatted values no longer abut the right edges of their cells; they've moved slightly to the left. The gap on the right between the last digit and the cell border is there to accommodate the right parenthesis in negative values, ensuring that they too align precisely on the decimal point...

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Table of Contents


About This Book.

How to Use This Book.

What You Can Safely Ignore.

Foolish Assumptions.

How This Book Is Organized.

PART I: Getting In on the Ground Floor.

PART II: Editing without Tears.

PART III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way.

PART IV: Life beyond the Spreadsheet.

PART V: Doing a Custom Job.

PART VI:The Part of Tens.

Conventions Used in This Book.

Keyboard and mouse.

Special icons.

Where to Go from Here.

PART I: Getting In on the Ground Floor.

Chapter 1: What Is All This Stuff?

What the Hell Would I Do with Excel?

Little boxes, little boxes.

Send it to my cell address.

So just how many cells are we talking about here?

Assigning 26 letters to 256 columns.

What you should know about Excel at this point.

What you still need to know about Excel.

Getting the Darn Thing Started.

Starting Excel 2000 from the Programs or Desktop Office 2000 shortcut bar.

Starting Excel 2000 from the Windows 95/98 Start Menu.

Starting Excel 2000 from the Windows Explorer.

Creating an Excel 2000 shortcut.

Automatically opening Excel every time you turn on your computer.

Mousing Around.

Minding your mouse manners.

Getting your mouse pointer in shape.

So What Do All These Buttons Do?

Turning on to the title bar.

Messing around with the menu bar.

Scrutinizing the Standard and Formatting toolbars.

Fumbling around the formula bar.

Winding your way through the workbook window.

Manually manipulating the workbook window.

Slipping through the sheets.

Scoping out the status bar.

You AutoCalculate my totals.

The Num Lock indicator and the numeric keypad.

You Gotta Get Me Out of This Cell!

The secrets of scrolling.

Calling up new columns with the horizontal scroll bar.

Raising up new rows with the vertical scroll bar.

Scrolling from screen to screen.

Scrolling with the IntelliMouse.

The keys to moving the cell pointer.

Block moves.

When you gotta go to that cell right now!

Lotsa luck with Scroll Lock.

Ordering Directly from the Menus.

Penetrating the pull-down menus.

Now you see ’em, now you don't.

Comprehending shortcut menus.

Digging Those Dialog Boxes.

Ogling the Online Help.

Conferring with your Office Assistant.

Things to do when Clippit doesn't understand you.

Putting Clippit back in his drawer.

Choosing a new persona for the Office Assistant.

Taking tips from the Office Assistant.

Carving out context-sensitive Help.

Tackling the Help topics.

When It's Time to Make Your Exit.

Chapter 2: Creating a Spreadsheet from Scratch.

So What Ya Gonna Put in That New Workbook of Yours?

The ins and outs of data entry.

You must remember this.

Doing the Data-Entry Thing.

It Takes All Types.

The telltale signs of text.

How Excel evaluates its values.

Making sure that Excel's got your number.

How to get your decimal places fixed (when you don't even know if they're broken).

Tapping on the old ten-key.

Entering dates with no debate.

"All the way in Y2K!".

Fabricating those fabulous formulas!

if you want it, just point it out.

Altering the natural order of operations.

Formula flub-ups.

Fixing Up Those Data Entry Flub-ups.

You really AutoCorrect that for me.

Cell editing etiquette.

Taking the Drudgery Out of Data Entry.

I'm just not complete without you.

Fill ’er up with AutoFill.

Working with a spaced series.

Copying with AutoFill.

Creating custom lists for AutoFill.

Entries all around the block.

Data entry express.

How to Make Your Formulas Function Even Better.

Inserting a function into a formula with the Paste Function and the Formula Palette.

Editing a function with the Edit Formula button.

I'd be totally lost without AutoSum.

Making Sure the Data's Sate and Sound.

PART II: Editing without Tears.

Chapter 3: Making It All Look Pretty.

Choosing a Select Group of Cells.

Point-and-click cell selections.

Shifty cell selections.

Nonadjacent cell selections.

Going for the "big" cell selections.

Selecting the cells in a table of data, courtesy of AutoSelect.

Keyboard cell selections.

Extend that cell selection.

AutoSelect keyboard style.

Nonadjacent cell selections with the keyboard.

Cell selections à la Go To.

Trimming Your Tables with AutoFormat.

Festooning Your Cells with the Formatting Toolbar.

Transient toolbars.

Toolbar docking maneuvers.

Using the Format Cells Dialog Box.

Getting to know the number formats.

Currying your cells with Currency Style.

"Look Ma, no more format overflow!".

Currying your cells with the Comma Style.

Playing around with the Percent Style.

Deciding how many decimal places.

The values behind the formatting.

Ogling the other number formats.

Sorting through the Special number formats.

Creating custom number formats.

Calibrating Columns.

Rambling rows.

Now you see it, now you don't.

Hiding columns and rows, courtesy of the pull-down and shortcut menus.

Hiding columns and rows with the mouse.

Futzing with the Fonts.

Altering the Alignment.

Intent on Indents.

From top to bottom.

Tampering with how the text wraps.

Reordering the orientation.

Shrink to fit.

Bring on the borders!

Putting on new patterns.

Showing Off in Styles.

Fooling Around with the Format Painter.

Conditional Formatting.

Chapter 4: Going through Changes.

Opening the Darned Thing Up for Editing.

Opening more than one workbook at a time.

Opening recently edited workbooks from the File menu.

When you don't know where to find them.

Searching the wide disk over.

Playing favorites.

File hide-and-seek.

Making a positive ID.

Opening files with a twist.

Much Ado about Undo.

Undo is Redo the second time around.

What ya gonna do when you can't Undo?

Doing the Old Drag-and-Drop Thing.

Copies, drag-and-drop style.

Insertions courtesy of drag and drop.

Formulas on AutoFill.

Relatively speaking.

Some things are absolutes!

Cut and paste, digital style.

Paste it again, Sam.

So what's so special about Paste Special?

Let's Be Clear about Deleting Stuff.

Sounding the all clear!

Get these cells outta here!

Kindly Step Aside.

Stamping Out Your Spelling Errors.

Chapter 5: Printing the Masterpiece.

Starting the Show with Print Preview.

The Page Stops Here.

Printing it right away.

Printing it your way.

Printing in particular.

Setting and clearing the Print Area.

My Page Was Setup!

Getting the lay of the landscape.

Packing it all on one page.

Massaging the margins.

From header to footer.

Getting a standard job.

Getting a custom job.

Sorting out the sheet settings.

Putting out the print titles.

When Ya Gonna Give Your Page a Break?

Letting Your Formulas All Hang Out.

PART III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way.

Chapter 6: Oh, What a Tangled Worksheet We Weave!

Zeroing In with Zoom.

Splitting the Difference.

Fixed Headings Courtesy of Freeze Panes.

Electronic Sticky Notes.

Adding a comment to a cell.

Comments in review.

Editing the comments in a worksheet.

Getting your comments in print.

The Cell Name Game.

If I only had a name.

Name that formula!

Naming formulas with data table headings.

"Seek and Ye Shall Find…".

You Can Be Replaced!

You Can Be So Calculating.

Putting On the Protection.

Chapter 7: Maintaining Multiple Worksheets.

Juggling Worksheets.

Sliding between the sheets.

Editing en masse.

Don't Short-Sheet Me!

A sheet by any other name.

Getting your sheets in order.

Opening Windows on Your Worksheets.

Passing Sheets in the Night.

To Sum Up.

PART IV: Life beyond the Spreadsheet.

Chapter 8: The Simple Art of Making Charts.

Conjuring Up Charts with the Chart Wizard.

Moving and resizing a chart in a worksheet.

Changing the chart with the Chart toolbar.

Editing the chart directly in the worksheet.

Changing the Chart Options.

Telling all with a text box.

Formatting the x- or y-axis.

Vacillating values mean changing charts.

Changing perspectives.

Picture This!

Getting clip art online.

Drawing your own.

Working with WordArt.

One on Top of the Other.

Nixing the Graphics.

Printing Charts Only.

Chapter 9: How to Face a Database.

Designing the Data Form.

Adding records to the database.

Adding e-mail and Web addresses to a hyperlink field.

Locating, changing, and deleting records.

Scrolling the night away!

Finders keepers.

Sorting It All Out.

You AutoFilter the Database to See the Records You Want.

Viewing the top ten records.

Getting creative with custom AutoFilters.

Chapter 10: Of Hyperlinks and Web Pages.

Adding Hyperlinks to a Worksheet.

Follow those hyperlinks!

Editing and formatting hypertext links.

Editing and formatting graphics with hyperlinks.

Spreadsheets on the Web?

Saving a static Web page.

Saving an interactive Web page.

Acting out with interactive worksheet data.

Acting up with an interactive database.

Acting on an interactive chart.

Adding worksheet data to an existing Web page.

Editing your worksheet Web pages.

Editing a worksheet Web page in Excel 2000.

Exporting an interactive Web page to Excel.

"Drag and drop tables, anyone?".

Previewing and Publishing Your Web Pages.

Previewing Web pages with your browser.

Creating Web folders for publishing your Web pages.

Setting up FTP locations for publishing your Web pages.

Sending Worksheets via E-Mail.

PART V: Doing a Custom Job.

Chapter 11: Macros Like Your Mom Used to Make.

Recording Macros.

Personally Speaking.

A Macro a Day.

It's playback time!

A macro for all months.

Relative macro recording.

Re-recording a macro.

Chapter 12: Button Up That Toolbar!

Toolbars — Now You See ’em, Now You Don't.

Customizing the Built-In Toolbars.

Adding buttons from the Customize dialog box.

Removing buttons from a toolbar.

Playing musical chairs with buttons.

What a bunch of spaced-out buttons!

It's not my default!

Designing Your Own Toolbars.

Adding custom buttons that play macros.

Assigning a macro to a menu item.

Assigning a hyperlink to a custom button.

Cute as a button.

PART VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 13: Top Ten New Features in Excel 2000.

Chapter 14: Top Ten Beginner Basics.

Chapter 15: The Ten Commandments of Excel 2000.


Book Registration Information.

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Welcome to Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies, the definitive work on Excel 2000 for those of you who have no intention of ever becoming a spreadsheet guru. In this book, you find all the information that you need to keep your head above water as you accomplish the everyday tasks that people do with Excel. The intention of this book is to keep things simple and not bore you with a lot of technical details that you neither need nor care anything about. As much as possible, this book attempts to cut to the chase by telling you in plain terms just what it is that you need to do to accomplish a task using Excel.

Excel 2000 For Windows For Dummies covers all the fundamental techniques that you need to know in order to create, edit, format, and print your own worksheets. In addition to showing you around the worksheet, this book also exposes you to the basics of charting, creating databases, and converting spreadsheets into Web pages. Keep in mind, though, that this book just touches on the easiest ways to get a few things done with these features - I make no attempt to cover charting, databases, or worksheet Web pages in a definitive way. This book concentrates mainly on spreadsheets because spreadsheets are what most people need to create with Excel.

About This Book

This book is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Although its chapters are loosely organized in a logical order (progressing as you might when studying Excel in a classroom situation), each topic covered in a chapter is really meant to stand on its own.

Each discussion of a topic briefly addresses the question of what a particular feature is good for before launching into how to use it. In Excel, as with most other sophisticated programs, there is usually more than one way to do a task. For the sake of your sanity, I have purposely limited the choices by usually giving you only the most efficient ways to do a particular task. Later on, if you're so tempted, you can experiment with alternative ways of doing a task. For now, just concentrate on performing the task as described.

As much as possible, I've tried to make it unnecessary for you to remember anything covered in another section of the book. From time to time, however, you come across a cross-reference to another section or chapter in the book. For the most part, such cross-references are meant to help you get more complete information on a subject, should you have the time and interest. If you have neither, no problem; just ignore the cross-references as if they never existed.

Haw to Use This Bask

This book is like a reference where you start out by looking up the topic you need information about (either in the Table of Contents or the Index) and then refer directly to the section of interest. Most topics are explained conversationally (as though you were sitting in the back of a classroom where you can safely nap). Sometimes, however, my regiment-commander mentality takes over, and I list the steps you need to take to accomplish a particular task in a particular section.

What You Can Safety Ignore

When you come across a section that contains the steps you take to get something done, you can safely ignore all text accompanying the steps (the text that isn't in bold) if you have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through more material.

Whenever possible, I have also tried to separate background or footnote-type information from the essential facts by exiling this kind of junk to a sidebar. These sections are often flagged with icons that let you know what type of information you will encounter there. You can easily disregard text marked this way. (Icons used in this book are discussed a little later.)

Foolish Assumptions

I'm going to make only one assumption about you (let's see how close I get): You have access to a PC (at least some of the time) that has Windows 95/98 or Windows NT and Excel 2000 installed on it (and maybe there isn't much room on your hard disk for anything more!). However, having said that, I make no assumption that you've ever launched Excel 2000, let alone done anything with it.

This book is written expressly for users of Excel 2000. If you have a previous version of Excel for Windows (like Excel 97) running under the previous version of Windows (version 3.1), please put this book down and instead pick up a copy of Excel 97 For Dummies, 2nd Edition, or MORE Excel 97 For Windows For Dummies, both published by IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. If you have a version of Excel for the Macintosh, you also need to put this book down, walk over to the Macintosh section of the store, and pick up a copy of Excel 98 For Macs ForDummies.

If you happen to be using Excel 97 for Windows (either because you just haven't seen the need for upgrading yet, you're just too cheap to purchase the upgrade, or after installing Windows 98 you simply don't have enough disk space left for Excel 2000), you can use this book to figure out Excel 97 for Windows, provided that you promise to pay strict attention to the Excel 2000 icon shown in the left margin. Anytime you see this baby, it means that I'm talking about a feature or set of features that are brand-new in Excel 2000 (which means that they weren't yet invented in your version of Excel). I don't want any flame mail from you saying how the book's all wrong about some feature that doesn't appear in your copy of Excel. If that happens, I'll have to write you back and tell you that you weren't paying attention to the Excel 2000 icon. Shame on you.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized in six parts (which gives you a chance to see at least six of those great Rich Tennant cartoons!). Each part contains two or more chapters (to keep the editors happy) that more or less go together (to keep you happy). Each chapter is further divided into loosely related sections that cover the basics of the topic at hand. You should not, however, get too hung up about following along with the structure of the book; ultimately, it doesn't matter at all if you find out how to edit the worksheet before you learn how to format it, or if you figure out printing before you learn editing. The important thing is that you find the information - and understand it when you find it - when you need to perform a particular task.

In case you're interested, a synopsis of what you find in each part follows.

Part 1: Getting In on the Ground Floor

As the name implies, Part I covers such fundamentals as how to start the program, identify the parts of the screen, enter information in the worksheet, save a document, and so on. If you're starting with absolutely no background in using spreadsheets, you definitely want to glance at the information in Chapter 1 to discover what this program is good for before you move on to how to create new worksheets in Chapter 2.

Part II: Editing without Tears

Part 11 shows how to edit spreadsheets to make them look good as well as how to make major editing changes to them without courting disaster. Refer to Chapter 3 when you need information on formatting the data to improve the way it appears in the worksheet. See Chapter 4 for rearranging, deleting, or inserting new information in the worksheet. And see Chapter 5 for printing out your finished product.

Part III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way

Part III gives you all kinds of information on how to stay on top of the data that you've entered in your spreadsheets. Chapter 6 is full of good ideas on how to keep track of and organize the data in a single worksheet. Chapter 7 gives you the ins and outs of working with data in different worksheets in the same workbook and gives you information on transferring data between the sheets of different workbooks.

Part IV: Life beyond the Spreadsheet

Part IV explores some of the other aspects of Excel besides the spreadsheet. In Chapter 8, you find out just how ridiculously easy it is to create a chart using the data in a worksheet. In Chapter 9, you discover just how useful Excel's database capabilities can be when you have to track and organize a large amount of information. In Chapter 10, you find out about adding hyperlinks to jump to new places in a worksheet, to new documents, and even to Web pages, as well as how to convert worksheets into both static and dynamic (interactive) Web pages for your company's Web site(s).

Part VI: Doing a Custom Job

Part V shows how to customize the way you work with Excel. In Chapter 11, you find out how to record and play back macros to automate tasks. In Chapter 12, you customize built-in toolbars and create toolbars of your own.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

As is the tradition in these ...For Dummies books, the last part contains lists of the top ten most useful and useless facts, tips, and suggestions.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following information gives you the lowdown on how things look in this book - publishers call these the book's conventions (no campaigning, flagwaving, name-calling, or finger-pointing is involved, however).

Keyboard and mouse

Excel 2000 is a sophisticated program with lots of fancy boxes, plenty of bars, and more menus than you can count. In Chapter 1, I explain all about these features and how to use them.

Although you use the mouse and keyboard shortcut keys to move your way in, out, and around the Excel worksheet, you do have to take some time to enter the data so that you can eventually mouse around with it. Therefore, this book occasionally encourages you to type something specific into a specific cell in the worksheet. Of course, you can always choose not to follow the instructions. When I tell you to enter a specific function, the part you should type generally appears in bold type. For example, =SUM(A2:B2) means that you should type exactly what you see: an equal sign, the word SUM, a left parenthesis, the text A2:B2 (complete with a colon between the letternumber combos), and a right parenthesis. You then, of course, have to press Enter to make the entry stick.

When Excel isn't talking to you by popping up message boxes, it displays highly informative messages in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. This book renders many messages that you see on-screen like this:


Occasionally I may ask you to press a key combination in order to perform a certain task. Key combinations are written like this: Ctrl+S. That plus sign in between means that you should hold down both the Ctrl key and the S key at the same time before releasing them. This (sometimes cruel) type of finger aerobics may take some practice.

When you need to wade through one or more menus to get to the selection you want, I sometimes (though not often, mind you) use command arrows to lead you from the initial menu to the submenu and so on to the command you ultimately want. For example, if you need to first open the File menu to get to the Open command, I may write that instruction like this: File>Open.

Notice those underlined letters in the preceding paragraph? Those letters called hot keys - represent commands that you can activate simply by first pressing the Alt key and then pressing the underlined keys in succession. In the example of File>Open, you'd press Alt, and then F, and then O.

Special icons

The following icons are strategically placed in the margins to point out stuff you may or may not want to read.

This icon alerts you to nerdy discussions that you may well want to skip (or read when no one else is around).

This icon alerts you to shortcuts or other valuable hints related to the topic at hand.

This icon alerts you to information to keep in mind if you want to meet with a modicum of success.

This icon alerts you to information to keep in mind if you want to avert complete disaster.

This icon alerts you to brand-new features never before seen until the release of Excel 2000.

Where to Go from Here

If you've never worked with a computer spreadsheet, I suggest that, right after getting your chuckles with the cartoons, you go first to Chapter 1 and find out what you're dealing with. If you're already familiar with the ins and outs of electronic spreadsheets but don't know anything about creating worksheets with Excel, jump into Chapter 2, where you find out how to get started entering data and formulas. Then, as specific needs arise (like "How do I copy a formula?" or "How do I print just a particular section of my worksheet?"), you can go to the Table of Contents or the Index to find the appropriate section and go right to that section for answers.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2000



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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