Excel for Chemists: A Comprehensive Guide [With CDROM] / Edition 2

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Reviews from the First Edition:

"Excel® for Chemists should be part of any academic library offering courses and programs in chemistry. There is no other book on the market that deals so thoroughly with the application of Excel for analyzing chemical data. Highly recommended, for upper-division undergraduates through professionals."

"I highly recommend this book; treat yourself to it; assign it to a class; give it as a gift."
-The Nucleus

Chemists across all subdisciplines use Excel to record data in tabular form, but few have learned to take full advantage of the scientific calculating power within this program. Excel is capable of helping chemists process, analyze, and present scientific data, from the relatively simple to the highly complex. Excel® for Chemists, Second Edition has been revised and updated, not only to take into account the changes that were made in Excel, but also to incorporate an abundance of new examples.

Arranged in a user-friendly format, this book contains illustrations and examples of chemical applications, useful "How to" boxes outlining how to accomplish complex tasks in Excel, and step-by-step instructions for programming Excel to automate repetitive data-processing tasks. In addition, tips are provided to speed, simplify, and improve your use of Excel. Included is a CD-ROM, usable in either Macintosh or IBM/Windows environments with many helpful spreadsheet templates, macros, and other tools.

Entirely new chapters contained in this Second Edition feature:

  • Array formulas covered in depth in a separate chapter, along with a comprehensive review of using arrays in VBA
  • How to create a worksheet with controls, such as option buttons, check boxes, or a list box
  • An extensive list of shortcut keys-over 250 for Macintosh or PC-is provided in the appendix
Whether as a text for students or as a reference for chemical professionals in industry, academia, or government, Excel® for Chemists, Second Edition provides a valuable resource for using Excel to manage various chemical calculations.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...designed to help chemists in industry, academia, or government make use of the full capacity of Excel." (SciTech Book News, Vol. 25, No. 3, September 2001)
Written by a chemist (Boston University), this guide is designed to help chemists in industry, academia, or government make use of the full capacity of Excel. Updated and revised, this edition incorporates recent changes made to the program and an array of new examples. CD-ROM, usable in Macintosh or IBM/Windows environments, presents spreadsheet templates, macros, and other tools. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471394624
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.07 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

E. JOSEPH BILLO is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: Creating Charts: An Introduction

Nothing can be as helpful as displaying data in graphical form. With Excel you can quickly and easily create a chart, simply by selecting the data to be plotted and choosing the way you want the data to be displayed; Excel does the rest. In this chapter you'll learn the basics of creating Excel charts.

Only One Chart Type Is Useful For Chemists

Excel 2000 provides a gallery of 14 standard chart types - bar charts, column charts, line charts and pie charts, among others. Since Excel originated as a financial tool, most of the chart types are those that are useful for displaying financial and related information - a bar chart to show sales figures for each business quarter, a line chart to show stock values each day over a one-month period, etc. Only one kind of chart, the XY or scatter plot, is of general usefulness for displaying scientific data. It is the only one in which numeric values are used along both axes. All other charts plot the numeric y values vs. equal increments on the X Axis and use the x values only for labels (called categories by Excel). The line chart, which looks like an XY chart, is actually only a bar chart of y values with the y values (the tops of the bars) shown as marker points connected by straight lines.

Creating a Chart

There are two ways to create a chart: either as a separate chart sheet in a workbook, or as a chart embedded in a worksheet, so that you can see both the data and the chart at the same time. An embedded chart is useful if you want to see how a curve changes as you change its parameters. As you change the values in worksheet cells, the chart will update automatically.

Creating a Chart Using The Chart Wizard

You can use the Chart Wizard toolbutton to create a chart. To use the Chart Wizard, first select the data to be plotted, e.g., a column of x values and a column of y values. The data can be in rows or columns. If the rows or columns are not adjacent, hold down the CONTROL key (Windows) or COMMAND key (Macintosh) while selecting the separate rows or columns of data. Then press the Chart Wizard toolbutton (alternatively, you can press the Chart Wizard button first and select the data range later). The first of a series of four dialog boxes will appear. The first Chart Wizard dialog box (Figure 2-1) lets you select the desired chart format. There are tabs for two categories: Standard Types and Custom Types (Custom Types are discussed in Chapter 5). When you select a chart type from the Chart Type category box, the chart subtypes will be displayed on the right. There are five subtypes of XY Scatter chart: marker points with no connecting lines, marker points connected by straight lines, straight lines with no marker points, points connected by a smooth curve and a smooth curve with no marker points.

In general, the Smooth Curve options are not useful, especially if you are plotting data that obeys a particular mathematical relationship, or data with some experimental scatter. To produce a chart with a smooth calculated curve through experimental data points, see "Plotting Experimental Data Points and a Calculated Curve" in Chapter 5.

The second dialog box (Figure 2-2) displays a preview of the chart and allows you to enter or change the range of data to be plotted. The second and subsequent dialog boxes also provide the Cancel and Back buttons, in case you want to change what you've already selected...

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Table of Contents


Preface to the First Edition.

Before You Begin.


Working with Excel.

Creating Charts: An Introduction.


Creating Advances Worksheet Formulas.

Creating Array Formulas.

Advanced Charting Techniques.

Using Excel's Database Features.

Getting Data into Excel.

Adding Controls to a Spreadsheet.


Some Mathematical Tools for Spreadsheet Calculations.

Graphical and Numerical Methods of Analysis.

Linear Regression.

Non-Linear Regression Using the Solver.


Visual Basic for Applications: An Introduction.

Programming with VBA.

Working with Arrays in VBA.

Creating Command Macros.

Creating Custom Functions.

Creating Custom Menus and Menu Bars.

Creating Custom Tools and Toolbars.


Analysis of Solution Equilibria.

Analysis of Spectrophotometric Data.

Calculation of Binding Constants.

Analysis of Kinetics Data.


Appendix A: Selected Worksheet Functions by Category.

Appendix B: Alphabetical List of Selected Worksheet Functions.

Appendix C: Selected Visual Basic Keywords by Category.

Appendix D: Alphabetical List of Selected Visual Basic Keyword.

Appendix E: Shortcut Keys for PC and Macintosh.

Appendix F: Selected Shortcut Keys by Category.

Appendix G: About the CD-ROM That Accompanies This Book.


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Many very bright and competent people enrolled in colleges, universities, and community colleges are frustrated. They are eager, ambitious, and quite capable of succeeding in their careers or moving to a better job. They want to learn but find themselves handicapped because they do not have the basic mathematics skills needed to continue. They need help with these essential skills. If that describes where you are, this book is for you.

This book is designed to help you review or relearn basic arithmetic skills. It is more like a private tutor than a lecturer; you participate in the process rather than simply reading, listening, or sleeping through it. The book is organized in a format that respects your unique needs and interests and teaches you accordingly:

  • You can use it for self-study, for study with a tutor or helper, or as a text in a formal course.
  • Each chapter begins with a preview and a sample test to help you see your particular needs.
  • You have the option of designing your own course, skipping familiar material to save time or working through all of it if you need it.
  • Many practice problems and self-tests are included, including drill problems, practical applications, more difficult brain boosters, and problems where a calculator should be used. Each chapter ends with an optional self-test.
  • Answers to all problems are in the back of the book.
  • Unlike previous mathematics textbooks you may have used, this book is careful to explain every operation. Sometimes we even explain our explanations.
This book has been used by hundreds of thousands of students and they tell us it is helpful, interesting, and even fun to work through. We hope you agree with them.

It is a pleasure for us to acknowledge our debts to the many people who have contributed to the development of this book and to this third edition. Jeffrey Golick and the staff at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., have been most supportive and patient throughout the lengthy process of producing a book. We were fortunate to have W Royce Adams, formerly the director of the Reading Center at Santa Barbara Community College, read preliminary versions of the book and provide valuable assistance in improving its readability.

Finally, we wish to extend special thanks to our kindest critics and most enthusiastic helpers: our children-Pat, Laurie, Maire, and Ericour other works in collaboration.

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Since the publication of the first edition of this book in 1997, two new versions of Excel for the PC have appeared: Excel 97 and Excel 2000 (the corresponding Macintosh versions are Excel 98 and Excel 2001). This second edition of Excel for Chemists has been revised and updated, not only to take into account the changes that were made in Excel 97 and Excel 2000, but also to incorporate much new material.

The material concerning charts has been changed extensively to reflect the changes that were made to the ChartWizard. The chapters on programming with VBA have been revised, and the chapters on creating command macros and custom functions using VBA have been completely re-written.

There are three completely new chapters in this edition:

  • Array formulas are now covered in depth in a separate chapter, rather than being discussed in the chapter on Excel formulas.
  • Creating a worksheet with controls, such as option buttons, check boxes or a list box, is now covered in depth in a separate chapter.
  • Using arrays in VBA is now covered in depth in a separate chapter.
In addition, an extensive list of shortcut keys - over 250 shortcut keys for PC or Macintosh - has been provided in the appendix.

Much of the material in this book has been incorporated in a course titled "Excel for Scientists and Engineers" that has been presented to over 1300 scientists in the past four years - not only chemists, but also scientists in many other disciplines. Many changes in this edition were made in light of the experience gained in teaching these courses.

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