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Introduction to Excel X

Introduction to Excel X


Microsoft Excel X, a component of Microsoft Office v.X, is the latest version of Microsoft's spreadsheet application for Macintosh users. Now built for Mac OS X (Figure 1) and more powerful than ever, Excel enables you to create picture-perfect worksheets, charts, and lists based on just about any data.

Figure 1. Excel X is built for Mac OS X and has all the interface elements of Aqua.

This Visual QuickStart Guide will help you take control of Excel by providing step-by-step instructions, plenty of illustrations, and a generous helping of tips. On these pages, you'll find everything you need to know to get up and running quickly with Excel X—and more!

This book was designed for page flipping. Use the thumb tabs, index, or table of contents to find the topics for which you need help. If you're brand new to Excel or spreadsheets, however, I recommend that you begin by reading at least the first two chapters. Chapter 1 provides basic information about Excel's interface. Chapter 2 introduces spreadsheet concepts and explains exactly how they work in Excel.

If you've used other versions of Excel and are interested in information about new Excel X features, be sure to browse through this Introduction. It'll give you a good idea of the new things Excel has in store for you.

One last word of advice before you start: don't let Excel intimidate you! Sure, it's big, and yes, it has lots of commands. But as you work with Excel, you'll quickly learn the techniques you need to get your work done. That's when you'll be on your way to harnessing the power of Excel.

New & Improved Features in Excel X

Excel X includes several brand new features, as well as improvements to some existing features. Here's a list.

Built for Mac OS X

Excel X is built for Mac OS X and takes full advantage of the features of this new operating system. It also utilizes the Mac OS X Aqua interface throughout its interface elements (Figure 1).


Excel automatically saves information about your workbook files in the background while you work. If Excel unexpectedly quits because of a computer or power problem, the document —with all of your changes up to the last automatic save—is automatically opened when you restart Excel.

Customizable keyboard shortcuts

Excel now enables you to set your own keyboard shortcuts for menu commands. You can assign keyboard shortcuts with the new Customize Keyboard dialog (Figure 2).

Figure 2. You can use the New Customize Keyboard dialog to set your own keyboard shortcuts.

Transparent charts

The Quartz technology that's part of Mac OS X makes it possible to create transparent charts (Figure 3). (This feature is not available in the Windows version of Excel.)

Figure 3. Excel X enables you to make chart elements transparent.


Excel X is compatible with Excel 2001 and Excel 98 for Macintosh, as well as Excel 2002 (XP), Excel 2000, and Excel 97 for Windows.

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