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Introduction

Introduction

This Visual QuickProject Guide offers a unique way to learn about new technologies. Instead of drowning you in theoretical possibilities and lengthy explanations, this Visual QuickProject Guide uses big, color illustrations coupled with clear, concise step-by-step instructions to show you how to complete a specific project in a matter of hours.

Our project in this book is to create an Excel workbook file that compares actual to budgeted income and expenses for three months, consolidates the results, and illustrates consolidated expenses as a pie chart. Although our example uses income and expense items for a fictional business, you can easily customize the worksheets for your own business or personal use. For example, you can create a worksheet that compares your personal budgeted and actual expenditures to see how well you're keeping to your budget. Or use the skills you'll learn throughout this book to keep track of your business's customer invoices and payments.

As you work through the project, you'll learn how to build worksheet files from the ground up, enter data and formulas, and copy formulas to save time. You'll see how powerful and flexible Excel is by working through examples that show off its most commonly used features. You'll try out Excel's consolidation feature and create and “explode” a colorful, three-dimensional chart. You'll also fine-tune the appearance of your worksheet files by applying all kinds of formatting. Along the way, you'll get plenty of ideas for how you can use Excel to crunch the numbers in your life.

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