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New Features and Enhancements in Excel 2003

Under the hood there have been a lot of improvements to Office Excel 2003 that will allow corporations and users to further customize Excel to fit their personal working environment.

Enhancements and new features you’ll find in Excel 2003:

  • Richer development tools

    Power users and IT departments can now further customize Excel using XML and InfoPath. This customization allows users and developers to build structured templates based on XML thus providing a more in-depth application development environment. Ultimately, this will make it easier for companies to collect and share data.

  • Enhanced document management

    Rights management has become a common occurrence in daily business; with Excel 2003 you can control the policies for reading, printing, and copying documents to further put the creator of the document in control.

  • In-depth cube analysis tools

    Access to Enterprise data enables you to create OLAP PivotTables, and use Excel’s OLE DB, ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), DAO Data Access Objects, and data access technologies in an SQL Server environment.

  • New Research task pane

    The new Research task pane allows you to research information on the Web or through a series of encyclopedias.

  • Shared workspaces

    Available only with Windows Server 2003 running, users can save workbooks to shared workspaces to better collaborate in a team environment.

  • Windows Sharepoint integration

    Use Sharepoint to manage an edit lists of information in Excel or transfer over to a Windows Sharepoint Service site.

  • Permissions

    Available if you’re running Windows Server 2003. Control your work and the distribution of your work with enhanced permissions that control whether a workbook can be saved, copied, or emailed with Windows Rights Management Services.

  • Enhanced File recovery

    When a file becomes corrupt or crashes, the files are analyzed for errors and all recoverable documentation is saved with Excel’s new Document Recovery feature.

  • Improved encryption

    The encryption feature allows you to select a CryptoAPI-based encryption type with which you can create passwords up to 255 characters in length. This provides an ultra-secure workbook.

  • Improved Help

    Through the improved Help task pane you can access client-side help or access Microsoft’s online assistance from the Microsoft Web site.

  • Enhanced collinearity detection

    Enhanced numerical detection allows Excel to identify calculations of the sum of squared deviations, normal distributions, and continuous probability distribution functions.

  • Enhanced smart tags

    You can now associate smart tag actions with specific sections within a workbook. The smart tag will only appear when you hover over the smart tag with your mouse in that desired workbook section.

  • Enhanced Clipboard viewer

    The enhanced Clipboard viewer is similar to the Excel 2002 Clipboard, except that the viewer is in the form of the task pane with multiple options for media and management. The new viewer allows you to manage clip art, photographs, movies, and sounds.

  • Programmable task panes

    Using XML support in Excel 2003, you can program task panes to relate specifically to your business and or project.

How This Book Is Organized

Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Excel 2003 is divided into logically ordered and carefully divided sections. This makes it easier for you to find the topics you need, and ensures that the book flows from basic to advanced topics in a manner that enables you to read the book from start to finish, effectively building your Excel skills.

Part I: Getting Started with Excel 2003

Chapter 1, “Getting Around Excel,” Chapter 2, “Spreadsheet Basics,” and Chapter 3, “Editing Spreadsheets,” take you around some of Excel’s new features and give you basic fundamentals to get around and manipulate the program on its basic levels. From adding and formatting worksheets to a workbook to using the new worksheet task pane, these chapters give you the basics. You’ll also learn how to use the new smart tags that appear on your spreadsheet based on certain commands performed.

Part II: Formatting and Printing Excel Worksheets

In Chapter 4, “Applying Number and Date Formats,” you’ll learn all the basics from applying number and date formats to creating your own custom number and date formats. Chapter 5, “Formatting and Printing,” takes you into the use of spreadsheets with drawing tools. From standard layouts to formatting cells, fonts, and styles, this is where you’ll find it. After you learn these basics, you’ll also learn the ins and outs of printing all elements in a spreadsheet.

Part III: Using Formulas and Functions

Chapters 6 through 16 take you through just about all the functions Excel offers. You start off with Chapter 6, “Function Fundamentals,” and move into all the function categories by chapter including Chapter 7, “Database Functions,” Chapter 8, “Date and Time Functions,” Chapter 9, “Engineering Functions,” Chapter 10, “Financial Functions,” Chapter 11, “Information Functions,” Chapter 12, “Logical Functions,” Chapter 13, “Lookup and Reference Functions,” Chapter 14, “Math and Trigonometry Functions,” Chapter 15, “Text Functions,” and Chapter 16, “Statistical Functions.” With tons of examples, you should find just about every solution you’ll need to solve problems in any business.

Part IV: Using Excel’s Analysis Tools

Chapter 17, “Setting Up a List or Database in Excel,” Chapter 18, “Using Excel’s Data-Management Features,” and Chapter 19, “Outlining, Subtotaling, and Auditing Worksheet Data,” focus on Excel’s data analysis and data-management features. Learn how to build a database or list; edit, sort, and filter the list; and use advanced filters to manipulate just about any list or database. Use form controls in conjunction with functions learned in previous chapters to automate and create custom form bid sheet models.

Part V: Creating and Modifying Charts

Chapters 20 through 23 take you on a comprehensive tour of Excel’s considerable charting tools. From building a simple bar or pie chart to stacking multiple charts, you’ll learn which chart type best depicts your data (Chapter 20, “Building Charts with Excel”) and how to manipulate its appearance and content to express your numeric data effectively (Chapter 21, “Modifying Excel Charts” and Chapter 22, “Formatting Charts”). Learn professional techniques for making your charts stand out visually as well as in terms of their content, communicating complex data in a dynamic visual format. Also learn how to tie form controls such as drop-downs and radio buttons into your charts for automatic data manipulation (Chapter 23, “Professional Charting Techniques”).

Part VI: Using Excel in Business

In Chapters 24 through 27, you learn how to build and manage a database with PivotTables. Take advantage of Excel’s new PivotTable task pane and improved PivotChart tools for data analysis to support your business decisions (Chapter 24, “Using PivotTables and PivotCharts”). Use Goal Seek, Solver, and Analysis ToolPak tools to solve simple or complex business and resource-loading problems (Chapter 25, “Using Analysis Tools: Goal Seek, Solver, and Data Tables”). Create cascading schedules and time-management tools found only in this book (Chapter 26, “Using Excel in Business”). Learn how to create custom functions that have relevance only to your business (Chapter 27, “Customizing Excel to Fit Your Working Style”).

Part VII: Integrating Excel with Other Applications

Chapters 28 through 32 show you how to end your isolation and branch out—using Excel data in your PowerPoint presentations and Access tables. Chapter 28, “Building Presentations with Excel,” provides the fundamentals for porting data over into other office applications for presentations or linked information. Chapter 29, “Using Excel with Access and Other Databases,” focuses extensively on Excel’s database access capabilities and on retrieving data from the Web. Learn how to build database queries and retrieve information from Access and from other databases. Chapter 30, “Retrieving Data from OLAP Servers,” introduces you toOLAP PivotTables and data stores, how to create them, and how to use them. Use Excel’s Cube Wizard to build and use cubes for quick data access and analysis offline. Chapter 31, “Recording and Editing a Macro,” introduces you to recording and editing macros, while Chapter 32, “Creating Interactive Excel Applications with VBA,” offers a crash course on using Visual Basic in Excel. Finally, Chapter 33 “Using Excel on the Web,” shows you how to take advantage of new Web query options that allow you to manage your stock portfolios in Excel with simple refresh commands.

Web Content

Most readers of this book will be content to use Excel exactly as it comes out of the box. Therefore, many chapters deal only with customization that can be done simply by making choices in dialog boxes. But for those using Excel as a development environment, we have a special introduction chapter for going beyond the basic macro recordings using VBA. You can find this and other valuable information at http://www.quepublishing.com.

Conventions Used in This Book

The special conventions used throughout this book are designed to help you get the most from the book as well as Excel 2002.

Text Conventions

Different typefaces are used to convey various things throughout the book. They include the following:

MonospaceScreen messages and Internet addresses appear in this special typeface.
ItalicNew terminology and emphasized text will appear in italic.
Bold monospaceReferences to text you should type will appear in bold, monospace font.
Initial CapsMenu names, dialog box names, and dialog box elements.

In this book, key combinations are represented with a plus sign. If the action you need to take is to press the Ctrl key and the S key simultaneously, the text tells you to press Ctrl+S.

Special Elements

Throughout this book, you’ll find Tips, Notes, Cautions, Cross-References, and Troubleshooting Tips. These elements provide a variety of information, ranging from warnings you shouldn’t miss to ancillary information that will enrich your Office experience but isn’t required reading.

“Signature” Tips

Tip From

Tips point out special features, quirks, or software tricks that will help you increase your productivity with Excel 2003.



Notes contain extra information or alternative techniques for performing tasks that we feel will enhance your use or understanding of the current topic.



If there is a potential problem with a feature or something you should be aware of to avoid errors or unwanted results, you’ll find both a description of the situation and how to resolve or avoid it in the Caution format.


At the end of most chapters, you’ll encounter a “Troubleshooting” section. This is where you learn how to solve or avoid common problems you might typically face with Excel 2003.

Excel in Practice

At the end of many chapters, you’ll find an example of how to use that chapter’s features to improve the overall functioning, legibility, and effectiveness of your worksheets. Often appearing in the form of before-and-after figures with explanatory callouts, these samples offer advice and practical examples for your own implementation.


Cross-references direct you to other locations in this book that provide supplemental or supporting information. They look like this:

→ For details on how to create custom number formats, see “Creating Custom Formats,” p. 97

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