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Introduction > What's in the Book

What's in the Book

This book isn't meant to be read from cover to cover, although you're certainly free to do just that if the mood strikes you. Instead, most of the chapters are set up as self-contained units that you can dip into at will to extract whatever nuggets of information you need. However, if you're a relatively new Excel user, I suggest starting with Chapters 1, “Getting the Most Out of Ranges”; 2, “Using Range Names”; 3, “Building Basic Formulas”; and 6, “Using Functions” to ensure that you have a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of Excel ranges, formulas, and functions.

The book is divided into four main parts. To give you the big picture before diving in, here's a summary of what you'll find in each part:

  • Part I, “Mastering Excel Ranges and Formulas”— The five chapters in Part 1 tell you just about everything you need to know about building formulas in Excel. Starting with a thorough look at ranges (crucial for mastering formulas), this part also discusses operators, expressions, advanced formula features, and formula-troubleshooting techniques.

  • Part II, “Harnessing the Power of Functions”— Functions take your formulas to the next level, and you'll learn all about them in Part 2. After you see how to use functions in your formulas, you examine the eight main function categories—text, logical, information, lookup, date, time, math, and statistical. In each case, I tell you how to use the functions and give you lots of practical examples that show you how you can use the functions in everyday business situations.

  • Part III, “Building Business Models”— The four chapters in Part 3 are all business as they examine various facets of building useful and robust business models. You learn how to analyze data with Excel lists, how to use what-if analysis and Excel's Goal Seek and scenarios features, how to use powerful regression-analysis techniques to track trends and make forecasts, and how to use the amazing Solver feature to solve complex problems.

  • Part IV, “Building Financial Formulas”— The book finishes with more business goodies related to performing financial wizardry with Excel. You learn techniques and functions for amortizing loans, analyzing investments, dealing with bonds, and using discounting for business case and cash-flow analysis.

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