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Introduction > This Book's Special Features

This Book's Special Features

Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2003 is designed to give you the information you need without making you wade through ponderous explanations and interminable technical background. To make your life easier, this book includes various features and conventions that help you get the most out of the book and Excel itself.

  • Steps— Throughout the book, each Excel task is summarized in step-by-step procedures.

  • Things you type— Whenever I suggest that you type something, what you type appears in a bold font.

  • Commands— I use the following style for Excel menu commands: File, Open. This means that you pull down the File menu and select the Open command.

  • Dialog box controls— Dialog box controls have underlined accelerator keys: Close.

  • Functions— Excel worksheet functions appear in capital letters and are followed by parentheses: SUM(). When I list the arguments you can use with a function, optional arguments appear surrounded by square brackets: CELL(info_type, [reference]).

  • Code-continuation character ()— When a formula is too long to fit on one line of this book, it's broken at a convenient place, and the code-continuation character appears at the beginning of the next line.

This book also uses the following boxes to draw your attention to important (or merely interesting) information.


The Note box presents asides that give you more information about the topic under discussion. These tidbits provide extra insights that give you a better understanding of the task at hand.


The Tip box tells you about Excel methods that are easier, faster, or more efficient than the standard methods.


The all-important Caution box tells you about potential accidents waiting to happen. There are always ways to mess things up when you're working with computers. These boxes help you avoid at least some of the pitfalls.

→ These cross-reference elements point you to related material elsewhere in the book.


You'll find these case studies throughout the book, designed to apply what you've learned to projects and real-world examples.


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