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Introduction

Introduction

IN THIS INTRODUCTION

What’s in This Book

This Book’s Special Features

It has been estimated that although Microsoft Office 2003 contains more than 10,000 features, the average user is familiar with only about 150 of them. That means that most people have left a whopping 98.5 percent of Office territory unexplored. In practical terms, it also means that most people aren’t taking advantage of the power of the Office suite. It means that most people are working inefficiently by trying to make the techniques they know serve a wide range of situations, and it means that most people are working ineffectively because they aren’t aware of techniques that could solve their problems and add sophistication to their documents.

You’ll no doubt be happy to hear that the goal of this book is not to give you a tour of the 98.5 percent (or whatever) of Office features that you may be unfamiliar with. I don’t know anyone who wants to learn all of Office. Instead, my purpose here is to share with you the tips and shortcuts and little-known techniques—in short, the tricks—that I’ve amassed in my more than 15 years of wrestling with the Office programs. You’ll also no doubt be happy to hear that this book shuns what I call “stunt tricks”: those arcane and useless tips that have no purpose in the real world and serve only to show off the knowledge and smarts of the writers. A pox on their houses! This book is grounded firmly in the real world of business and other practical concerns, and the tricks I offer are designed to help you work better, faster, safer, and smarter.

What’s in This 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. 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:

This Book’s Special Features

Tricks of the Microsoft Office Gurus 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 Office 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.

  • Code-continuation characters ()— When a line of code is too long to fit on a single 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.

Headings Let You See What a Sidebar Is About at a Glance

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.


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


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