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Chapter 1. Taking Control of Your Finances > What Excel Can Do for You

What Excel Can Do for You

Excel is Microsoft’s spreadsheet program. It is not a home finance program, so why am I using it in this book? Excel is a very flexible program that has applications in many different areas, and one of them is finance. Excel might not be designed specifically for personal finance, but it certainly has the tools you need. Let’s take a look at the fundamentals of Excel. If you already have some familiarity with Excel, you might want to skim or skip this section.

At the heart of Excel is the concept of a worksheet. You can think of a worksheet as an electronic form of a page from a ledger book that is ruled into rows and columns. A worksheet is larger than any real book, however, having 65,536 rows and 256 columns. The rows are numbered sequentially starting at the top, and the columns are identified by letters. The first 26 columns are A through Z, and subsequent columns are assigned double letters, starting with AA, AB, and so on up to IV. You rarely use all the rows and columns in a worksheet, but it’s nice to know they are there if you need them.


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