Power Excel & Word
by Dan Gookin, ISBN 0-7821-4379-2
V. Kappel, November 2004, send
by: Sybex, go
to the web site
author of more than 90 computer books including
such as DOS for Dummies and PC’s
for Dummies, Dan Gookin has now written a 300+ page
book on tips, tricks and workarounds for Microsoft's
flagship products Excel and Word.
contents of the book are about evenly divided between
tricks and workarounds for both Word
and Excel, covering versions from Office 97 to today’s
Office XP. The quality of the tips go from basic
knowledge (a lot of tips) to advanced expert (not
so many). The chapters are divided, uniquely as far
as we can tell, into knowledge areas. Some of these
knowledge areas are not normally found in this sort
of book. If you're searching for this kind of information
in the usual places (online, library, etc.) it can
often be difficult to find. Chapter 6 is a good example
- Writing that Great American Novel or Screenplay
which tells you, among other things, how to format
properly for submissions. Chapter 11 is another good
example - It's Super Dooper Grid Time, explaining
how to effectively use the powerful layout and database
features built into Excel and Word.
just the two chapters mentioned above here’s
a sample of tips and tricks titles to give you an
idea of the book’s layout and contents:
What The Heck Is Outline Mode?
How Do I Create A Topic?
What’s A Subtopic?
How Do I Create A Table Of Contents?
How Does Indexing Work?
Cobbling Together A Screenplay
Why Bother With Extra Worksheets?
Letting Excel Be A Database Of Sorts
PivotTable is Designed to Make Me Go Insane, Right?
What’s the Difference between a Table and a List?
So Then, How Does One Make a PivotTable?
Cons: The book
is written in a wisecracking style. The promotional copy
for the book refers to the writing style
as something which is "uniquely entertaining." But
the use of words such as "Hell" and "Cheap-Ass" as
in “Where the Hell are My Margins” and “The
Cheap-Ass Tour of Your Basic Excel Window" although
certainly not offensive in the slightest these days, always
seems unnecessary to me. Repeated use of this sort of language
tends to lower the informality to a level I usually don't
read, appreciate or enjoy. Too much of this kind of expressiveness
in a somewhat advanced technical book is inappropriate.
It seems to be a writing style much more appropriate to
the Dummies books.
are lots more tips, tricks and workarounds in the book's
15 chapters. It’s somewhat surprising
the author didn't number the individual tips and tricks
in order to give the marketing mavens some additional advertising
hits ("More than 400 Tips!" or whatever the actual
count is). There's nothing like a bit of 'wow' factor to
grab attention. In any case, figuring that the 15 chapters
each contain approximately 30 headings, each of which is
populated with topic breakdowns similar to chapters 6 & 11
(as listed above), you really do get more than 400 tips
in this book for your money.
If you figure that any one of these tips, some of them
hard to find elsewhere, can save you time and money and
make you look good at work, then the book is a good deal.
I definitely found some information about both Word and
Excel that I'm glad to know. Even if I need the information
only rarely (and end up forgetting half of it) now that
I've got the book on my shelf I can refer to it at any
time. That's the nice thing about these kinds of reference
books - they contain a lot of information, ready at hand,
which could take hours to find online. Books are good.
This one is worthwhile, but be prepared to work your way
through that funky style.
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