Excel 2007: The Missing Manual
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: December 2006
Pages: 860

Microsoft Excel continues to grow in power, sophistication, and capability, but one thing that has changed very little since the early '90s is its user interface. The once-simple toolbar has been packed with so many features over the years that few users know where to find them all. Microsoft has addressed this problem in Excel 2007 by radically redesigning the user interface with a tabbed toolbar that makes every feature easy to locate and use. Unfortunately, Microsoft's documentation is as scant as ever, so even if users can find advanced features, they probably won't know what to do with them.

Excel 2007: The Missing Manual covers the entire gamut of how to build spreadsheets, add and format information, print reports, create charts and graphics, and use basic formulas and functions. Like its siblings in the Missing Manual series, this book crackles with a fine sense of humor and refreshing objectivity about its subject, guiding readers through the new Excel with clear explanations, step-by-step instructions, lots of illustrations, and friendly, time-saving advice. It's a perfect primer for small businesses with no techie to turn to, as well as those who want to organize household and office information.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Just what the Doctor ordered

By Mr. Safety

from Canada

About Me Data Entry Specialist

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    I've used this book as an Excel 2007 reference off-and-on since 2009. As usual, corporate environments are slower to transition to the latest versions of Microsoft Office, and this holds true for Excel as well. Furthermore, the Ribbon feature introduced in Excel 2007 carries forward into Office 2010, so if you learn this version you'll be better prepared to use other Ribbon-based versions of Office. The author of this book (Matthew MacDonald) has also written a Missing Manual book for Excel 2010 which you might want to check out if that version of Excel is more relevant to you.

    So, how well is this book written? In my view it's excellent, for 3 main reasons: 1) It's easy to read. As the author points out on the back jacket, many computer manuals read like dry catalogs of information. Not so with this one. The entire book (or at least the 15 or so sections I've read) are written in a conversational style that never sounds forced or professorial. 2) It's relevant. Just about every Excel function and operation - from beginner all the way through to advanced level - is covered here. Regardless of your experience level, this will be your go-to resource. 3) Online integration. When I first received the book, I was alarmed: There's no CD! Flipping to the back of the book, I soon discovered that all of the examples created in the book (there are over 150) can be downloaded - for FREE - from the Missing Manuals website. The total download size is just over 3 MB and includes all of the examples the author uses in the book. I have found this to be extremely useful as I have neither the time nor the inclination to re-create dozens of 50 to 100-row Excel Spreadsheets simply for the benefit of my own learning! Fortunately for all of us, Mr. MacDonald has done so, and in so doing, as added tremendous value to this book.

    So is this worth buying? Well, it depends. If you use Excel regularly (for example, as part of your job) then absolutely, yes! The sheer variety of topics covered in the book alone makes it worth buying. If, on the other hand, you use Excel only rarely, then perhaps not. This is a manual of sorts, after all, and if you only use Excel occaisionally then you may be better off using free online resources and Excel's built-in online Help. For the rest of us though - for students, teachers, and those like myself who work as Excel specialists - Excel 2007: The Missing Manual is a reference like no other. The author's ease in presenting complex topics, the range of topics covered, and the availability of all the sample Excel spreadsheets used in the book, make this book a must buy. If you're sitting on the fence, I recommend heading on over to the Missing Manuals website to give this book (and Excel 2010: The Missing Manual) a look to see if it's for you. If you're a regular Excel user - or a professional - I'm confident you'll like what you see. 4/5

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    Missing a Key Component

    By JD

    from Chicago

    About Me Developer

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    I think the book is great. I would give it 4 or 5 stars, but I encountered an issue which left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I downloaded the code examples and tried to run the Investment Examples file in chapter 20. When I open the file, I get this message: "Opening the VBA project in this file requires a component that is not currently installed. This file will be opened without the VBA project. For more information, search Microsoft Office Online for VBA converters." So, dutifully, I went to Microsoft Office Online, searched for VBA converters and ran the installation for Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The installation told me that this was already installed on my computer and quit. So, after 30 more minutes of searching the Internet for a solution, I am no closer to figuring out what needs to be installed so that the VBA project will convert. I am most interested in the scenario analysis capability of Excel and I work in the investment industry, so this specific example was the one I really wanted to run. I don't understand how a book on Excel 2007 has horribly outdated examples (yes, the file extension is XLS) that cannot be run.

    (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


    Excel 2007 The Missing Manual

    By tigner1

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    I'm a 57 year old community college student. I am completing an Excel 2007 class this semester and it was a real struggle. I am going to come out of this class with a B or B+ average(assuming I don't blow the final), but I haven't learned anything. I discovered your book(Excel 2003)while browsing the school library for help. I'm just sorry I didn't discover it at the beginning instead of the end of the semester. I could have really learned something in that class. I've since ordered and received your Excel 2007 The Missing Manual, and let me tell you that title says it all. This should be the book used in every Excel course. I plan to spend this summer using your book to learn Excel.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Excel 2007 _ The Missing Manual

    By Alan German

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    Excel 2007 _ The Missing Manual

    A book review by Alan German

    Another of those O'Reilly books "that should have been in the box", this one is written by Matthew MacDonald for Pogue Press, and offers insight into the mysteries of the latest version of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program.

    The introduction suggests that users of prior versions of the software (notably Excel 2002 or 2003) should seek help from "Excel 2003: The Missing Manual". However, I would suggest that the basics, and many of the advanced features of Excel, are adequately covered in the current work. The main thing in Excel 2007 that's different is a set of features of the user interface (e.g. the Ribbon, Office Menu, Quick Access Toolbar, and Save-as-PDF), many of which are just icing on the cake rather than must-have functions. So, if you use Excel (or, like me, a clone such as Open Office Calc), you will find lots of extremely useful how-to information in this book.

    The text consists of a substantial 831 pages plus a colophon (a new word for me - "a tail-piece in old books... giving information now placed on the title-page" - The Concise Oxford Dictionary). Excel 2007 is organized in eight parts _ Worksheet Basics, Formulas and Functions, Organizing Worksheets, Charts and Graphics, Advanced Data Analysis, Sharing Data with the Rest of the World, Programming Excel, and an Appendix.

    Each part is subsequently divided into chapters so that Worksheet Basics consists of the first seven chapters of the book and includes basic information on "Creating and Navigating Worksheets" to more advanced features such as "Smart Formatting Tricks" that will, for example, illustrate the magic behind conditional formatting of specific cells. The chapter on "Viewing and Printing Worksheets" provides information on the very useful Window-Freeze command that is often used to keep the column titles at the top of the screen while the data below can be scrolled up and down, and there are several pages of must-know information on print settings in order to produce sophisticated printouts of your spreadsheets.

    The section on formulas and functions includes details of how to specify an individual cell or a range of cells in a calculation, including absolute and partially fixed cell references that are frequently useful when copying formulae within a worksheet or even between spreadsheets. This part of the book is worth the price of admission by itself since it provides a valuable reference to the capabilities of the myriad of functions contained in Excel. This is information that is quite difficult to obtain from the program's help system, especially if you don't know that a specific function exists!

    So, here you will find details of the COUNTA function that will, for example, help you total the number of non-blank cells in a column, or the COUNTIF function that you could use to count the number of cells containing a particular value. And, who could survive without the ATANH trigonometrical function; being able to use IRR to calculate the internal rate of return based on the cash flow of your business; or combining text strings with CONCATENATE? If your formula produces an outrageous result, did you know that you can use the Evaluate Formula tool to do some troubleshooting by processing the formula one step at a time, or perhaps using Excel's tracing feature to graphically show how certain cells are linked?

    Part three of the book looks at tables and list management, with such topics as searching, sorting, filtering and grouping data, while part four shows how to create and modify various types of charts to pictorially represent the information in your spreadsheet, how to add clip art and even photographs to provide additional customization. Advanced Data Analysis, in part five of the book, shows how to create summary reports of complex spreadsheet data, how to perform goal seeking calculations, or how to use Solver for iterative computations in situations where a simple formula cannot provide the solution being sought. A particularly powerful analytical technique, where summary information is required on large datasets, is the use of pivot tables which the book's author describes as "a hidden gem in Excel". Technically known as cross-tabulation, this technique provides a means summarizing complex data where multiple relationships exist.

    As an example, after reading this section of the book, it was evident to me that a pivot table would readily produce a breakdown of the number of members of a national organization by geographic location. While this could be (and was previously!) obtained by using a set of COUNTIF functions, one for each jurisdiction, this is a cumbersome process when applied to thirteen provinces and territories across Canada, plus a number of foreign countries. Using a pivot table, it's simply a matter of creating a new column where, for each membership record, the cell in the new column contains the number "1" . The pivot table is then created using a wizard, detailed instructions for which, including a series of screen shots, are provided in the book. It's merely necessary to specify cross-tabulation of the column of data containing the geographical location of the members with the new column of 1's. The resulting pivot table instantly shows the total number of members in each geographical location by automatically summing the number of members in Ontario, Quebec, etc. Easy!

    Part six of the book, Sharing Data with the Rest of the World, has information on data protection, working collaboratively with other users, issuing queries from Excel to database files, using XML, and exchanging data over the Internet. The discussion includes how to protect individual cells against invalid data entry, such as locking a specific cell that contains a fixed numerical value, and even how to create pop-up warning messages if things go awry. There are also details of the means to move data across various applications, such as embedding objects in Windows' programs, and creating comma-delimited text files for data transfer.

    Macro programming forms the topic for part seven, everything from automatically recording a set of keystrokes as a macro, to the essentials of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming. The text explains how to play back a stored macro, and even how to assign the macro to a graphical button on the spreadsheet to provide easy access any time the same set of commands is required to be applied to the spreadsheet. Twenty-five pages are dedicated to VBA, including use of the editor, coding, program objects, and debugging. It's probably enough to get you started in Excel, but if you are serious about VBA, I suspect that you will need a whole manual on just this topic (and, of course, O'Reilly provides a choice between several such texts!)

    The final part of the book is an appendix discussing customization of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). This is a topic that is specific to Excel 2007. The author notes that, in contrast to earlier versions of the program, Excel 2007 restricts the end user's options to modify the menu structures to just making changes to the QAT. So, if you use Excel 2007, and are desperate to customize the system, this chapter is for you.

    If you are new to Excel, and especially to Excel 2007, this book will provide a lot of basic information to help you get to know the wonders of spreadsheet use. For intermediate users, there is a host of tips and tricks to be found between the covers. And, even advanced users may find some gems of interest. There must be something that you don't know about Excel in over 800 pages of text!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    Excel 2007 This Missing Manual

    By cher81

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    Excel 2007

    The Missing Manual

    Matthew MacDonald

    Pogue Press/O'Reilly

    The book entitled "The Missing Manual for Excel 2007" is the manual that should have been in the box with the application.

    Part One, Chapter 1 which is Worksheet Basics, starts off by showing you how to create Basic Worksheets, starting a New Workbook, adding Column Titles, and adding data. It goes on to show you how to navigate in Excel 2007, including the tabs of the ribbon, the formula bar, status bar and Excel options.

    The biggest difference in Microsofts's latest issue of Excel is that there is no "drop down" menu. It has been replaced by "ribbons" that indicate immediately where you want to go to do whatever it is that you want to make or change. The greatest obstacle is unlearning all the strokes that you had to do prior to this version. The learning curve of the ribbons takes time, but the bottom line is that once learned, it becomes a treasure because of the amount of time that it saves when adding to, or taking away from, or changing and/or amending your worksheet. Every one of the previous Excel keyboard features continues to work in the same manner. There is relearning for these actions.

    Part One of Microsoft's Excel 2007 goes on to show you how to save files, opening files, and opening multiple spreadsheets at one time.

    In Chapter 2, there are explanations of how to add different types of data and quick ways to add data, auto correct, autofill, autofit and undo and redo. Chapter 3 is devoted to moving data around the worksheet. For instance, selecting cells, making continuous range selections, and making non-contiguous selections. This chapter goes on to show everything from a simple cut and past or copy and

    paste to an easier and faster way to do this task. It goes on to develop skills in inserting columns or rows or inserting copied or cut cells and/or deleting columns and rows.

    Chapter 4 goes into much more depth about managing worksheets and workbooks. Mr. MacDonald explains how to add or remove or hide worksheets in addition to naming and rearranging worksheets or grouping them, or moving worksheets from one workbook to another. He shows how to search for basic information, as well as advanced searches.

    Chapter 5 shows how to format cell values, and formatting cell appearance. Excel 2007 goes on to explain alignment and orientation in addition to fonts and color and borders and fills. Chapters 6 and 7 describe in detail the smart formatting tricks that are packed into Excel2007. Again, for instance, styles and themes, custom styles, modifying styles, transferring styles between workbooks, basics of conditional formatting, highlighting specific values, etc. An absolute plethora of information that you would want to make your worksheet or workbook easier to handle the data that you want or need to enter. There is also another chapter regarding viewing and printing worksheets.

    Part Two of Excel 2007 goes into more depth of Excel's advanced features, I will list them chapter by chapter with a small resume of each one. Chapter 8 is entitled Building Basic Formulas, and goes on to explain how to create a basic formula, formula shortcuts and copying formulas. Chapter 9 is entitled Math and Statistical Functions. In this area Mr. MacDonald explains rounding numbers, groups of numbers, general math functions, trigonometry and advanced math, and advanced statistics. Really heavy weight information. Chapters 10 and 11 are devoted to Financial functions like future values, present values, depreciation, and other financial functions. Excel Chapter 11 to on to explain how to manipulate dates, times and text. Chapters 12 and 13 are packed full information on Reference and Information Functions including advanced lookups for matching or indexing, and information functions, like checking the value inside a cell or finding a value's data type or error type. Excel2007 goes on to describe Advanced Formula Writing and troubleshooting, i.e. conditions in formulas, descriptive names for cell references, variable data tables, etc.

    Part Three, Chapters 14, 15 and 16, are essentially devoted to Tables, the basics of tables and how to create tables. It goes into sorting and filtering tables, and dealing with duplicate rows and performing table calculations. It goes on to Grouping and Outlining Data and Templates.

    Part 4, Chapter 17 is entitled Charts and Graphics (Basic) and Chapter 18 has information on

    Formatting and Perfecting Charts. Chapter 19 goes into the more advanced information on Inserting graphics in a worksheet using Excel's clip Art Library.

    Part 5, Chapter 20, goes into scenarios and goal seeking, with complex equations and Chapter 21 talks of Pivot tables and revisits tables in general.

    Parts 6 and Part 7 have chapters on Sharing Data with the Rest of the World, Worksheet Collaboration, Querying Databases and SML Files, Exchanging Data with Other Programs connecting worksheets to the Web, automating tasks with macros, programming spreadsheets with VBA (Visual Basic for Applications).

    As you can see, this is a heavy weight instruction manual that should have been in the packaging with the application. Excel 2007, The Missing Manual has missed nothing. It has all the information, and then some,,,for anything that one would want to do, or could do with Excel.

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    Excel 2007: The Missing Manual

    By Frederick J Eccher Jr

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    Title: Excel 2007: The Missing Manual

    By Matthew MacDonald

    First Edition: December 2006

    Series: The Missing Manuals

    ISBN 10: 0-596-52759-4

    ISBN 13: 9780596527594

    Pages: 856

    The introduction tells in general about the "hot additions":

    Fewer limits

    Faster speeds

    Better looking charts

    Formula AutoComplete


    Easier (and prettier) conditional formatting

    Easier (and prettier) pivot tables

    Save as PDF: available as a free download, not actually in Excel 2007

    This book is heavy reading. After a few paragraphs of light introduction, each sentence is packed with actions to take, issues to ponder, tables to study, and much more. The actions to take could not be done in one night. Look forward to a week, at least.

    This book is light reading. The style is light and easy to enjoy. The author is definitely a wordsmith and has total control over the tone of the book. Some of the chapters start with non issues to people interested in Excel, but this seems to be his writing style: a neutral or buffered start so you do not bolt before you get into that chapter.

    I liked the following chapters quite a bit:

    Chapter 27 Automating tasks with macros

    Chapter 28 Programming spreadsheets with visual basic

    Part Six was the best

    Chapter 22 Protecting your workbooks

    Chapter 23 Worksheet collaboration

    Chapter 24 Querying databases and XML Files

    Chapter 25 Exchanging Data with other programs

    Chapters 24 and 25 were the very best in the book, depending on whether you were more interested in querying databases or exchanging data.

    This book is worth 5 stars and every penny charged for it, taking everything into account. A balanced point of view is being used by the author in parts of the text. Well done.

    I really like Excel 2007 and find it to be an impressive spreadsheet.

    Frederick J Eccher Jr


    M.S. Management of Information Systems

    A.B. Psychology

    B.A. Biology

    CIO, Community Partners

    President, Board of Directors, Saint Louis Visual Basic Users Group

    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    Excellent book

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Excel 2007: The Missing Manual:

    Excel is not my area of expertise and even though I have been using Excel for a number of years, I still classify myself as a novice. I note that this book is well illustrated and written in a language I can understand. The book has everything you need to get started and contains more advanced chapters such as formulas and functions, organizing worksheets, charts and graphics and advanced Data Analysis. Other areas covered are Sharing Data, programming Excel and customizing. It has everything for the novice and the more advanced user.

    This book is a must have for those who want to know more about Excel.

    I love this book because it makes sense and is most helpful in achieving what I want to do.

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