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Product: Microsoft Office XP Professional With FrontPage
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: Various
Review By: Byron Hinson & Julien Jay

Microsoft Excel 2002

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Word 2002
3: Excel 2002
4: Outlook 2002
5: FrontPage 2002
6: Access 2002
7: PowerPoint 2002
9: Conclusion

At the time it was released Microsoft Excel was just one more competitor of Lotus 123. Indeed Lotus 123 outrageously dominated the spreadsheet market for years, thatís why Bill Gates, himself, was involved in the development process of Excel to make sure the program will be outstanding, clear and usable spreadsheet software. He stimulated the development team by giving them ideas & tips, outlining problems, to make sure Excel was the best possible software. Thanks to the outgoing efforts of Microsoft, Excel quickly became the worldwide leading spreadsheet software that every good worker should have to know and use. 

I know many of you dislike mathematics and that just the scarring idea of using Excel gives you bad headaches. Anyway Microsoft Excel is much more powerful than a simple calculator related software and as a matter of fact you can use it to do a wide variety of different things. Indeed Excel isnít just intended to draw graphics, or create tables. You can use it as powerful analyzing software to help you take the best decision that matches your current financial situation for example. 

You can also use Microsoft Excel to calculate loan interest that depends on several factors like duration, income, inflation rates, etc. But you may also use Excel to create dynamic tables that automatically recalculate huge numbers of data after you changed one: that is to say you can easily create a price list of products and update prices based on the US Dollar value. As you see Excel is so powerful that itís indispensable! Even if working with spreadsheets is often a daunting task, Microsoft Excel stays easy to use thanks to the numerous wizards, and to the outstanding help file. 

Anyway if youíre a beginning user, it is often difficult to find the features you need to accomplish your task as well as if youíre an advanced user, there is often additional functionality that you would like to take advantage of that currently does not exist. A key design goal for Excel 2002 was to provide both sets of users (and everyone in between) the tools they need to be more productive and to put them at their fingertips. Excel now gives novice and intermediate users more confidence in working with spreadsheets by making more of the existing functionality easier to discover as well as by providing more intelligence to help assure users that they are not making mistakes. For advanced users, Excel focuses on making common tasks easier and more intuitive.


To reach this goal Microsoft added to their already strong program new features like Error Checking Smart Tags, Function Argument Tooltips, Watch Window, Speech, Formula Evaluator, Formula Auditing Toolbar, Excel Border Drawing, Excel Alerts and Tab Colours. Just like in Microsoft Word 2002 hyperlinks can point to a URL as well as to Contact details (phone, address, etc.) Excel Web Requests are now dynamically smart. That is to say their content at a specific T time, are always imported in cells along with Dynamic Shortcuts buttons to refresh cells regularly. The new smart tags help you spot potential errors, cells may contain, so users can select a command to resolve the error, ignore it, or access further Error Checking options. For example the contextual menu shown by Smart Tag will let you convert the number if itís stored as text, etc.

For those experienced users that build their own formula, Microsoft has included the Function Argument Tooltips feature that displays information about function arguments. The Tooltips also provide a quick path to Help: users simply have to click any function or argument name within the tooltip and the help is shown. The new formula evaluator tool helps users evaluate the calculations that make their formula, easily: this function allows users to step through each calculation to understand how Excel is calculating the result thus helping to clear out strange results. A new formula auditing toolbar has been introduced by Excel 2002 and provides a set of tools that link to auditing features like the formula evaluator & the watch window (other functionalities are also toggled to display all formulas in the worksheet). The watch window feature lets you spy your worksheet. Indeed with this you can easily track results of multiple cells (even when youíre working on a different sheet or workbook): thus you can avoid switching back and forth or scrool between sheets to keep track of the vital data.

A neat new feature of Excel 2002 lets you change the color of the tabs of your workbook. Itís especially useful when you work with workbooks that contain several tabs. To help you easily draw border around your cells, this task has always been a nightmare for many users, you can at last draw borders using the border-drawing pencil tool. So you can change line color, weight, style & border grid! For those of you that usually work with large tables you surely know that sometimes excel replaces the value of the cell by a suite of ď####Ē because the column is too short to display the whole number, Excel 2002 still does the same but now displays a tooltip when you let your mouse on the cell so you know what value the cell contains without the need to resize the column. When you sort data you might get unexpected results if the cells contain mixed text & numbers, to fix this common issue, Microsoft Excel 2002 includes a new feature that can sort text as numbers. 

In Excel 2002 when you click on the bottom right corner of a cell that contains a value and if you select an area, the smart tag will offer you to automatically increment the valuesí serie (it may also offers you to only copy the number with or without the style of the first cell). Users that often publish parts of their workbook to the web will be glad to know that Excel 2002 automatically updates the web page where their results are published when they save the file. 

To make Excel 2002 more user-friendly, Microsoft has improved the most common, frustrating, and confusing alerts. This includes rewording alerts to be more understandable, eliminating unnecessary alerts altogether, and adding functionality to ensure that problems are underlined correctly.

In previous versions, Excel recognized URLs and assigned links associated with these items. Users could activate the links by clicking them. Excel 2002 extends this functionality by recognizing stock symbols as they are entered and providing users a Smart Tag icon. The Smart Tag allows users to access additional information on that stock from the Web or even insert into Excel a refreshable Web query of that stock information: itís another good enhancement to enhance the global productivity of users. 

Users can easily access, analyze, and refresh data from the Web right from within Excel using the Web Query features. When information from the Web is copied into Excel, a Smart Tag appears, giving users the option to create a refreshable query thanks to the welcome support of the Drag & Drop. Once the data is brought into Excel from the Web, users can manually refresh the data or even identify how often Excel should automatically refresh the data. 

Users can also create these Web Queries by simply dragging and dropping a Web page into Excel. For those of you who use Excel and need to access external databases, the Data Connection Wizard will take you through the process of connecting to an OLE DB data source and persisting the connection information in a Data Connection File. The Wizard can also edit the connection information in existing Data Connection files.

Once again Microsoft has included the Reliability and Data Recovery Functions through out Excel as in Word. There is also Integration with Microsoft SharePoint where Excel 2002 is tightly integrated with Microsoft SharePoint (previously known as Team Workspaces), making it simple to capture cumulative team knowledge. This tight integration allows team members to publish, import, export, and even update their Excel spreadsheets via their Microsoft SharePoint Team Web Site.

 ę Word 2002 Outlook 2002 Ľ


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