For professionals working with text
Welcome to the November issue of OUT OF OFFICE. I’d like to start by informing you of two changes. Firstly, we need to change the publication date of the newsletter from the 30th of each month to the 15th of the following month. This change will take place as from the next issue which would normally be published on 30 December 2015, but which will now be published on 15th January 2016. Do not worry, your subscription will still cover the agreed number of eleven issues per year and instead of finishing on, for instance, 30 September, it will finish on 15 October. We hope this change will not be too inconvenient to you. Secondly, as a result of the date change mentioned above, there will be no issue dated December but instead we will go straight to a January issue. This being said, we will preserve the numbering system; that way you can be sure that you have every issues. Thank you for understanding that these changes were made so that the team could spend time with their family and loved ones over the Christmas and end-of-year period.
This month we will look at the basics of Excel®. Excel® is the most versatile software in the MS Office suite. It is used not only for calculations, but also for analysing and manipulating data. And since it can handle a huge variety of content in its cells and worksheets it is also used by accountants and software designers. And, despite its limitations, when compared with Access®, it is the preferred data handler in many work environments because it is easier to use and less constricting than Access®.
This newsletter does not intend to deal with Access® as a component of MS Office. However, a brief overview of the software shows that Access® is software designed exclusively for working with databases. Databases are divided into tables where each column header receives attributes. These attributes define the function of the column and the type of data it contains. The various tables are linked between them according to a defined relationship (one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one and many-to-many). Inside each table, data must have a unique reference number (called a key) and as such, data cannot be duplicated. When needing to extract some specific data from various tables, it is necessary to create a query table. For instance, if you have a table about employees linked to a table of nationalities, you would need to create a query table to extract the list of employees with a specific nationality. The language used to create those query tables is SQL, or Structured Query Language.
Let us return to Excel®! Despite its limitations, Excel® can also handle and manage a large amount of data, without the need to resort to SQL, query tables, establishing relationships between tables and making sure data is unique. In this issue, we will investigate the basics of Excel® and see the types of data that cells can contain, and how to reference cells and formulae specific to text.
Excel® documents are called workbooks. A workbook can contain several worksheets. A worksheet is a table composed of cells organised in columns and rows. The content of each cell can be defined as a normal entry or as a formula. A formula enables calculations to be made based on various parameters. In this issue, we will look at how to reference cells in Excel® and how to compose some basic formulae to work with text. Since Excel refers to formulae as "formulas", we will use that plural form when referring to them.
In the second part of the newsletter, we will continue to create the macro – started last time – that will check your attachments and do a few more useful things before sending your professional e-mails.
The aim of the VBA part is not to turn you into a programmer, but to help you understand how to get the machine to do what you need and to gain a better grasp of how software works, while also providing you with an additional useful tool for your work.
As usual, if you would like to see a specific issue explained in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "How do I...? in the subject line, with a detailed explanation of what you would like to achieve and if possible some sample files.
If you missed an issue, you can still order it from us at an individual price of 5.00GBP per issue per language at the above mentioned address with "Order back issue [issue number – language]" in the subject line.
Enjoy this issue!
The OUT OF OFFICE team
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