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Microsoft Excel Overview / Uses of Microsoft Excel Microsoft Excel Overview / Uses of Microsoft Excel

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Microsoft Excel Component Overview

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet tool capable of performing calculations, analyzing data and integrating information from different programs. Microsoft Excel is comprised of organizational units called workbooks. A standard workbook contains worksheets and chart sheets. Worksheets perform calculations, store and organize data, present graphics and controls like a web page; they are extremely versatile. A worksheet in turn is comprised of millions of cells. The job of a cell is to store a formula that performs a calculation or communicates with some other application (i.e. program) such as a database. They also store and present data. A chart sheet's job is to present a chart or graph developed from data stored on a worksheet.

  • A typical business worksheet (A), its elements and the workbook that contains it are presented in the illustration below. This simple example is a shipping status system developed in Microsoft Excel in less than an hour utilizing the conditional formatting feature, drawing shapes and worksheet functions like VLOOKUP.

Microsoft Excel Worksheet Example

A. Business Example

  • A typical engineering worksheet (B), its elements and the workbook that contains it are presented in the illustration below. This simple example is a pressure vessel design developed in Microsoft Excel in less than an hour.

Microsoft Excel Worksheet Example

B. Engineering Example

The Uses of Microsoft Excel in Business, Engineering and Science

Think of Microsoft Excel as a modular tool set that can be rapidly configured to accomplish a desired task. A key force behind Microsoft Excel's capabilities is a powerful programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) which comes standard with Microsoft Excel. Using Microsoft Excel and VBA, a professional can accomplish important tasks like:

  • Rapid analysis and charting

  • Advanced modeling including numerical simulation

  • Automated report generation

  • Problem optimization using Solver and Crystal Ball

  • Software design

  • Team and model integration

  • Database communication and control

  • Project command and control

  • Project constraint monitoring

  • Information command and control

  • Multi-language programming with FORTRAN and C code (DLL's) 

  • Real time integration with other applications

  • Data sorting and analysis

By using Microsoft Excel, company funds and time are not invested in developing software tools from the "ground up" in computer languages that take large staffs to maintain.

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