Help me chose books for Access and Excel!
October 8, 2007 11:01 AM   Subscribe

I need recommendations of some books for Excel and Access. I'm looking for something referency, but still readable.

I use Excel everyday, but I know there are things on it I can't do, specifically pivot tables.

Access wise, I haven't used it for a while, and I've now got a big database project coming up.

I've had a browse on, but theres such a big range out there, I have no idea what is good, and what isn't, and I've not really got the time/money to just gamble.

With computing books in the past, I have tended to like cookbook/hack style books, I have always learnt well teaching myself.

I think Excel I need one hacky style book, full of examples I can adapt.

With Access, I think I need a similar book to that, but also a more comphrensive resource book.

If it makes a difference both versions are 2003 for Windows.

What have you used and liked? What would you recommend?

I'd rather some new, so it is easier to source, but I'm happy to go down the marketplace/ebay route if I have to.
posted by chrispy108 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately this book doesn’t cover pivot tables, but it completely blew my mind. It is Dashboard Reporting With Excel by Charley Kyd. It is an e-book and it is $30 US for the book and $20 US for the actual Excel files (you probably don’t need to buy the Excel files). You’ll learn how to make amazing looking charts with Excel (without having to buy an other special add-on software) using the techniques in this book. If you make any type of graphs at work, you’ll find this book very useful. It has so many cool tricks for making nice looking charts rather than the ugly ones Excel produces if you use the default options. I know I sound like a shill, but you can do really amazing things with Excel and the techniques outlined in this book.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2007

I know a few people who've used John Walkenbach's Excel Bible and learned quite a bit. Spreadsheets & numbers & stuff make my head smoke so I can't say from personal experience though.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:23 PM on October 8, 2007

miss lynnster’s post just reminded me of John Walkenbach. I have a bunch of his books, and the most useful, general one (I’ve found) is John Walkenbach's Favorite Excel Tips & Tricks. It has lots of tips for doing everyday things in Excel. It’ll definitely make you more productive, and it’s probably the only book you need for improving your day-to-day Excel use.

As for pivot tables, I don’t think you really need a separate book on pivot tables. I have a few of them, but honestly I just learned about pivot tables off tutorials posted on the web. Basic pivot tables are not too hard.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 4:44 PM on October 8, 2007

Here are a couple of recommendations for Access: Microsoft Office Access 2003 Inside Out and the real guru's of the product Access 2002 Developer's Handbook Set. I've had great success working with both of these authors when I had to use Access in real life. Enjoy.
posted by ptm at 6:13 PM on October 8, 2007

I'll confess... I like John's j-walk blog so that's how I first heard of him, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:22 PM on October 8, 2007

Response by poster: Walkenbach's Excel Tips and Tricks sounds perfect.

I think I'll go for the Access Inside Out, unless something else comes up.

Anyone else got any recommendations?
posted by chrispy108 at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2007

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