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So what is excel?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by vaios, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Although its my very first question , i though i'd post it in the lounge and make it a bit philosophical so to speak.
    I like to learn things by having a bigger theoretical picture. So considering my low knowledge in excel how would you describe this piece of widely used software?
    How would you explain it to me as if i was a child?
    What can it do and what it can't do?
    Do i need to know math or be a programmer?
    Most people,think it is just an accountants tool but i see now its so much more.
    Thanks in advance.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  2. jayalaxmi

    jayalaxmi Active Member

    Messages:
    224
    Hi Vaios

    First of all a very warm welcome to the Chandoo's Forum :)

    you can go through some of the links at google to understand more about Excel. And yes you are right, Excel is very much vast and beyond one's imagination. You dont need to be a programmer or such. You may firstly need to understand the basics of Excel.

    You can go through this link if you want for better understanding. Also Chandoo has its own Excel basics tutorial for freshers.

    http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/e/excel.htm

    Hope this may help you :).

    Regards
    Jaya
    Khalid NGO, vaios and ThrottleWorks like this.
  3. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Thank you for your kind reply Jaya. Will definitely have a look! :)
    ThrottleWorks and jayalaxmi like this.
  4. Hui

    Hui Excel Ninja Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,615
    I explain Excel to Children as a vast collection of Calculators, each of which can get results from all the others.

    You don't need to be a programmer to use Excel, but by solving a problem using Excel you are breaking it down into discrete steps, just as a programmer does. There are techniques that Programmers use which harness the real power of Excel and so a solid understanding of Math and especially matrices allows one to get the most out of Excel.

    There is very little that Excel can't do, but that doesn't mean that it should be used for these tasks.

    An accountants tool?
    Excel is so, so much more than that.
  5. Marc L

    Marc L Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    3,143
    Hi !
    Excel is a calculator software using workbook files
    where stand data in spreadsheets.


    But the first question to keep in mind
    « Is Excel the good tool for my need ? »

    Recently on another forum a guy was surprised to learn a data process
    needs less than a minute on an older computer
    than its more recent & extremely powerful computer
    but taking 53 minutes for the same result !
    He was warned to not use Excel for this kind of stuff
    but he didn't follow this advise as Access was the right choice …

    A lot of people use Excel as a database software … :rolleyes:
    Khalid NGO, ThrottleWorks and vaios like this.
  6. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13


    A good question indeed. I mostly need it for data manipulation(looking on vlookup details as i write these lines actually)

    lol. true.​
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  7. bobhc

    bobhc Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    3,362
    Excel is a database, but just 2D, and as such is limited in how the data it holds can be manipulated, for true data manipulation you need a 3D database program such as Access.
    Excel's security reminds me of swiss cheese, its full of holes, it is not meant for multi-user input were as Access and other 3D database software have full separation of data from user input and screw ups.

    .
  8. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Since you mention it....one side question . Can they work together in the same project? Having one input/output data from the other?
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  9. Marc L

    Marc L Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    3,143
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  10. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,717
    Really nice thread. To be honest, I never had this question in mind, what really is excel, when I read this thread, then I realized, that I do not have a definite answer.

    Thanks for the thread @vaios ! :)
    vaios likes this.
  11. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,717
    One more question coming to my mind, is there a good alternate for MS excel, not talking about MS Access, am talking about from perspective of a front end user.

    For example, there are too many search engines available, but hardly anyone tries other that Google.

    So, is there a real alternate for Excel. this might help us to find out 'What is excel ?'
  12. shrivallabha

    shrivallabha Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,695
    Excel is an application! That would be the general and yet straight answer to "What is Excel?".

    It is very complex and constantly evolving application which is used by many people in varying complexities. Like people, usages vary based on proficiency. Someone may just use it for storing time-sheet (or any such data which needs tabulated format) while someone else may use it to work out engineering solution.

    Add to this power of VBA programming (and VSTO) and you have a versatile application that can do multitudinous tasks.

    One product which was similar to and probably preceded Excel was Lotus 123(I don't have experience of it). Don't know if it is still running or not.

    If you really want to understand more about Excel then read beginning chapters of
    - Excel Bible - John Walkenbach
    - Professional Excel Development - Rob Bovey & various authors.
  13. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,717
    At my surroundings, I see people storing data in excel and processing it further.
    Processing might not be their end result, but excel might be the only way for them to get the results.

    Most regular use if for frond end number crunching and data analysis.
    Chirag R Raval likes this.
  14. Marc L

    Marc L Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    3,143
    I do not use Google search engine since a long time …

    As a financial concern, there are alternatives to Microsoft Office
    with the free Libre Office and Open Office.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  15. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,717
    Hi @Marc L sir, I tried other than Google. But was not happy with results.

    Could you please share name of search engine you use.

    http://chandoo.org/forum/threads/to-google-other-than-google.16297/

    Sir, is it as vastly used as MS Excel ?
  16. Marc L

    Marc L Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    3,143

    If you want same result as Google
    but without an eye above your shoulder try Startpage !

    Everyday I use DuckDuckGo and Qwant …
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  17. ThrottleWorks

    ThrottleWorks Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,717
    Starting Startpage right now.

  18. SirJB7

    SirJB7 Excel Rōnin

    Messages:
    8,894
    Hi!

    Excel -formerly known as Quattro killer- is a end user tool behaves a Swiss Army suitable for such a wide use as either kid/educational, personal, small offices and enterprises... that's to say, you'll find Excel everywhere.

    What does each environment uses Excel for, that's impossible to define and I guess that unpredictable as well. While Kids use it for simple things or learning formulas, still there a lot of company's whose steering committees' decisions rely on dashboards made by one or two guys with absolutely no security and backup policies. In the middle you have small offices whose accounting, sales & CRM are in Excel... and a cold runs along my back.

    Even you can to almost anything in Excel you should consider that not always Excel is the right tool. But as a user, once you dive smoothly in Excel you tend to become more independent from IT guys until you get (invariably, sooner or later) so messed up that you have to come back to them... and there's no choice: or you lose functionality or you go back and start again the independence path.

    Excel will never be a database, maybe it can emulate it and neither fully nor efficiently, but as Marc says, it's a Gruyere or an Emmental cheese.

    Excel is trying to compete with data mining and analysis tools, but it doesn't do the job in time. Instead, it's the most flexible interface for displaying and manipulating data. But not complex data.

    My two cents.

    Regards!
  19. NARAYANK991

    NARAYANK991 Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    15,394
  20. shrivallabha

    shrivallabha Excel Ninja

    Messages:
    1,695
    After many days, Sir JB 7!
    Luke M and ThrottleWorks like this.
  21. SirJB7

    SirJB7 Excel Rōnin

    Messages:
    8,894
    Hi, shrivallabha!
    ... and weeks, and months, and even years!
    Best regards!
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  22. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Nice....
  23. vaios

    vaios New Member

    Messages:
    13
    I understand that this is a rather theoretical question and i don't expect an exact answer,especially in 2017, but as an IT guy i didn't really ever need to know excel beyond the SUM formula. But times change as do jobs and now its something i have to ...and actually want to dive deeper.
    Doing data entry now and trying to automate stuff...i am pretty sure excel can help.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  24. SirJB7

    SirJB7 Excel Rōnin

    Messages:
    8,894
    Hi, vaios!
    From an IT guy to another, thanks God that Excel exists! How many problems (aka development requirements) have we avoided transferring a bunch of crude data to the users and making them feel super users? But let them keep all that creativity between the walls of their areas... no interaction with the core systems please.
    Regards!

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