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What is your favorite Excel book? [open thread]



what-is-your-favorite-excel-bookToday lets talk about Excel books. The question is simple.

What is your favorite Excel book? Please share your answers using comments.

I will go first.

My favorite Excel books

Since I use a variety of Excel features, I have not one but 5 favorite books.

Excel 2010 Bible by John Walkenbach

This is an all round book that offers excellent details, examples and feature explanations. You can get the same book for 2007 or 2013 too.

Excel Power Programming book by John Walkenbach

This is my go to book for all things VBA. I have it on my desk most of the time and just flip thru it to grasp a new concept or solidify something I already know.

DAX Formulas for Power Pivot by Rob Collie

This is my go to book for Power Pivot. I must have read it a dozen times already and just love Rob’s prose & explanation style.

Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few

More on design level. I rely on this book to come up with amazing dashboard designs you see here.

The VLOOKUP Book by Chandoo

The VLOOKUP book by Chandoo

And of course, I got to love my own The VLOOKUP book. It is a comprehensive book on Excel lookup formulas.

What about you?

Go ahead and tell us what is your favorite Excel book? Share using comments please. Click here to post your comment.

More recommended Excel books:

If you are looking to get an Excel book (always a good idea), apart from those mentioned above, I also recommend these books.

Note about book links: All the book links mentioned in this post are affiliate links. That means if you purchase the book after clicking link on my page, I will get a few cents commission from Amazon. I recommend these books because I read them several times, I really love them, and I would have recommended them even if there is no affiliate commission.


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76 Responses to “What is your favorite Excel book? [open thread]”

  1. Dave says:

    Excel 2010 Inside Out - my first eBook and first Excel book - it got me started and now I have lots of others, including your top 5 too! I find it simple to navigate as a look up and nicely succinct with excellent support files too with examples. Its by Mark Stodge and Craig Stinson and I think they did excellent job but they don't seem to feature heavily in the online community like some other bloggers & authors. Cheers Chandoo!

  2. Leon Kowalski says:

    Whilst I have your own books and those of Mr Excel and Rob Collie, my three all time favourites, after learning my skills at Chandoo.org are as follows:

    'Excel is fun' by Michael Girvan (free). It accompanies his youtube free lessons and is itself free. aside of the actual lessons, seeing how various functions and processes are applied is an education in itself and has uncovered so much of the power of Excel to me

    '30 Excel functions in 30 days' by Debra Dalgliesh ($10). Debra is the queen of advanced Excel application and this summary with the downloaded files is excellent to refer to on a daily basis.

    'Outside the Box' by Bob Umlas (£7.77 from Amazon uk). I discovered this after a chandoo lesson on summing regions. The tips are really off the wall and so insighthful that they inspired me to really experiment with Excel and VBA to create the smallest but most effective routines as tools.

    Chandoo, I think you could also ask your readers what sites and MVPs or influential people they have discovered through Excel; Stephen Few, Charlie Kyd, John Tukey are my immediate thoughts of people that have impacted on use of Excel directly and therefore my life.

    Thank you for all you've given and happy motoring.

    • Hi Leon... thanks for this insightful list of books I just haven't been aware of. I'll defiitely have a look at Debra's and Bob's books.

      PS: look at our both surnames... funny, isn't it? 🙂

  3. Bill Jelen says:

    Hi Chandoo

    Here are my top 5 books for Excel gurus:
    1) Ctrl+Shift+Enter - Mastering Excel Array Formulas by Mike Girvin
    2) Excel Outside the Box - by Bob Umlas
    3) Power Pivot Alchemy by Rob Collie (due out soon, but I've seen it)
    4) Excel Simulations by Dr. Gerard Verschuuren
    5) Principles of Finance with Excel by Simon Benninga - this book has taught a generation of modelers about Excel


  4. Pete says:

    Hi Chandoo

    Here are my current top 5 books that I am using for Excel:
    1) CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER - Mastering Array Formulas by Mike Girvin
    2) Information Dashboard Design - Displaying data for at-a-glance monitoring by Stephen Few
    3) VBA and MACROS - Microsoft 2010 Edition by Bill Jelen and Tracy Syrstad
    4) Excel 2010 Formulas by John Walkenbach
    5) DAX Formulas for PowerPivot - The Excel Pro's Guide to Mastering DAX by Rob Collie

  5. Sachin says:

    I've been reading Data Smart by Jon Foreman. It's about doing advanced statistical analysis (k-means clustering, linear regression, naive Bayes, etc.) in Excel. It's a surprisingly good read and breaks down how the analysis works in Excel. Highly recommended.

    Otherwise, my Excel bookshelf is basically Walkenbach's books from 2007. Once I discovered Chandoo, Contextures, etc., I don't use books very often.

  6. Amey Dabholkar says:

    Hi chandoo

    My favourite books are
    1. Excel 2013 bible - by john
    2. Excel power programming 2013- by john
    3. Excel vba and macros - by bill
    4. Excel outside the box - bob umlas
    5. Excel formulas and function 2013 - john.

    Currently reading 3rd book. Thanks for you recommend list.

  7. tamoghna says:

    Slaying excel dragon ---Mike Girvin

    Pivot table data crunching---Bill Jelen & Mike Alexander

    Excel charts and graphs--- Bill Jelen

  8. Jon Peltier says:

    Nope, you're all wrong. The best Excel book of all time is Professional Excel Development. The second edition is by Bovey, Wallentin, Bullen, and Green; the first was by Bovey, Bullen, and Green.

    Walkenbach's books are good, of course. The Jelen/Alexander and Dalgleish pivot table books are both good. Excel 2002 VBA and Excel 2007 VBA books are solid; the 2003 edition was ghost written by someone else and it suffered. Liengme and de Levie have each written decent books on using Excel for scientific applications, and Carlberg has a good volume on managing data inExcel.

    • Bill Jelen says:

      Jon Peltier - Absolutely... I completely missed Professional Excel Development. Hands down it is the best VBA book for Excel.
      Also, I am adding the RibbonX book by Puls, Martin, and Henning.

      • Ken Puls says:

        Thanks for that, Bill. I do love the RibbonX book, but must admit that I used Walkenbach's Power Programming far more. 🙂

      • Jon Peltier says:

        I've used the RibbonX book so much that the cover is falling off. Since 2007, half of my work for clients was converting their old menu-toolbar interface to a ribbon. It's actually pretty flexible and powerful. Too bad the Office RibbonX designers forgot about all the people who would have liked to be able to control it more completely via VBA. (I don't think they realized that anyone was still using VBA, and that was back in 2005.)

    • I couldn't agree with you more. Personally, I think the first edition is the best, but the series is timeless.

    • Chandoo says:

      Well... Thanks for this suggestion Jon.

      I have heard a lot of praise about this book. Will add it to my personal library.

      And of course the question never was What is the best? It is just about what your favorite is.

    • Jon Acampora says:

      I have to second the Professional Excel Development book. I just read this recently and wish I'd read it years ago. How did I not know about the Ctrl+Space Bar shortcut? What a time saver!

      I'm also constantly re-reading DAX Formulas for PowerPivot by Rob Collie.

      The RibbonX book by Ken Puls was very helpful too!

    • Peter Albert says:

      Jon, completely agree. PED2 is imho really _the_ reference for professional Excel developers!

  9. Zaur says:

    1. Step-by-step optimization with excel solver- Mark Hormon
    2.Excel University trnaiing for CPA's and accounting professional volume 1 and 2-Jeff Lenning
    3. Excel dashboards and reports-Michael Alexander
    4. Dashboard Reporting with excel-exceluser.com
    5. Using excel for business analysis-Danielle
    6. How to make an impact (for design purpose)-Jon Moon ( on author website you may find great excel sample with minimalist design)

  10. Flavio says:

    Data Mining for Business Intelligence (using MS excel) by Galit Shmueli, Nitin R. Patel, Peter C. Bruce. Excellent for Data Analysis.
    If interested go to http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-EHEP002378.html

  11. Jennifer says:

    I'm a bit behind the times with my version of Excel. I have "Excel 2007 In Depth" by Bill Jelen. It has been great for easing the conversion from the "old Excel" (pre-ribbon) to the "new Excel".

  12. Wookiee says:

    Although I generally go online with my questions first (either to MrExcel.com or Chandoo.org), I still have a largeish collection of tomes devoted entirely to Excel. A few of my favorite print resources are:

    Excel 2007: The Missing Manual: Matthew McDonald
    Favorite Excel 2007 Tips & Tricks: John Walkenbach
    Excel 2007 VBA Programming: John Walkenbach

  13. stuart says:

    no doubts at all: my #1 is mike's ctrl+shift+enter
    also, bill's excel2013 in-depth
    many thanks again to mike & bill

  14. pmsocho says:

    The most interesting Excel book I have read so far was Mike Girvin's - "CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER – Mastering Array Formulas"

  15. Bill Johnson says:

    My Excel skills are pretty strong and I have been working on my Data Analysis skills lately. I have read a lot of books and and articles about using Excel for Data Analysis. Somehow Conrad Carlberg seems to write abut using Excel for Data Analysis in a way I understand. He has several books. My favorites are:
    "Statistical Analysis"
    "Predictive Analysis"
    "Decision Analysis"

    BTW, I am also studying R Programming Language. It is excellent for Data Analysis.

  16. Gino says:

    Without a doubt - Create Dynamic Charts in MS-Office Excel 2007 and Beyond by Reinhold Scheck! The rS1.Method is what really woke me up to a structured workbook. No matter what you put in it, if you can't open your workbook several months later and know exactly what every cell is for - you can't reasonably expect others to do so. This book has helped me develop a discipline in how I create workbooks and models.
    Creating dynamic models from a structured underlying base is so much easier now.
    All the books listed are great (and I can't think of one I don't have yet! :)) - but this one book by Mr. Scheck is what really moved me from beating the snot out of Excel to make it work to now being able to gently coax Excel into going above and beyond.
    Highly recommend this one - no matter what version of Excel you're on - I'm on 2013 and I still use the methodologies from this book. And if you ever want to learn everything you can on the =OFFSET function - well this book makes =OFFSET dance!

    • Vaslo says:


      I read this book and while I found the tricks and design in it to be really powerful, I felt the authors digressions were a little much. I've heard it was translated from German so who knows how that affected it :).

      Also, I loved the idea behind the rs1 method, but I've tried twice to implement something like it and people despised the complexity of the method and it never stuck. It's one of those methods that if everyone isn't trained on it, it becomes nearly impossible to implement. If you work independently, it's great - but it if you work on a team, you've got a lot of work to do to train people on it and force them to maintain.

    • RON says:

      Dynamic charts is a great book, but is just for power users, is hard to teaching . is not a Dummies book.

  17. Zach says:

    All of Walkenbach's texts are fantastic but his "Tips & Tricks" series is my favorite. His latest edition, "John Walkenbach's Favorite Excel 2010 Tips and Tricks", is no exception. Very useful, easy to understand and always relevant. I always find a new time-saver each time I open it up.

  18. Jacqui says:

    I like slaying the dragon

  19. Dan says:

    Excel Hacks by O'Reilly

  20. Dan says:

    The VLookup Book

  21. Mike Girvin says:

    I have two lists: 1) Current Favorite books and 2) All Time Favorite books.

    Current Favorite books (criterion for selection to list is how often I use it currently):
    1) Excel 2013 In Depth by Bill Jelen.
    2) DAX Formulas for PowerPivot by Rob Collie.
    3) Modern Business Statistics for Excel 2013, 5th edition, by Anderson, Sweeney & Williams.
    4) PivotTable Data Crunching Excel 2013 by Bill Jelen.
    5) Charts and Graphs Excel 2013 by Bill Jelen.

    All Time Favorite books (criterion for selection to list is how dramatically it changed the way I use Excel):
    1) The Elements of Spreadsheet Style by Nevison, 1987.
    2) Mr Excel On Excel by Bill Jelen, 2003.
    3) Learn Excel from Mr Excel by Bill Jelen, 2005.
    4) Modern Business Statistics for Excel, 3rd edition, by Anderson, Sweeney & Williams, 2005.
    5) PivotTable Data Crunching by Bill Jelen and Michael Alexander, 2006.
    6) DAX Formulas for PowerPivot by Rob Collie, 2013.
    7) Managing Data with Microsoft Excel by Conrad Carlberg, 2004.
    8) Excel Hacks by Hawley, 2004.

  22. hamy72 says:

    1) CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER – Mastering Array Formulas by Mike Girvin
    2) VBA and MACROS – Microsoft 2010 Edition by Bill Jelen and Tracy Syrstad

    The best books to take it to the Excel advanced level...!

  23. David Hager says:

    The original "best" Excel book is Excel Expert Solutions, published in 1996. This book is full of Excel techniques and tricks that are rediscovered every day.

  24. Hui... says:

    I've only ever read one Excel book and that was Charles Kyd's "Dashboard Reporting with Excel".
    Dashboard Reporting with Excel

    I do have a copy of John Walkenbach's 2007 Excel Bible
    but that is only so I can show my friends page xxxvii.

    I did proof read Chandoo's Vlookup book.

  25. Jenny Hansen says:

    I work with accountants by day. For them and others dealing with financial data, there is only one set of books and online classes I recommend: Anything by Jeff Lenning, CPA (from Click Consulting)!
    Amazon: http://amzn.to/1jl7R6J

    There are two volumes in this series (so far). Jeff addresses the tools financial people need to crunch data and work quickly. Versions 2010 and 2013.

    Excel University: Microsoft Excel Training for CPAs and Accounting Professionals: Volume 1 by Jeff Lenning

    Excel University: Microsoft Excel Training for CPAs and Accounting Professionals: Volume 2 by Jeff Lenning

    He also teaches online courses at http://www.excel-university.com/training/.

  26. Prasanth says:

    One of the better one's I have read is "Excel for the CFO" by P. K. Hari. Don't let the name fool you, its great for anyone who wants to master excel. The examples are well illustrated and makes it easy to understand even the more advanced features.

    Recommend it to everyone.

  27. trevithick says:

    The first book I read that finally got the vba light bulb to go off in my head was the late Karen Kenworthy's "Visual Basic for Applications Revealed".

    After an initial understanding, John Walkenbach's "Excel 2002 Power Programming With vba" became my favorite followed by later editions, and his other works.

    Excel Hacks: Tips & Tools for Streamlining Your Spreadsheets by David Hawley and Raina Hawley is unique amongst my Excel books and is a wealth of valuable information.

  28. Zack Barresse says:

    Professional Excel Development 2nd edition. No question the #1 Excel book of all time. My next favorite is Ctrl + Shift + Enter. I use them both constantly.

  29. Vivek says:

    I started by Excel 2010 Bible by John Walkenbach then everything Chandoo.org provides

  30. Phil says:


    I have purchased some Excel books in my life but my three alltime favorites are

    1. Das Excel Profi Seminar (The Excel Professional Seminar) by Reinhold Scheck
    2. Dashboard Reporting with Excel by Charley Kyd
    3. Excel Das Zauberbuch (The Excel Magic Book) by Fleckenstein, Fricke, Georgi

    You see from my list that 1 and 3 are German and I am from Germany as well. What I especially liked about Scheck's book (#1) was his rS1 Method which really helped me a lot to structure my workbooks and - as Gino said - do the Waltz with =OFFSET.

    Thanks for this great post and all the inspiration, really looking forward to Stephen Few's book to arrive and think about ordering Mike Girvin's and Bob Umlas' books as well.

    • Leon Kowalski says:


      Thank you for introducing me to Reinhold Scheck and the rS1 Method. I've bought a book of his and look forward to its arrival. Standard methodology and 'best practice' are very important to me, after reading a Chandoo guest blog (M.Arnott, (2012), Excel Audit; How Companies Manage Spreadsheet Risk). I discovered the 'Spreadsheet standards review Board' (SSRB) PDF but found some of the practices very cumbersome to implement.

    • leon Kowalski says:

      Hi Phil,

      Is there any chance you could give me some insight into how the rS1 Method can be applied if 'Basis' and 'Data' are tables and pivots? I rarely use raw data now and the system, as outlined with the 'Dynamic Charting' book doesn't cover best practice for them. Also, any idea where I might get a copy of rS1 Method for Excel VBA?

      Thanks for your assistance. The book you led me to discover from your comment is now a useful part my reference library.


  31. Lisa Potthoff says:

    My favorite Excel book isn't actually a book but a PDF. It's Chandoo's Excel Formula 1. It's super basic, with easy to follow internal links to the most commonly used formulas broken down by math, logical, text, lookup, statistical, date/time & financial. I use it for quick reference all the time.

    After that would have to be Excel 2013 Formulas by John Walkenbach. All of Chandoo's and Walkenbach's books are extremely useful tools for learning, developing and mastering all of Excel's powerful offerings.

  32. Seth Strandin says:

    Everyone, as I read it - so this week the winner is:
    Excel Dashboards & Reports
    Michael Alexander & John Walkenbach
    Next week it will have to be something about PowerPivot.

  33. dan l says:

    walkenbach's power programming.

    Although, the Dax book is pretty cool and Rob is one of the less dry writers, I just don't have a good excuse to learn power pivot.

  34. Sumit Aggarwal says:

    My first excel book was "F1 Get the Most Out of Excel Formulas & Functions: The Ultimate Excel Formulas & Functions Help Guide" by Joseph Rubin and second one is vlookup book by great Chandoo

    • Thanks Sumit....I forgot about “F1 Get the Most Out of Excel Formulas & Functions: The Ultimate Excel Formulas & Functions Help Guide” by Joseph Rubin.
      This is an excellent book for learning formulas.

  35. There are so many great Excel books. Currently I would say 'Ctrl Shift Enter' (Mastering Excel Array Formulas) by Mike Girvin. If you need to learn array formulas then buy this book.

  36. Leon Kowalski says:

    This is beginning to read like a 'who's who' in Excel; Rob Collie, Debra Dalgliesh, Stephen Few, Mike Girvin, Bill Jelen, Charley Kyd, Jon Peltier, Bob Umlas, John Walkenbach (clearly not definitive or objective).
    This site has not only taught and inspired its readers but become a means to share ideas and magnanimously provide a centrepoint where others like Chandoo to be discovered by the community.
    I've listed several books and experts that I'm adding to my Excel master list of reference material.

  37. Mike McCarty (Msquared) says:

    I love the Walkenbach and Mr. Excel books.

    Ultimately I think Chandoo.org is the best of the best, book or not!

    99% of what I know I attribute to Chandoo.org.

    I present problems on MrExcel, OzGrid and several other sites and the one that always comes through is Chandoo.org. Here lately I hardly ever ask questions on the other forums because I never seem to get an answer.

    Luke M. is my main goto guru. No matter if it is VBA, formulas or functions he always has a solution.

    I have learned more off Chandoo than any other place I visit.

    Right now I am trying to convince my boss to send me to Chandoo's school's over the Microsoft Certification.

    Chandoo is the best of everything period!

    I want to thank each and everyone on this site who contributes and Chandoo for providing this site.


    Mike McCarty (Msquared)

  38. Rudra says:

    My All Time Favorite Excel book is
    1. Microsoft Excel VBA Programming for Dummies 2010.
    This book taught me VBA.This is books is so simple and effective that, whoever finishes it, is bound to become developer.
    Other books I read on excel are:
    Excel 2010 Bible
    Excel® 2010 Power Programming with VBA

  39. […] you have a favourite Excel book? Chandoo shared his top picks, and you can see other people’s choices in the comments. Add your […]

  40. Power Programming in Excel by John Walkenbatch
    This is the book from where I actually started my Excel journey. With his extensive spreadsheet experience and great teaching skills, John remains the #1 author on spreadsheets.
    Apart from that I love MDX Query Language by Microsoft and PowerPivot for Data Analysts by Bill Jelen.

    I am looking for someone to write a great book on Power View and Power Query introduced in Excel 2013 before I write it myself 😉

    • Bill Jelen says:

      Hello Ashish - Rob Collie's Power Pivot Alchemy book includes sections on Power View, Power Query and Power Map.

    • Chandoo says:

      I believe even Mike Alexander is working on a book with this theme. As year progresses, I am hoping to write few articles, create videos on Power View, Maps & Query and share them on Chandoo.org. So stay tuned.

  41. Kerry says:

    Ok, if this was a bookselling ploy, it worked. I just bought the Vlookup Book and downloaded the sample of Ctrl+Shift+Enter from iBooks. I'm stuck in a pivot table rut lately and think there are probably tons of tricks I don't even know I don't know, so thanks for the suggestions!

  42. Johnno says:

    Another vote for "Excel Hacks" by Hawley & Hawley.
    Hard to believe no one has mentioned Patrick O'Beirne's "Spreadsheet Check and Control - 47 Key Practices to Detect and Prevent Errors".
    And I love the simplicity of "Excel VBA in Easy Steps" by Ed Robinson.

  43. Sergio says:

    No doubt, my favorite books are all of John Walkenbach.
    - Biblie Excel 2010 and 1013.
    - Excel 2007 Programming with VBA (spanish).

  44. Anne says:

    I have to say I liked the Step by Step Microsoft books. I love Debra Dalgleish's books. I loved her 30 formulas book (which has been referenced here already). More recently have really enjoyed the following: Dax Formulas for PowerPivot (Rob Collie). Mr Excel's Powerpivot for the Data Analyst. I also like Chandoo's vlookup book.. indeed.

  45. Linda says:

    I have quite a few that are listed, will now be adding more to my library. Was surprised that I didn't see these two:

    Learn Excel 2010 Essential Skills
    Learn Excel 2010 Expert Skills
    both by Mke Smart

    Love the way you go step by step!

  46. Patricia says:

    I can't wait to check out some of the books listed here. There are quite a few I have missed. Time to upgrade my library!

    Some of my favorites are:
    Excel 2010 Bible - Walkenbach
    Dashboard Reporting - Charles Kyd
    Formulas and Functions - Paul McFedries
    Business Analysis with Microsoft - Conrad Carlberg

  47. Adam says:

    I'm a VBA fan, so a bit programming here:
    Walkenbach, Excel 2010 Power Programming with VBA (my first one, for Excel 2000, still on the bookshelf)
    Getz & Gilbert, VBA Developer's Handbook (mix of VB and VBA, but strongly Excel-oriented; really awesome)
    Bovey et al., Professional Excel Development, 2nd ed. (wow!)
    Jelen & Syrstad, VBA and Macros, Excel 2010 / 2013 (you need a snippet? now?! you get it!)

    And some all-in-one stuff:
    Jelen, Excel 2010 In Depth
    Walkenbach, Excel 2010 Bible

  48. Alexis says:

    Read this when first posted and saw a couple of positive recommendations for Data Smart by John Foreman.

    Looked it up, bought it, received it Sunday, now half way through the book. It's awesome. Clear, funny and makes more complex analysis methods easy to understand.

    Also got VBA and Macros by Jelen and Systad sitting on my desk at work, gets referred to often.
    Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few - not stictly Excel but applies to a lot of the work I do in Excel on presenting information in the most effective way.

  49. Kuldeep says:

    A lot of good books suggested in this thread.

    May we expect a clean compilation of books name and their Strength ans weakness to get benefit out of this useful stuff.

  50. Debraj says:

    If any one want to scratch his head.. he can read "Bob Umlas"
    This Isn't Excel, it's Magic

  51. Debraj says:

    If any one want to scratch his head.. he can read "Bob Umlas"
    This Isn't Excel, it's Magic
    phenomenal approach of doing daily official work.. with a WOW..

  52. […] a mosquito in fat-camp. So you can imagine me smacking my lips when I saw your suggestions for favorite Excel books recently. There were more than 50 different books recommended by our readers. Of course I cannot […]

  53. My favourite Excel book is Microsoft Excel Business Sourcebook by Charles W Kyd, ISBN 1-55615-133-0 published in 1988. when I bought this book I was still using Lotus Symphony and adapted most of Charley's models for use with that software.

    Charley (like Chandoo) is an awesome Excel expert and I still follow his web site. It is quite interesting to note that many of the techniques explained by Charley some 26 years ago are still appearing in answers to questions posed today by Excel newbies.

    It just goes to show that so many years ago Charley got it so right! If you have an opportunity please take a look at this book.

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