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Excel Advanced Report Development

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The first-rate business culture at Advantage Computing Systems has been instrumental in shaping my personal and professional development, while the outstanding senior management and supportive environment at ACS have enabled me to meet and often exceed my expectations for seeking new challenges. Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with many very talented colleagues and clients who have contributed to the knowledge and experience that supported the writing of this book.

If you are a SQL programmer, report developer, or sophisticated Excel user and want to learn more about Excel’s reporting capabilities, this book is for you. In the pages that follow, I provide comprehensive information on both the technical and strategic areas of Excel report development paying special attention to online transactional processing(OLTP) databases. By reading this book and following the practice exercises scattered liberally throughout the chapters, you can learn to develop powerful and innovative reporting solutions using Microsoft Excel 2003. 

This book’s step-by-step approach can help you steadily gain confidence in your ability to use Excel’s reporting functions as you enhance your skills by working through the handson examples. Many of the examples offer an accompanying video on the book’s companion web site that you can watch to ensure that you fully understand every step (see the section “On the Web Site” later in this Introduction).

You don’t have to know Structured Query Language (SQL) to get real value from this book. However, readers who are familiar with SQL programming will probably get the most out of it. Indeed, many SQL programmers find that Excel report development is the next logical progression in their technology education.

 Still, even if you are only an experienced user of Excel, you will learn a substantial amount about Excel reporting, especially in the earlier chapters where the graphical Excel tools are used to build SQL queries that run against external .

ecause there are so many enterprise software systems in the marketplace, it’s impractical to include report examples for each one of them. Instead, for most of the exercises and examples I’ve used Microsoft SQL Server’s NorthwindCS database, which you can create from Microsoft Access. (Alternatively, as mentioned earlier, you can use the Northwind database that is included as part of a default installation of SQL Server 2000.) NorthwindCS performs several functions that are similar to what many enterprise software applications might handle, but on a much larger scale.

 Using this database program, I think you can obtain a useful and informed perspective on how you might go about developing comparable reports for your enterprise systems. I’ve organized this book to help readers of all skill levels. 

If you’re new to Excel reports, you should start with Part I of the book. Advanced users who are already familiar with Excel’s reporting features and with external data sources can skip to Part II, where the core features, functions, and components of Excel reports are covered. The appendixes in Part III provide references for installing the NorthwindCS database, configuring your Windows operating system to display extensions for known file types, and using basic SQL