Some Reasons Why Excel 2002 Is Worth the Investment

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. I’m a heavy user of Excel and I’ve been debating whether to upgrade to the 2002 (XP) version. What are your thoughts?

A. If you were a casual user of Excel, I’d say don’t bother. But if you’re indeed an advanced user, I suggest it’s worth the investment. Here are some of the new features in Excel 2002 that you’ll find very handy.

Formula Auditing was called Auditing in prevision versions. It helps you reduce errors in your workbooks. To evoke it, either right-click while in any toolbar or click on View, Toolbars and add a check to Formula Auditing to bring up this toolbar:

The bar displays a very useful collection of tools. Placing a cursor on an icon brings up the tool’s name: Error Checking, Trace Precedents, Remove Precedent Arrows, Trace Dependents, Remove Dependent Arrows, Remove All Arrows, Trace Error, Add Comment, Circle Invalid Data, Clear Validation Circles, Show Watch Window, Evaluate Formula. The new powerful ones include:

Watch Window. Lets you continuously monitor any changes in a cell, value or formula data even if they aren’t visible in the current window. To add a cell to Watch Window , put your cursor on the target cell and click on Add Watch.

To quickly jump to a watched cell, double-click on its entry in the Watch Window.

Formula Evaluator. Resolves each segment of a formula, segment by segment. Place your cursor on the target formula and click on the Evaluate Formula icon on the extreme right end of the toolbar. That will display a dialog box which underlines each segment of a formula, one by one, in order from left to right.

When you click on the Evaluate button, the dialog displays and evaluates each segment of the formula.

Error Checking. This is to Excel what the grammar checker is to Word. It’s governed by a set of rules designed to help you look for and fix problems in formulas.

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