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Excel 2003 Essential Training with Mark Swift is a movie-based workshop for users who are new to working with spreadsheets, or those wanting to improve their skills. This workshop begins with a basic overview of the application and quickly advances to cover useful formulas, functions, techniques for enhancing spreadsheets, charts, and much more. Exercise files accompany the training, allowing you to follow along and learn at your own pace.
Another place to retrieve information is in a delimited data file. The word delimited indicates that the information stored in each cell is separated by a special character. That character is decided at the time of export, or when you save it from a program that can save in delimited data formats, then that character is used to sort the data into the cells within a spreadsheet. For example, earlier I exported the Quarterly_Sales spreadsheet that we're all so familiar with now, out of Excel in a delimited data format. I delimited the data with a comma. This is a very common way to move data between two applications that aren't necessarily compatible. I've used delimited data formats to move things off my Palm or from a database that isn't necessarily supported by Microsoft Excel. Here in this case the data file is going to be very simple and recognizable. Let's take a look at that file before we move it in. Here in the notepad I've opened up the Quarterly_Sales.csv. That file can be found in your Student Folders under the Chapter 12 folder. You'll see that a comma separates each cell worth of data. If you stare at this long enough you'll be able to see exactly how this table is laid out, especially since you seen it so many times. I'm going to go ahead and close this document and now we're back in Excel and we'll go up to the Data menu, down to Import External Data, click on Import Data, and browse to your Student Folders. There we go in Chapter 12 we have Quarterly_Sales.csv. Open that up, and here in this dialog box, we have a little wizard for importing text data. Step one: is it a fixed width or delimited file? Well we already know it's a delimited file. Next: what is it delimited with > tabs, semicolons, space, other. If you choose other you can literally delimit a file with any character. Of course you want a use a character that's not going to be found in that file. If you have used a specialized character, you can insert it here. In this case I'll choose Comma, and we'll say Next, and here we have a chance to update the format of any columns that we want. We only have limited formatting choices, but if we do have date and times it is going to clean up a lot of the work we have to do later. In this case the general format is the best fit, so go ahead and click Finish and the range that we'd like to place our data into, currently our active cell is A1, so I'm going to leave that there and say OK, and there we go, a very familiar little spreadsheet that we've been working with throughout this training and you'll see that it's returned to a format that's almost identical to its original.
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