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Before we begin looking at any of the tools of features inside of Microsoft Excel 2003, let's talk for a moment about the purpose behind a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is a vast area, broken up into tiny compartments that can be easily used to analyze numerical data. That data is all contained within named cells, and those cells can be manipulated using formulas. Those formulas stay live, so as you're entering your numerical data, you can have it calculated immediately and keep those calculations living as you work with your numerical information.
That numerical information could be financial, it could be statistical, it could be relative to dates and times. All kinds of number crunching can take place inside of a spreadsheet. Another large use for spreadsheets is charting. While there may be some dedicated charting tools that do everything under the sun, you'll be amazed at the features that Microsoft Excel 2003 offers you to visualize that numerical data. It's often easier for somebody to look at a graph or chart, and be able to see the results of those data or the impact of that data without having to read through lengthy numbers and simply visualize it in their heads. The last main use for a spreadsheet that I'd like to discuss is lists. Lists are probably a more recent headliner for spreadsheeting.
Although it's been available for many versions, the developers at Microsoft have continued to improve and enhance the ability of Excel to handle your lists of data, and it becomes a very powerful tool just keep track of a simple list of items, people, anything that you have that needs to be organized and sorted into lists. So that's a very brief explanation of what Excel can be used for. You've probably already seen it used, or imagined what it could be used for, and if not you'll be completely amazed as you see the features of Microsoft Excel unfold.
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