Find Answers to Excel Questions

Where do you go when you’ve got an Excel question? A while ago, I recommended the Excel newsgroups as a great place to ask questions and get one (or several) solutions. Is that what you use, or something different?

Let’s try a quick survey – it’s my first attempt, so fingers crossed that it goes smoothly! If you answer “Other”, you can add details in the comments, if you’d like.

    • Other
    • Colleagues
    • Google
    • Questions? What questions?
    • Microsoft website
    • Excel newsgroups
    • My bookshelf
  • Family

Where I Find Answers

For quick questions, I usually use Google, either a general search, of a newsgroup search. If nothing turns up there, the Microsoft Knowledgebase is my next option, in most cases. Occasionally, if really stumped, I’ll email a colleague for help.

I have a good collection of Excel books that I use too. Some are excellent reference books, with a good index, and markers on the pages that I turn to frequently. Others are more for inspiration, and learning new things, than for research.

MyBooks

Your Excel Books

There’s a giant list of Excel books on my website, divided into categories. If you use any of those, I’d love to know what you think of them. Are there any Excel books you’d recommend, that are missing from the list?

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14 Responses

  1. Mathias says:

    I would list in here StackOverflow.com, which is a fantastic website. That’s where I go for most programming related questions, and they have some good answers on Excel too, especially on hardcore questions like Interop…

    Mathias

  2. Gordon says:

    Like Mathias, I find myself using Stack Overflow more and more; it has purist approach, a great interface and the quality of replies can be excellent.

    Unfortunately, pure Excel questions are somewhat on the fringe of a programming site’s remit so are fairly marginalised, but for any question where programmatic integration with other products is involved, SO can give a fast turnaround with answers from some very knowledgeable correspondents.

    Other than that, I usually Google and pick through the chaff like egghe*dcafe, bigre*ource and expert sexch*nge (obfuscated to avoid promoting them even further) to get the decent results from places like usenet (via Google Groups), MSDN (low-bandwidth of course!), DDoE, Ozgrid, MrExcel etc.

  3. Toad says:

    I go to my bookshelf. My Excel issues are generally formula-related. Since Excel’s functions don’t change that often, an old copy of a formula book will usually point me in the right direction. It’s a hell of a lot better than the Excel help file. I’m don’t often need help on function syntax; I need help on creative ways to calculate things.

    The last time Walkenbach was in town, I stole one of his copies of the “Excel Necronomicon”, or whatever the hell that general Excel book is that he wrote. I’m finding some interesting stuff in there. It’s funny how many simple things one doesn’t know about a program, even after using it for 20 years (I started with Excel 2.01).

    I hear there are some really good books on Pivot Tables out there, too. ;-) I may have to pick up one of those. I’m finding that I use pivot tables more and more often in the work that I do for my clients and for my firm. The key seems to be training myself to set up the data properly before I try to pivot.

  4. Toad says:

    “I’m don’t often need help on function syntax”, but I’m do need help on English grammar.

  5. AlexJ says:

    Silly Toad. Everybody knows that your last post should read “Englishy grammar”

  6. Thanks Mathias and Gordon, I’ll add StackOverflow.com to my list of sites to search.

    Toad, there are a few new functions in Excel 2007, so if you upgrade you’ll have to steal another book. And if you need a pivot table book, let me know — I can recommend a couple ;-)

  7. Ken Puls says:

    “Excel Necronomicon”! That’s fantastic!

    I’d say it depends on the issue where I go. I’ve used every reference on that list except family. (They use me.) I’ve switched to Bing as my primary search engine though, and that tends to be my first stop unless I know I have a source on my bookshelf.

    Speaking of bookshelves… you may want to brace yours! Wow!

  8. Thanks Ken, I’ve got Bing set as my home page in IE, and Google as my home page in Firefox. I’ll have to make an effort to use Bing more often.
    And those poor bookshelves are pretty bowed, but a tall book in the middle of each shelf is almost as good as a brace, eh?

  9. Ken Puls says:

    I would think so… or maybe turn the MVP award boxes on end and put them in for bracing. If all else fails you could glue the shelves to the back of the case with maple syrup. (Just wear gloves… I hear it can be dangerous!)

  10. MnM says:

    It usually depends on where I am. Oddly enough, I’m more of a book guy (despite the hours I spend on the internet). I learned to program with Walkenbach’s Power Programming with Excel (2007). When I’m at home, near my bookshelf (which is bowed by the weight of my books just like yours is), that’s the book I usually go to. At work, I, like Ken, usually head over to Bing.com…which usually leads me here, Walkenbach’s website, or Daily Dose of Excel. :D

  11. Fred Chidester Sr says:

    If the book doesn’t explain it then it is your site, then if all else fails I go to MS, if you out of luck there it onto the forums or some of your links in the past have proven there worth.

  12. Ken, thanks, excellent advice. ;-)

    MnM and Fred, thanks, it’s interesting to hear how other people search for answers.

  13. Zahir jan says:

    first of all Hello!
    please tell me about conditional formating in excel 2007 especially have i can use in manage rules and in that what is the purpose of the (stop if true) chek box
    if you tell me more about this i will be able to solve the problem
    thanks
    zahir jan from Afghanistan

  14. Rose says:

    SALAM

    My Excel program the Formula is using ; rather than , . How I can change this to normal one.

    Regards

    MUHAMMAD RAMZAN

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