There are many approaches to presenting technical information. One approach is to write a voluminous tome of dry, factual information and leave it up to the reader to figure out how to apply the information or decipher the useful content from the not-so-useful content. You may have come across these types of books before. They are much like the information in help files, except rearranged.

At the other extreme, you can write to the dummies. That is, you can write a book that can be read without much mental activity on the part of the reader. In order to write a book like this, you must stick to trivial content and trivial examples. It is then up to the reader to figure out how to make the mental leap from the trivial examples presented in the book to the complexities presented by real-world problems. From my own observations, it seems as though most people don't make the leap (they buy another book instead). I've always thought that in order to learn, you have to exercise the brain. No pain, no gain, right?

Hopefully I've achieved something of a middle ground with this book. I did not cover every nook and cranny associated with Excel development. Nor did I hesitate to get in deep on the topics that are critical to developing Excel applications. I picked the topics that have been most important to my development experience and presented the necessary facts about them along with illustrations of useful ways to apply them. Finally, I hope that I've sprinkled this book with just enough good-natured reflection and commentary to make this a more colorful read than other programming books. If this book were a television, I would like to think of it as an HDTV.

xvih introduction

Finally, I've attempted to inject a significant amount of real-world examples in this book. In order to become proficient in Excel development, you'll need to develop your own collection of generic procedures or building blocks. By building on your prebuilt foundation, so to speak, you can churn out applications with less effort and in a shorter amount of time. In order to help you acquire your own foundation of generic routines, I present many useful procedures that illustrate the topic at hand. I use many of these procedures in nearly every application I build.

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