What to expect
Above all, this is a book about Excel development of dashboards and interactive reports. If you're looking for a short book that gives you just enough to make something and move on, this isn't the book for you; although, there are many good books that do this (see Bill Jelen's Mr. Excel Library, John Walkenbach's Mr. Spreadsheet series, and Michael Alexander's Excel 2007 Dashboards & Reports, for example). My book is aimed at filling what I believe is a dearth of quality printed material on the subject of Excel development for building modern tools. Professional Excel Development was the last latest and greatest comprehensive book on really developing tools with Excel. It is my favorite book on Excel development, and a lot of my work owes to what I've read. (There are however many terrific blogs on Excel development, which I believe is in response to the lack of print material.)
I hope you enjoy the book, I really do. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I do want to highlight what won't be in the book. As of right now, there won't be any Pivot Tables. Sorry for all you Pivot Table lovers out there. Here's the skinny: when you use Pivot Tables for dashboards, you give up a lot of control. I think I make a pretty good case in my book, but I welcome feedback if you disagree. By extension, that also means no slicers. Look, I think slicers are very, very promising concerning where Microsoft wants to take Excel, but I kind of hate them. (Oh no, I've said too much.) They take up a lot of screen real estate and encourage people to make dashboards that are 80% slicers and 20% actual information. That's not good. Also, there will no pie charts.
Most importantly, this book will be about empowering you as an Excel developer. A lot of people think that you can only do cool stuff in Excel by using VBA. I say, VBA is only part of the whole package. Formulas are a part of it, too. But your mind, your ability to think critically and creatively, will ultimately be the most important tool in your arsenal. Right now, there are a lot of companies who want us to pay big money for infrastructure and data visualization tools we don't need. I argue that you and I can do a better job than many of these vendors by doing the work ourselves in Excel. That is my motivation to write this book.
And now I bet you just can't wait to get your hands on a copy!
So if you're really, really interested in the getting a copy as soon as possible, there are a few options available.
First, if you're into the e-book thing, you can go to my publisher's website and order a copy through their Alpha Book program. The Alpha Book program allows you to see each chapter as they are approved by my editors. The chapters will still be in development, so if you're the type who likes giving feedback, you could email me directly with your thoughts. If you do choose to do the Alpha Book program, and you do frequently email me with solid feedback about each chapter you've read, I can maybe refund your purchase or even send you a signed copy of a print book.
Take the refund. I have a terrible signature.
You can also order the book through Amazon below its bookstore price. The discount seems to change every few weeks, but this is the lowest I've seen it so far. If you follow the link below, I will get an infinitesimal referral fee.
More updates coming soon. Thanks again to Winston Snyder for writing his awesome articles while I've been away. If you want to contribute an article, drop me a line.