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In the next chapter, I will introduce you to accessing data from the Excel user interface. This will be very useful for simple tasks for which you need a table of data from a database or another spreadsheet. You can also write database queries with Microsoft Query if you need more specific information than a table or prewritten query. These tasks are all managed from Excel's External Data toolbar. At the end of the next chapter, I will introduce PivotTables as a method for summarizing the data.
To give you a feel for what is to come, you will first learn data access from the Excel user interface, followed by using Excel VBA. Once this is accomplished, you will learn the Access user interface and Access VBA. Next comes an introduction to using these concepts with SQL Server and other Office applications. The final chapters in the book will cover more advanced topics on building applications that integrate Excel and Access. Where applicable, code samples will be available for download online at O'Reilly's web site.
As you go through the book, I suggest having sample Excel and Access files that you can use to apply the concepts discussed. If you don't have your own data, use the sample files that accompany the book. You will most likely get more out of the book if you type the code yourself and get a feel for how to use the VBA interface in Excel and Access. But you can certainly also use (or reuse) the code in the sample files without retyping it. However you decide to use the book, the concepts illustrated are focused around solving common problems that come up in a business environment.
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