Solutions and training for business users of Microsoft Excel.
Solutions and training for business users of Microsoft Excel.


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Marty Ryerson

Dec 2005 -- Use MS Query with Text Files For Dynamic Excel Reporting
Oct 2005 -- Use MS Query to Treat Excel As a Relational Data Source

I've spent most of my computer-related life trying to figure out how to get data out of storage and onto paper or into spreadsheets.

I've been creating reports since the late 1960s when I worked at a small, privately owned telephone company in Manassas, Virginia. Back then, we had to plug wires into a perforated board of an IBM accounting machine to print data from a deck of punched cards. We printed onto a 132-character-wide sheet of green-bar continuous-form paper, creating the correct breakpoints and subtotals along the way.

Several years ago I received the Accredited Crystal Engineer certificate from Crystal Decisions.

Although I'm an Accredited Crystal Engineer, I've turned to Excel almost exclusively in recent years to create reports, especially ad hoc reports. Because most of the people who request reports want to manipulate and analyze the data, they almost always request that the report be exported to Excel. So, I set about developing ways to use Excel not only as an analysis tool but as a data acquisition tool as well.

Along the way, I've acquired some useful SQL knowledge, which is an immense help when it comes to getting data out of a database -- or wherever it's hiding.

I really enjoy using MS Query with Excel -- not because it is such an elegant tool (it ain't) -- but because it's the only way to store a refreshable query with an Excel workbook without getting into macros and VBA programming. The users love being able to refresh spreadsheets!

My mission in life is to empower non-programmer types to pull a majority of their own reports, and let me have time to develop the more interesting reports that require VBA.

Thanks to many authors who write about Excel and maintain web sites about Excel, I have been able to find a great deal of information on the subject, and a great deal of help from forums and email lists.

However, Tim Zapawa's book has brought me to a "Great Leap Forward" in my adventures with Excel reporting. Not only have I learned a lot from his book, but I have been able to verify many of the techniques that I had developed for myself over the last three years, and confirm that many of the things I was frustrated about were a function of the software, and not of my own ignorance.

I work for Simonton Windows in their Headquarters facility in Parkersburg, WV. Simonton is a national company that manufactures vinyl windows and patio doors. We have plants in West Virginia, Illinois, California, Oklahoma, and soon in Georgia.

Marty Ryerson

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