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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
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
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.