The Testbench

Book Review: Microsoft Excel Functions and Formulas (Second Edition)

The most-used EDA tool in the arsenals of both hardware and software designers is not an EDA tool, strictly speaking. It’s Microsoft Excel. Surprised? No, you’re not, because you use it too. Designers have used Excel for decades to keep track of all sorts of things, and why shouldn’t they? It’s flexible and highly capable; with it, designers are able to crunch numbers in myriad ways by plugging in a few formulas. It’s a great tool for keeping track of design data, revision details, and lots more.

In the second edition of his “Microsoft Excel Functions and Formulas,” Bernd Held expands the book’s purview to include Excel 2010. The book begins with the basics, but before long it gets into intermediate and advanced concepts. As the author states in his introduction, “this book was written to help readers uncover and use (Excel’s) wide range of tools.”

It starts out with a range of practical tasks that lend themselves to the use of formulas and then moves through how to use logical functions, text functions, and date/time functions. By Chapter 5, you’ll be getting into statistics. For designers, Chapter 8 is of particular interest with its focus on database functions; likewise, Chapter 11 introduces you to array formulas. It will show you how to perform multiple calculations with either a single result or multiple results. The final chapter digs into combinations of functions discussed in previous chapters.

Included is a companion CD-ROM with examples organized in Excel workbooks for each chapter.

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