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Upgrading to Excel 2003?

Uniontown, Ohio, July 2, 2003


Will Microsoft Excel 2003 be the accountant’s dream come true? Bill Excel consultant Jelen doesn’t think so. With few new features in MS Excel 2003, Jelen says you better learn to ride the old horse first before jumping on the new stallion.

Jelen, otherwise known as "Mr. Excel" to thousands who access his website, polled 600 Excel users to determine usage of the top 10 power features. To date, less than half were using Pivot Tables, Array Formulas, Automatic Subtotals and others.

Poll Chart
During the month of June, 600 readers participated in the poll. Of these 10 Excel power features, it is amazing how almost half of Excel users are not using these features.

Jelen is passionate about Excel and is on a crusade to convert people from ignorance to efficiency. His site offers 200 articles, custom programming, Jelen’s published books, utilities and CD’s, and an incredibly comprehensive message board staffed by a band of Excel enthusiasts who hang out at the site for the fun of solving other people’s Excel glitches. That board provided over 30,000 Excel answers last year.

Henry Chapman of Nattick, MA is one of Jelen’s followers. After reading about Pivot Tables in Guerilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel, Natick raved, “The chapter on pivot tables, if read by enough people, would skyrocket white-collar productivity and spike government statistics.”

Jelen agrees. “The most powerful features in Excel – Pivot Tables, Automatic Subtotals, and Array Formulas—were introduced more than five years ago. Fifty-five percent of Excel users are not making use of these features.”

Every 30 seconds someone has a Microsoft Excel meltdown, Jelen says. They've trial-and-errored and torn their hair trying to make sense of megabytes of ugly data criss-crossing their desktop. The tech department may toss them a quick-fix until the next report is due. Then it’s back to data hell again.

Before paying $100 to upgrade to the upcoming version of Excel with only a handful of new features, Jelen suggests Excel users should purchase a book to teach their people to use the two dozen really powerful but rarely used features in recent older versions.

“The problem is not with the software, but in the training of those who use it,” Jelen says. “If most people aren’t using Excel properly, efficiently and for best results, upgrading won’t speed their slogging through manual accounting and other repetitive data input and output tasks.”

Daily spreadsheet work costs time and money. Jennifer Holley, owner of, a hosting and design company in Vermont, was creating websites from one custom designed template system, and had to change a each of the 380 individual worksheets every time she made a change to the Master Excel File. Holley was spending 35 minutes on page changes until she looked on the Net and found . Jelen consulted with Holley via phone and email and had a custom answer for her in hours.

"I was able to make changes in a few seconds rather than a half an hour,” Holley said. She praised Jelen’s e-mail support for the quick turn-around compared to most e-mail customer service on websites that can take hours or days for response. Paid help desks that serve up vague answers one at a time are no real help either.

Jelen says websites like his give tech support a good name. An internationally-recognized authority on Microsoft Excel, its uses and hidden capabilities, Jelen takes his solutions on the road as a speaker and trainer. He’s the author of four publications: Mr Excel ON EXCEL, published in April 2003 by Holy Macro! Books as the definitive “How To” for unlocking money and time saving secrets of Excel; Guerilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel (processing data into information); and CD ROMS:1600 Excel VBA Examples and Excel Knowledge Base (a Q&A archive). Jelen's books are available at, Borders Books, Barnes and Noble, Micro Center and at (no period after Mr).

For more information, contact Bill Jelen at 330-715-2875 or on his web site: or by e-mail: