MVP #21: The Excel books and online resources that turned me to a Guru


Lots of people have asked me, "Michael how did you become this good in Excel? What books did you read?"

In this post I'll share the details of the books and the online resources that helped turn me to an Excel Guru.

1. Slaying Excel Dragons: A Beginners Guide to Conquering Excel's Frustrations and Making Excel Fun by Mike Girvin & Bill Jelen

This book is the most helpful of all the books I bought. Here's the book's profile -

This enthusiastic introduction provides support for Excel beginners and focuses on using the program immediately for maximum efficiency. With 1,104 screenshots and explicit information on everything from rows, columns, and cells to subtotaling, sorting, and pivot tables, this guide aims to alleviate the frustrations that come with using the program for the first time. This manual offers strategies for avoiding problems and streamlining efficiency and assists readers from start to finish, turning Excel 2010 novices into experts.

2. VBA and Macros for Microsoft Office Excel 2007 by Bill Jelen

Here's the book's long profile -

“In this day and age of ‘too much information and not enough time,’ the ability to get to the bottom line quickly and in a concise method is what excels companies to the top of their industry. The techniques in this book will allow you to do things you only dreamt of.”
—Jerry Kohl, president of Brighton Collectibles

Develop your Excel macro programming skills using VBA instantly with proven techniques

Automate Reports
Handle Errors
Master Pivot Tables
Produce Charts
Build User-Defined Functions
Migrate to Excel 2007
Query Web Data
Build Dialog Boxes
Use Data Visualizations
Automate Word

You are an expert in Excel, but the macro recorder doesn’t work and you can’t make heads or tails out of the recorded code. If this is you, buy this book. Macros that you record today might work today but not tomorrow. Recorded macros might handle a dataset with 14 records but not one with 12 or 16 records. These are all common problems with the macro recorder that unfortunately cause too many Excel gurus to turn away from writing macros. This book shows you why the macro recorder fails and the steps needed to convert recorded code into code that will work every day with every dataset. The book assumes that you know Excel well, but there is no need for prior programming experience. This book describes everything you could conceivably need to know to automate reports and design applications in Excel VBA. Whether you want to automate reports for your office or design full-blown applications for others, this book is for you.
Learn VBA syntax as easy-to-understand English
Automate Excel’s power tools: Pivot Tables, Charts, Advanced Filters
Save hours per week by automating redundant tasks
Create applications built on top of Excel with custom dialog boxes
Automatically produce hundreds of Excel reports in seconds
Understand how changes in Excel 2007 impact your VBA macros
Introduction   1
1 Unleash the Power of Excel with VBA      7
2 This Sounds Like BASIC, So Why Doesn’t It Look Familiar?       29
3 Referring to Ranges 61
4 User-Defined Functions     75
5 Looping and Flow Control   101
6 R1C1-Style Formulas        121
7 What’s New in Excel 2007 and What's Changed  135
8 Create and Manipulate Names in VBA      143
9 Event Programming 155
10 UserForms--An Introduction       177
11 Creating Charts    197
12 Data Mining with Advanced Filter          249
13 Using VBA to Create Pivot Tables         281
14 Excel Power         337
15 Data Visualizations and Conditional Formatting  373
16 Reading from and Writing to the Web              393
17 XML in Excel 2007 413
18 Automating Word  421
19 Arrays       441
20 Text File Processing    449
21 Using Access as a Back End to Enhance Multi-User Access to Data   461
22 Creating Classes, Records, and Collections       477
23 Advanced UserForm Techniques  493
24 Windows Application Programming Interface (API)       517
25 Handling Errors     529
26 Customizing the Ribbon to Run Macros   543
27 Creating Add-Ins  569
Index  577

3. Excel Gurus Gone Wild: Do the IMPOSSIBLE with Microsoft Excel by Bill Jelen

Here's the book's profile -

Drawn from actual excel conundrums posted on the author's website,, this high-level resource is designed for people who want to stretch Excel to its limits. Tips for solving 100 incredibly difficult problems are covered in depth and include extracting the first letter of each word in a paragraph, validating URL's, generating random numbers without repeating, and hiding rows if cells are empty. The answers to these and other questions have produced results that have even surprised the Excel development team.

These are the books I used. I didn't use any book besides these. In fact, I only read one completely (the first in this list).

Now to the other resources I used.

1. Google Search
2. StackOverFlow

And these are all the resources that helped me become the Excel Guru that I am today.


  1. Hello Michael - thanks for including 3 books that I worked on in this list! - I appreciate it.

  2. Oh my God!!!

    Bill Jelen commented on my blog!!!

    What good deed have I done recently? God must be very happy with me today!


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