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The Excel® Analyst's Guide to Access® by Michael Alexander

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Chapter 1. The Case for Data Analysis in Access

When you ask most people which software tool they use for their daily data analysis, the answer you most often get is Excel. Indeed, if you were to enter the key words data analysis in an Amazon.com search, you would get a plethora of books on how to analyze your data with Excel. Well if so many people seem to agree that using Excel to analyze data is the way to go, why bother using Access for data analysis? The honest answer: to avoid the limitations and issues that plague Excel.

This is not meant to disparage Excel. Many people across varying industries have used Excel for years, considering it the tool of choice for performing and presenting data analysis. Anyone who does not understand Excel in today's business world is undoubtedly hiding that shameful fact. The interactive, impromptu analysis that Excel can perform makes it truly unique in the industry.

However, Excel is not without its limitations, as you will see in the following section.

Where Data Analysis with Excel Can Go Wrong

Years of consulting experience have brought me face to face with managers, accountants, and analysts who all have had to accept one simple fact: Their analytical needs had outgrown Excel. They all met with fundamental issues that stemmed from one or more of Excel's three problem areas: scalability, transparency of analytical processes, and separation of data and presentation.

Scalability

Scalability is the ability of an application to develop flexibly to ...

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