The Microsoft Office Suite is, in my opinion, the most useful set of applications in a corporate setting. Besides being easy to use and practically perfecting the "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get" (WYSIWYG) display, the applications in Microsoft Office can work together to share information, produce reports, etc. The problem is that while there are many references available to help users develop their skills in any of the applications, there are few references available to show how to use the applications together. I did quite a bit of integration work as both a consultant and employee at various companies, and I quickly found those skills in demand in many departments—from Human Resources to Operations to Finance. As people asked me to do things that I had never done before and I figured out how to do them, I began building a base of code and knowledge that I could use to solve problems. I kept thinking, "I wish there were a book that could show me how to..." and then, when I had figured out how to do those things, I thought, "I could write that book."
Based on my experience, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel allow for the most benefit from integration, so this book focuses mainly on these applications. In addition to Access and Excel, I have included a chapter on SQL Server and a chapter on integrating with other Microsoft Office applications. In each topic, I show how integrating features in different applications can solve problems. Although the examples use rather generic data, you will be able to apply the same concepts to your own data.
The difficulty in writing a book like this lies in tailoring the skill level to fit a wide audience. For example, many of the Excel GUI features might seem very basic to some readers, while they are new to others. In addition, some readers might be very comfortable with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and others may have anywhere from no experience with VBA to experience only using the macro recorder. As much as possible, I have tried to build from the basics to the complex when covering each topic. I hope that you will be neither bored nor overwhelmed as you go through the topics.