THE CELL MASTERS
Chapter 04   The Cell Master.  Ture Magnusson  from Ostersund, Sweden
  Turedata AB : http://www.turedata.se/

interview date:14.Jan.2003
Please introduce your self. You may be as thorough as you wish. Feel free to include or omit any detail about yourself.
My name is Ture Magnusson and I am a programmer/consultant/instructor from Karlstad, Sweden. I'm running my own consulting firm where I currently focus mostly on building custom Excel based solututions, mainly for large companies.

To sharpen my skills, I do some voluntary work by answering Excel related questions that are posted on mailing lists and web-based Q&A forums like Experts Exchange. For this work, I have been recognized by Microsoft and awarded the Excel MVP title every year since 1997.

I am married to Ann. We have three children, one grandchild, one dog, one very nice apartment and one old Toyota Camry. Things I enjoy, in random order: Singing in our church choir. Playing golf (although I'm really not good at it). Premium cigars. Freemasonry. Playing boule petanque. Good food and drink.

Things I do not enjoy: Parallell parking. Skating. Packing groceries into bags when there is a long line of busy customers waiting. Porridge.

When do you remember using Excel for the very first time? Can you remember any specific details from that first time?
I used Excel before it was even available in Windows.
The first version of Excel was made for the Apple Macintosh and at that time (1985), I was working with Macs.
My boss, who was nuts about Apple in general, introdu- ced me to Excel and showed me how great it was compared to Lotus 1-2-3.
I remember that he showed me the Table feature of Excel and I believe that he told me about Excel's superior macro language also.

When do you remember writing your first formula or VBA code for Excel?
My boss' demonstration caught my interest - I started playing with Excel myself as soon as he left me alone at the Mac.
Formulas worked in the same way they do today and there was a handy macro recorder that created little programs for me in Excel's innovative macro language.
At that time there was no VBA in Excel (this was before Visual Basic or even Windows existed).

On average, how many hours per day do you spend working with Excel formulas and/or VBA code?
Five or six hours, I guess. Perhaps more. But not on weekends because that time is reserved for my family and my friends.

Which do you find most rewarding to work with: Formulas or VBA in Excel? Please tell us why?
I work more with VBA than with formulas.

The reason is that it gives me greater control over the systems I build and it allows me to make them easy to use even for people who have little or no Excel knowledge.

In many of the systems I build, all user interaction is handled by forms - I use Excel only for calculations, formatting and report output.

If you were going to give a novice, just starting out with Excel, some advice, what would it be?
  • Use a pencil and paper when planning your spreadsheet.

  • When building a spreadsheet, enter text headers and values first, then build your formulas. Do all the fancy formatting stuff last.

  • Avoid merging cells.


Please provide a sample of your first work (either as a formula or vba code) in Excel and tell us about it.
Sorry... that's just too long ago and I no longer recall what my first Excel work was.

What is your mental attitude when you are preparing to write formulae or VBA code? And what is your working environment?
I used to have the office at my house, but when we moved to our apartment a few years ago, I decided to rent an office instead. Now it is easier to concentrate on work during work hours and to forget about it at other times.

My office looks just like any office, my desktop is rather crowded and there are a few piles of books and things on the floor also. Through my window I can see other office buildings and a glimpse of the river Klaralven which runs through Karlstad. It all looks very nice on this cold, sunny winter day. It's a good environment for an Excel VBA programmer.

Finally, please give us something to think about - a reminder of your words here; a phrase that has helped you; a link to your own website. Anything that you think is important for the readers to remember.

Thank you very much for answering the questions.

This Black belt is yours...

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