Chapter 05   The Cell Master.  Shane Devenshire  from san francisco , USA

interview date:31.Jan.2003
Please introduce your self. You may be as thorough as you wish. Feel free to include or omit any detail about yourself.
Hi folks! I'm a long time spreadsheet user and advocate who has always encouraged his staff to maintain proficient in the use of spreadsheets.

Having designing algorithms for calculation on mainfram computers, even before there were electronic spreadsheet, gives me a deep appreciation of the capabilities of programs such as Excel.

When do you remember using Excel for the very first time? Can you remember any specific details from that first time?
I think I first worked with Excel in about 1986.

When do you remember writing your first formula or VBA code for Excel?
No idea.

On average, how many hours per day do you spend working with Excel formulas and/or VBA code?
Less than 1 hour a day. I have many other duties that require my time.

Which do you find most rewarding to work with: Formulas or VBA in Excel? Please tell us why?
Both are extremely important.

Excel's built in functions provide a wide range of sophisticated calculating power, but when something is missing you can turn to VBA to create it.

In addition VBA allows for manipulation of the enviornment and therefore provide the capablility to create complex applications beyond those directly available with the spreadsheet interface.

If you were going to give a novice, just starting out with Excel, some advice, what would it be?
Explore, try everything. When you're told it can't be done, don't believe it, try to find a way.

Please provide a sample of your first work (either as a formula or vba code) in Excel and tell us about it.
Too long ago, don't have the faintest recolection, but here is an interesting formula which your users may want to mull over, it calculate the date of Gregorian Easter for any date entered in cell A1:


Of course it is limited to the date range that Excel accepts 1900-9999. Although you can create a version of it in VBA that would work back to 100 AD.

What is your mental attitude when you are preparing to write formulae or VBA code? And what is your working environment?
I see every formula or VBA code as a challenge. My goal is not only to solve the problem, but to simplify the formula or VBA as much as possible. I can work anywhere, and often pop out my laptop in a meeting or at a Starbucks to jot down ideas, create formula or write code.

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.
If you already use Excel fairly regularly and want to improve your skills join an Excel listserve site such as Excel-L (VBA) or Excel-G and try addressing the questions of others. Try to find the answers to the questions that you don't know.

Shane Devenshire
Excel MVP

Thank you very much for answering the questions.

This Black belt is yours...

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