Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Getting Access to Spreadsheet Models for Managers

If Spreadsheet Models for Managersyou use Excel to model businesses, business processes, or business transactions, this course will change your life. You’ll learn how to create tools for yourself that will amaze even you. Unrestricted use of this material is available in two ways.

As a stand-alone Web site
It resides on your computer, and you can use it anywhere. No need for Internet access.
At this Web site
If you have access to the Internet whenever you want to view this material, you can purchase on-line access. Unlimited usage. I’m constantly making improvements and you’ll get them as soon as they’re available.

To Order On Line

Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, one month" by credit card, for USD 69.95 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, three months" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, downloadable hyperbook edition" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.

To Order by Mail

Make your check payable to Chaco Canyon Consulting, for the amount indicated:
  • For the download: USD 199.00
  • For access online for three months: USD 199.00
  • For access online for one month: USD 69.95
And send it to:
Chaco Canyon Consulting
700 Huron Avenue, Suite 19C
Cambridge, MA 02138

To use the course software you’ll need some other applications, which you very probably already have. By placing your order, you’re confirming that you have the software you need, as described on this site.

Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Using spreadsheets to model business processes

perspective of a manager. It emphasizes both the modeling techniques, and the process of modeling itself. That is, we’re not only interested in building models that managers need, but we want to build them in ways that are easily managed, and that give reliable and cost-effective results.

Everything you need to take this course is right here. You’ll find all the readings, notes, homework, and solutions through this Web site. No books are required, though from time to time we might mention a reference to pursue if you’re interested in more depth.

Getting started

Read about what you need to get going in this course, and how to hit the ground running.

What’s here and how to get around

The navigation menu in the upper left of each page has options for the major categories of materials you’ll need. For day-to-day work, we recommend that you approach this course from the Sessions structure. Each session covers a few topics in a sequence that we feel makes some sense as you learn the skills of business modeling. Each session page has all the links to homework, solutions, and readings that you’ll need for that session’s topics. As you go along, you can use the Search page to locate material you might wish to review.


The Readings is a collection that will help you jump-start your understanding of topics in this course — examples, tips, shortcuts, and detailed explanations of modeling techniques. These pages are for you to read to supplement what we discuss in the course. In each session, if one or more sections are particularly germane to that session’s topic, we’ll suggest that you look over the relevant parts of these notes.

Compatibility with various versions of Microsoft Office

This version of the course includes files of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint in two formats: one for Office 2007+ and one for prior versions of Office. We did this because file formats for Office 2007+ are not compatible with file formats of earlier versions of Microsoft Office. Microsoft has made a compatibility patch available, but because conversion from one format to the other can be time-consuming, we offer these files in both formats. Eventually, we’ll drop support for earlier versions, but we expect to offer dual versions for the time being.

Looking ahead

The syllabus gives you a look at what’s coming up.

Course project

The course project gives you a chance to apply what you’ve learned in a less structured environment, more like real life than the homework problems.

Please help us

We’re constantly improving this course and the course materials. If you find anything that you would like us to improve, from fixing a typo to clarifying the writing, to adding or expanding a topic, please send us a note. At the bottom of each page is a link that you can use to open an email window.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 04:15:26 EDT

Deciding What to Read

The first homework assignment has a fair amount of reading attached to it. Some students feel that the best approach is to read it all, and then try to do the homework. For most of us, such an approach doesn’t work very well.

Before you begin the course, read the general material, such as “Getting Started,” “Software You Need for This Course,” and “How to Work.”

Later, as you begin the homework, let the homework drive your reading choices. For instance, the first homework assignment does require that you master certain techniques. Read “Names” and “The Ripple Principle.” Then, if something confuses you, read up on it: examples are “The Basics of Recalculation” and “References.” Learning something when you need it, and only when you need it, is usually the best way to go.

Avoid Redundant Parentheses

Parentheses sometimes make a real difference. For instance A1*B1+2 is very different from A1*(B1+2). But A1*(B1*2) is exactly the same as A1*B1*2. When the parentheses don’t make any difference in the value of the result, it’s not usually a good idea to include them. They tend to make the formulas harder to read, and there’s always the chance that you’ll put them in the wrong place. More