Read Less–Learn More, Visually

CLICK TO LIKE THIS POST ON FACEBOOKTeach Yourself VISUALLY Access 2010 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))

There are so many things wrong with this slogan that  I don’t even know where to start.  I’m so tempted to use the word that starts with the syllable “ret”.  This is the genius slogan for a series of books called TEACH YOURSELF VISUALLY.  Nice books.  Detestable slogan.

I tried to send the book back, but missed the mailing deadline.   I wanted to send it back because I already know most of the stuff in the book.  What I need is a more advanced book.  This book is good for beginners.  Most of the chapters will take you from beginner to intermediate – without reading so much:

  • Chapter 4 – “Working with Fields”;

  • Chapter 5 – “Working with Relationships and Lookups”;

  • Chapter 8 – “Creating More Complex Queries”;

  • Chapter 12 – “Grouping and Summarizing Data”;

  • Chapter 14 – “Creating Charts”;

  • Chapter 15 – “Working with External Data”;

  • Chapter 16 – “Performing a Mail Merge with Microsoft Word® .

  •  

    Good stuff. It really is.  Beautifully wrought screen caps and illustrations.  But I just can’t get past the slogan.  It’s not even true!  Every illustration has a bullet list labeling the parts of the illustration.  The illustration itself has parts labeled with arrowed numbers – that you HAVE TO READ!  Hellooooo!  There’s “crockshits” of stuff to read.  And it’s useful, interesting stuff. The slogan is useless. Part slacker.  Part media junkie.  All bastard!Each skill that is described comes with a brief, very brief, description of what it is. It leaves you hungry for more. But there is no more.  It goes straight to the illustrations and the how-to bullet list.  There’s no explanation of how the skill relates to the rest of the section.  Overall, the skills, though divided into logical chapters, are demonstrated in relative isolation.If you just want to be told what to do without a lot of analysis or synthesis, this is the book for you.  You sad sod.I myself have used this book ruthlessly to hone a few dull edges on my repertoire.  Some of my favorite bits are

    Red rose

    p. 228 (Sort Report Results)

    Red rose

    p. 264 (Create an Embedded Chart Object)

    Red rose

    Ch. 16  MAIL MERGE!!!!!The funniest chapter is Chapter 5, “Working with Relationships and Lookups”.  I say funny because every section heading is a farcical

    double-entendre.  It’s like Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan teaching us about “Understanding Relationships”.  One must “Create a Relationship between Two Tables” before one can “Edit  a Relationship” or “Remove a Relationship”.  And you absolutely must understand lookups before you “Create a Field Lookup”.  Then, arranging a relationships window is de rigeur because, eventually, you might want to “Create a Field Lookup with Values That You Specify.”  Or, if you are not picky, you can “Set Up a Multivalued Field.”  Lessons for life – and love, I think you will agree.

    Left hugRight hug

    So, at the end of the day, this is a quite good book for acquiring a healthy practicing knowledge of MS Access 2010.  If you are so inclined, there’s plenty to read, most of it helpful.  Just not deep.  But who reads for depth anymore, anyway.  Ciao!

     

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