Excel Newsgroups

John Walkenbach


Internet newsgroups are public forums devoted to a particular topic. There are thousands of newsgroups, covering virtually every topic you can think of (and many that you haven't thought of).

This page lists all of the newsgroups that deal with Excel. Newsgroups are an excellent way to learn more about Excel, and to ask questions of other users.

Accessing Newsgroups

You'll need software to access the newsgroups. Microsoft Outlook Express is a good choice (it's part of Internet Explorer). Others prefer to use a program by Forte called Agent.

In mid-April, 1996, Microsoft established several Excel-related newsgroups on its own server. If your ISP doesn't carry these newsgroups, you can access them directly from Microsoft's news server (which is actually the best approach). You'll need to configure you newsreader software or web browser to access Microsoft's news server, which is:


Or, you can access the microsoft.public.* newsgroups from using a browser-based interface. This method is not as efficient, and should be used only if you can't access the newsgroups via normal methods.

Are You a New User? - NEW NEWSGROUP

If you're an Excel newbie, you might feel a bit intimidated by the newsgroups. If so, there's a newsgroup just for you: microsoft.public.excel.newusers. This newsgroup was added in December, 2002.

Microsoft Excel Newsgroup List

The Excel-related newsgroups on Microsoft's server are:

Searching newsgroups

Many people don't realize it, but you can perform a keyword search on past newsgroup postings. Often, this is an excellent alternative to posting a question to the newsgroup since you can get the answer immediately.

The best source for searching newsgroup postings is google.com

For example, assume you're having a problem with your VBA Auto_Open procedure in Excel. You can perform a search using the following keywords: Excel, VBA, and Auto_Open. Either of these search engines will find dozens of newsgroup postings that deal with these topics. It may take a while to sift through the messages, but there's an excellent chance that you'll find an answer to your question.

Click the link below to search google.com in a new browser window.

Tips for posting to a newsgroup

If you decide to post a question to a newsgroup, first make sure that the question has not already been answered. .

1. Perform a google search to make sure that the question has not already been answered. (see Searching newsgroups, above)

2. Make the subject line descriptive. Post with a subject line such as "Help me!" and "Excel Question" are less likely to be answered than a post with a subject like "Excel Charting Problem."

3. Post in the appropriate newsgroup, and don't cross-post to other groups unless the question applies to multiple groups.

4. Specify the spreadsheet product and version that you are using.

5. Make your question as specific as possible. Usually, stating that something "doesn't work right" isn't sufficient.

6. Keep your message brief and to the point, but provide enough information so the question can actually be answered.

7. For best results, post only one question per message.

8. Indicate what you've done to try to answer your own question.

9. Don't type in all uppercase or all lowercase, and avoid using teen-style abbreviations such as "this is 4 U."

10. Check your grammar and spelling.

11. Avoid using jargon or acronyms that are specific to your industry.

12. Don't include a file attachment.

13. Avoid posting multipart MIME messages that include 300 lines of HTML for a 5 line post.

14. If you would like an e-mail reply, don't use an "anti-spam" e-mail address that requires the responder to modify your address.

Copyright 2005 J-Walk & Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 68797, Tucson, Arizona 85737, U.S.A. All rights reserved.
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