After 15 years as an Excel user, College of Business instructor Jason Davidson ’01 can now say that he wrote the book on the Microsoft product. The 2013 version, anyway.

Jason Davidson

Jason Davidson

Exploring: Microsoft Excel 2013, Comprehensive, coauthored with Keith Mulbery, is a 718-page textbook designed to walk students through Excel.  

“It assumes you have no working knowledge of Excel in the beginning and walks you through all skills needed to pass the Microsoft Office Specialist expert certification exam,” Davidson said.

In other words, readers start with plugging basic information into spreadsheets and ultimately learn what Davidson calls “aspects of business calculus, finance, and accounting” – things like mortgage amortization, data analysis, and business modeling.

Davidson began using Excel when he was in high school and continued through his undergraduate years at Butler and the completion of his MBA at Morehead State University.  As assistant manager of technical support for Wiley Publishing, he began to truly appreciate Excel for analytics and number-crunching.

“Sometimes things click,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a mind that works in that way.”

He’s taught “Basic Excel Skills for Business Applications” since joining the Butler faculty five years ago.

A few years ago, while using an earlier version of the textbook in class, Davidson mentioned to a representative from Pearson Publishing that he felt the problems in the book weren’t rigorous enough. When the time came to update the book, the publisher approached Davidson.

According to the summary on, where the book is available for sale, the text takes readers beyond point and click to help them understand why they use Microsoft Office skills along with how they perform them. “The latest edition provides an easy-to-follow map through each chapter to help readers learn, study, and review efficiently and be successful in this class and beyond,” the summary says. “The entire approach allows students to map their way quickly and easily through the book, focusing on the key objectives, and using their own efficient study habits as a model for success.”

The 2013 version of Excel came out around the end of 2012. But Davidson said it usually takes a year or two for people to convert to the newest version, so his book will remain relevant for the next few years.

He said he’s excited to have a textbook with his name on it in use in his class.

“It was written by someone else when I started,” he said, “so this is great honor.”

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Marc Allan
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