How to Learn Excel: 5 Tips from Experts

How to Learn Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and advanced tools used to work with numbers and raw data. For newbies, Excel spreadsheets may look intimidating because of all the advanced-level functions and features offered by the tool. But there is nothing that can’t be learned. 

Why learn Excel? 

With Excel spreadsheets, you can quickly create tables, clearly organize data and visualize the numbers. Being an advanced user, you can apply complicated mathematical functions for professional needs including analysis and tracking fluctuations. This application is not only for people working with numbers like accountants or business analysts. Excel is widely used by CEOs, content managers, designers, and everyone who needs data organized, simplified and easily manageable.

So, for those thinking that Excel is scary, here are some tips about learning Excel and having fun on the go.

Start with basic functions and commands

Never skip simple steps in learning spreadsheets. Small things can speed up and make more convenient working with your data.

The first thing you want to know is to locate an equal sign (=). In other words, when you want to add 1+1, you must start with an equal sign. i.e. “ =1+1” into the spreadsheet cell. By pressing enter, the cell will display the result, “2”. That method works for both subtraction as well. Use the asterisk sign “*” for multiplication and slash “/” when you need to devide.

Lack of these simple operations is the major cause of further complications on your way to the advanced level.

Learn to create tables

After learning the basic math, you can now proceed to create tables and fill in your figures. At first, this step may look like the one you already know how to do and so you can skip. But don’t do that. This software majorly deals with data, and this is the main reason why learning correct table creation is vital. So make sure you practice in creating spreadsheets with several sheets inside, linking cells and even syncing several sheets together.

Select data with commands

To select a column or a line, just click on the cell. To select all through including the headings. Use the shift (SHIFT) and control (CTRL) buttons to select the entire columns and rows.

Get all the data either below, adjacent, or above the cell you are in, by using the arrow keys. You can also use CTRL + SHIFT + * if you need to select the entire set of data.

Import data

The significant benefit of using an Excel spreadsheet is its ability to allow a combination of different types of data from different sources. You can properly import all the data and create an excel drop-down list.

From the “Get External Data” option, select any specific option from the Data tab, and use it in an appropriate way depending on your data set. Ensure that you don’t just copy and paste the data. You can select the table where your data will automatically fill into the table so you can manipulate it the way you want.

Learn how to create charts

After learning how to create tables, you want to represent data in a spreadsheet using charts. This step is the same as creating tables but it contains different varieties of charts and graphs to choose from. Excel provides you with multiple options on how to represent and visualize your graphs. Once you are done with graphs, you follow the same procedure to create the charts. Try variations to see what fits your presentations best.

Take an Excel training course

Taking a short course in Excel speeds up learning the tool. During training, you get access to materials and assignments created by experienced instructors. Courses help you master shortcuts, formulas, pivot tables, and conditional formatting while giving the information conveniently organized by topics. There are also advanced Excel courses. But if you’re just starting with Excel and don’t need to create complex reports, start with small. Otherwise, you can be overwhelmed by the functions and formulas available.

Apply Excel to everyday tasks

Use what you learn. Keep your content plan in a spreadsheet. Create a chart about spendings on your fleet. Track your remote employees working hours. Or plan out your marketing activities divided by months. Apply Excel for your business needs to save time and clear off your memory. 

Bottom line

No matter your occupation, learning Excel is helpful for your everyday tasks. With Excel, tracking and representing data becomes easier. Having all the numbers organized helps to see seasonal fluctuations, track reasons and offer data-driven solutions. Even if you use only certain formulas for your work, investing time in learning Excel will pay back quickly by saving your precious time spent on tasks that can be easily be automated.

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