Most people will have to use Excel at one point or another for their job. Many, particularly those who don’t consider themselves ‘numbers’ people, find the program agonising to use. But while some people use it as no more than a glorified calculator or listing app, it’s actually a really powerful program.
One of the great advantages of nearly everyone having to use Excel to some degree is that there are a lot of resources out there to help you do the exact thing that you’re trying to do right now. Can’t remember how to do a VLOOKUP? Google it, and you’ll get a simple and useful answer in your first few results. Don’t understand why your dates are displaying as a weird 5-digit number? Same thing.
These courses will help unlock the more useful parts of Excel for beginners, and really power up its hidden features for more experienced users.
Because Microsoft owns LinkedIn (who in turn bought Lynda.com), there is a lot of Excel training content on their paid platform LinkedIn Learning. But there is still some basic introductory training content on their own website.
This short curriculum is for Excel 2013, but the differences between it and the most recent version are negligible. They have an updated version, but it’s actually a bit less comprehensive than this one. They helpfully break topics up into beginner (like creating charts), intermediate (like using conditional formatting) and advanced (like using arrays).
This course is a collection of tutorials on how to accomplish particular tasks in Excel. These stretch from the absolute beginner skills of how to add and subtract in Excel, through intermediate skills like using pivot tables, and advanced skills like using macros and the programming language Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), that lets you tell Excel exactly what you want it to do and gives access to even more functions.
As anyone who’s been handed a dataset of any sort and asked to work on it could tell you, data usually needs a fair bit of tidying up before you can do anything useful with it. Data hygiene is an unglamorous but utterly essential skill for working with data, which can also be weirdly satisfying to do. This short course covers the basics of using Excel to clean data, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg for a wide range of Excel courses on the site.
Some of the most basic but important analysis is in getting a quick look at what your data is doing – visually. Fancy data visualisation is all the rage, but you still can’t go past a basic line or bar chart for first impressions of what your data says. This course teaches you how to pull together visualisations from complex datasets in formats that communicate your findings in a way people can understand.
This website has been around since 1998 and the design hasn’t really been updated since then, but don’t let that turn you off! The content is still being updated, I think that McRitchie is just such an Excel wonk he has no time for niceties like prettiness. As a result, while there are actually a lot of great Excel resources on the site, they’re not organised into anything resembling a curriculum. They might best be described as something an intermediate to advanced user would enjoy browsing. His course on using Excel macros and user defined functions is actually a great intro, and will have you on the road to being a power user before you know it.