Microsoft Excel is the most widely used spreadsheet application in existence. Are you ready to start learning Excel? Keep reading to learn about popular Excel features, online learning options, certifications, and professional uses of this versatile application.
Microsoft Excel is an interactive spreadsheet application that Microsoft created in 1985. Excel has many uses for organizing, storing, analyzing, and visualizing data. This app is commonly used for performing basic and advanced calculations, automating tasks, and managing the information contained in large datasets. Excel is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of productivity applications and is currently available on both PCs and Macs, as a mobile app, or online via the Office 365 cloud. Excel remains the most popular spreadsheet software in the world, with approximately half-a-billion users.
Excel includes hundreds of tools and features designed for organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data:
Regardless of the industry in which you are employed, chances are Excel is one of the tools you use. Those working in academia, statistics, finance, healthcare, accounting, and data analytics all rely on this software for daily work tasks. The more you know about Excel, the more you are likely able to contribute to your organization. Here are just a few reasons why you should learn Excel:
Learning Excel has never been easier, thanks to the various in-person and online courses currently available. In-person or live online Excel courses are great learning options. They allow students to connect with expert instructors in real-time and receive guidance, feedback, and answers to questions as they arise. In-person study also allows students to connect with other learners, a benefit that extends beyond the classroom. Live online and in-person Excel classes are currently available for those new to Excel and for advanced spreadsheet users looking to learn more complex Excel functions.
Another way to study Excel is through on-demand Excel classes. Unlike live online study, which meets at regularly scheduled times, you complete these asynchronous classes at your own pace around work and personal commitments. In addition, since they are entirely online, these classes don’t require commuting to and from campus. In fact, you can complete your Excel studies from the comfort of your own home or local coffee shop. Top educational providers, such as Noble Desktop, currently offer on-demand Excel training for beginners and advanced students. Additional courses on spreadsheet tools and techniques are also available, such as Exceljet’s Excel Shortcuts, LinkedIn Learning’s Excel: Advanced Formulas and Functions, and Coursera’s Excel Skills for Business Specialization.
Perhaps you’re interested in learning about Excel but not yet ready to commit to an online or in-person course. In that case, numerous free tutorials, YouTube videos, seminars, and blog posts are also available. Noble Desktop’s free Excel Seminar is a great starting point, which includes an hour of instruction on ten beginner tricks for Excel users. Noble also offers an Excel YouTube channel with more than 70 short video clips on popular Excel topics, such as sorting lists, working with IF functions, and applying conditional formatting. For those seeking free online Excel resources and tutorials, Noble has more than 100 posts pertaining to timely spreadsheet skills, like creating dynamic arrays and using Excel for event planning.
Read the complete guide on how to learn Excel.
If you are considering learning Excel but worry you may not be ready for this task, it’s a good idea to brush up on a few other related skills so that you will be ready to go once you begin working with spreadsheets. The following are some prerequisites to learning Excel:
The process of learning Excel varies from one individual to the next. Because this software has applications for various personal and professional tasks, such as creating basic shopping lists, performing advanced statistical analysis, and everything in between, no two Excel users are the same. Although some can learn Excel quickly, it can take others much longer to become accustomed to the interface and various features. If you are wondering how difficult it is to learn Excel, the following are a few questions to ask yourself that can contribute to the speed at which Excel is learned:
When learning Excel, it’s important to keep in mind that it is a robust application that’s capable of much more than performing basic calculations. Although most learners can become familiar with this software’s core features in just a few hours, learning more advanced functions can take much longer. Some estimate that Excel proficiency can take 18-20 hours. Others place this number at 40 hours. Excel is like any other skill; the more time you spend practicing, the better you will become.
Many professionals use Microsoft Excel each day to complete work tasks. Not only is Excel expertise one of the most sought-after skills recruiters look for in potential employees, but it also can help improve work performance, lead to higher pay, and even land you a better job. Because knowledge of Excel is such an in-demand professional skill, more options are available for learning Excel than ever before. Unlike in the past, when Excel was only taught in the in-person environment, many online resources are now available to help with the learning process. In addition, many of these online educational resources are free, which makes learning Excel possible for everyone.
Because of how widely used this software is for managing large datasets, Excel has applications in many professions:
Many online resources for learning Excel are currently available to help with spreadsheet basics as well as more advanced concepts:
Many employers list “Excel proficiency” as a qualification, regardless of the profession. However, it’s one thing to say you’re proficient in Excel and another to show that you are. If you’re interested in demonstrating to employers that you are well-versed in Excel and know how to work with core components of this app, such as PivotTables, VBA, and macros, you may wish to consider becoming certified in Excel. Not only does certification convey that you are Excel-proficient, but it also demonstrates that you invested the time required to pass at least one exam in Excel.
While Excel proficiency is useful in most professions, not all require certification. However, there are some fields that consider Excel training to be an essential requirement for job applicants:
Microsoft Office (MOS) Certification is offered in Excel and other core Microsoft apps such as Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. To achieve certification, learners must pass an exam in which they complete a series of tasks in the application being tested and do so within a specified time limit. Students can only use a certain number of keyboard clicks when performing these tasks. This ensures that those being tested in Excel understand the software well enough so as to avoid having to scroll through menus or search on toolbars to complete actions. No standard academic or professional requirements are required for MOS Certification beyond passing the exam.
Three tiers of certification are currently available: Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate Certification, Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert Certification, and Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Master Certification:
If you aren’t ready to dive into an entire Excel course but are instead looking for an overview of how to work with this spreadsheet app, you can get started learning Excel for free online. Noble Desktop, a top education provider, currently offers this free introductory Excel course. It provides an hour of instruction on practical Excel skills, such as splitting and joining text, navigating shortcuts, inserting screenshots, and removing duplicates.
Read more about free Excel videos and online tutorials.
The time it takes to learn Excel depends on many factors. Although most consider Excel a reasonably straightforward, easy-to-learn application, the process can be a bit more challenging for beginners who don’t have prior experience working with spreadsheets or data. For those looking to perform basic Excel tasks and become familiar with the interface, it likely will take several hours to acclimate to this app. If you are interested in becoming proficient with more advanced Excel functions for work tasks, you will likely need to devote upwards of 20 hours to master this software fully. Enrolling in an online or in-person Excel class can help to reduce the time it will take to become Excel-proficient.
Before learning Excel, it is helpful to review rudimentary mathematical concepts, such as basic algebra. A solid foundation in math can help you quickly learn and retain Excel formulas and shortcuts, leading to more effective spreadsheet use. In addition, you may also wish to familiarize yourself with the Microsoft 365 suite of productivity applications before working with Excel. Since Excel integrates with other Microsoft apps like PowerPoint and Access, the more you know about the Microsoft family of apps, the better prepared you will be to work with Excel.
Excel is currently available from Microsoft for $160 a year, or $6.99/month if you purchase it as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications (which also includes access to Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive). Excel can be downloaded directly from Microsoft via a digital download.
Read about how difficult it is to learn Excel.
Those interested in studying Excel may wonder how learning this app compares to learning other similar applications. Google Sheets is an online spreadsheet program included in the free Google Docs Editors Suite. Google Sheets has many similarities to Excel with regard to features, calculations, and formulas. However, unlike Excel, Google Sheets offers the owner links they can share with other users to grant them permission to read or edit the sheet simultaneously. Excel, on the other hand, only allows one person to edit at any given time. Because both Excel and Google Sheets rely on many of the same formulas and features, they take about the same amount of time to learn: just a few hours for basics and up to 20 hours to master more advanced features.
Most people consider the various core Microsoft applications straightforward and easy to learn. Those who work with one Microsoft application often decide to explore others. For example, it is common for those working with Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to branch out and study Excel. Many Microsoft users consider Word to be the easiest application to use. It’s possible to learn how to create, modify, save, share, or print a Word document in just an hour or so.
On the other hand, learning PowerPoint basics may take about four or five hours. Just like Excel, mastering more complex concepts in either of these apps may require additional training and time. Enrolling in one of Noble Desktop’s live online Office courses is a great way to study one or more of these in-demand applications.
Various factors will impact which learning method you choose when deciding how to learn Excel. One of the main determinants should be what you will ultimately do with your Excel skills.
Those new to using Excel may look for a basic overview of this application rather than an intensive bootcamp learning experience. Free introductory-level Excel courses are a great starting point. These classes don’t require monetary investment and are currently available online. In addition, they can be completed on your own time and revisited as necessary. Noble Desktop’s free Intro to Excel Seminar, Top 10 Beginner Excel Tricks You Need to Know, covers many introductory Excel concepts, like using charts and autofill.
If you’re interested in developing a working knowledge of Excel for your current job or to fill a skill gap in your resume, a bootcamp may be a better option. Noble Desktop’s Excel Bootcamp covers beginner, intermediate, and advanced Excel skills. Throughout this 21-hour class, students receive instruction on topics such as using Excel for business, working with PivotTables, and executing advanced functions like INDEX and MATCH. Most Excel bootcamps cost a few hundred dollars. Along with this investment comes additional perks, such as live instruction and mentoring options, which are not available from free seminars or on-demand Excel classes.
A certificate program is a great learning option for students who already have a solid Excel foundation and are used to working with spreadsheets. Certificate study can help you master Excel to pursue a new career or even switch industries. It also can teach you the skills needed to advance in your current profession. Earning a certificate in Excel is also a great way to demonstrate to employers that you have a solid grasp of Excel and its many real-world applications.
Once you’ve learned Excel, you may wonder what to study next. The following are some common study topics for those who are wondering what to study after Excel:
Are you interested in learning how to use Microsoft Excel, or brush up on your Excel skills? If so, Noble Desktop currently offers a variety of Excel courses in NYC and live online. Classes are available for those who are new to Exce
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