Microsoft Excel is the leading spreadsheet application around the globe. Have you ever explored all of Excel’s capabilities? Those who know how to use Excel’s many features and functions can organize, analyze, and visualize data and perform advanced calculations on these numbers. Excel has applications in nearly every industry, from finance to data science to project management. The more you know about working with Excel spreadsheet data, the more significant contribution you can make to your organization. Here, you’ll learn more about the various careers that benefit from Excel and how it can enhance your professional life. Regardless of your ultimate goals, learning Excel is a valuable and impressive skill to add to your resume.
What is Excel?
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application created by Microsoft in 1985. Excel is a powerful and valuable resource for organizing data and numbers using functions and formulas. It also comes with graphing tools to help visualize data findings, a programming language known as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) used to create macros, and advanced calculation capabilities. Excel works on both Mac and Windows operating systems.
The cells within an Excel spreadsheet each contain data, like formulas, numbers, or text, which can be organized and analyzed. Excel is a useful tool for performing various calculations on spreadsheets. It can calculate statistics, perform repeated and advanced calculations, analyze data, and create graphical representations of the data, such as graphs, charts, and PivotTables.
Read more about what Excel is and why you should learn it.
What Can You Do with Excel?
Excel has hundreds of features and tools that help users organize, manage, analyze, and visualize data. The following are just a few of the tools and features that make Excel the go-to for professionals around the globe:
- In Excel, users can add or average numbers in cells, locate high, median, or low values, count cells containing numbers, and find a product by multiplying cells. It’s also possible to delete extra white space and truncate numbers by removing fractions.
- Excel can learn your patterns the more you use it so that it can organize your data and ultimately save time.
- Users can share workbooks with others in real-time to ensure that all collaborators have the most up-to-date version.
- It’s possible to work on Excel files from the web and mobile and desktop devices.
- Users can now add data right into Excel from a photo. The Excel app enables users to take a picture of printed data with their iPhone or Android, then convert this image into an editable Excel table. This helpful trick helps users avoid manually entering hard copy data and is made possible through Excel’s image recognition capabilities.
- Financial transactions can be imported into Excel so that users can organize and review their financial information and receive helpful insights toward making more informed financial decisions.
- Excel’s PivotTables help users perform analysis and summaries of datasets, regrouping spreadsheet data for more effective comparisons. By seeing data from different perspectives, it’s possible to get a more comprehensive picture of revenue sources and other vital information.
Common Uses for Excel
Excel has many applications across industries and professions. It is often used for:
- Entering and storing data
- Analyzing data
- Collecting, cleaning, and verifying business data
- Budgeting and accounting tasks
- Visualizing data
- Managing projects
- Creating data reports
- Optimizing managerial or administrative duties
- Reporting on performance
- Creating schedules or calendars
- Managing operations or accounts
Be a Faster & More Efficient Employee
The more Excel functions, shortcuts, and tools you know, the easier it is to complete tasks that would otherwise take many hours. Creating or running macros is one of Excel’s most time-saving features. Macros can automate many of the repetitive tasks and manipulations that have to be performed on data reports or even standardize the format of a document. Best of all, no coding knowledge is required to create macros, and they can help you complete hours of work in just minutes.
Become Better at Organizing Data
More data than ever is created daily, and Excel is the most-used tool for organizing this data. Those with a background working with Excel can organize vast stores of raw data in various ways that are useful for a company. Using Excel’s advanced capabilities provides additional sorting options that make it easier to analyze the numbers and make any necessary calculations on the data.
Powerful Collaboration Tool
If you’re working on a project with others from your department or elsewhere within your organization, you can all work on the same Excel worksheet or workbook and receive real-time updates on others’ progress. This ensures work is completed faster and everyone working on a project is aware of any changes to the spreadsheet.
Add Value to Your Organization
Excel skills will increase your value as an employee and put you in a position to advance in your current position. Those who actively strive to improve their efficiency and learn new skills and Excel functions demonstrate that they are vital to a company’s success and are less likely to be replaced by those with more advanced skills. So, it’s important to continue to learn new Excel tools and functions, even if you are already proficient with the application.
Make Your Job Easier
As you improve your Excel skills, you’ll find yourself more easily navigating the app and performing job-related tasks with ease. In addition, the shortcuts and features you learn in Excel often translate to other products in the Microsoft 365 suite, streamlining workflow and making it much easier to reuse the spreadsheet data in other programs.
Optimize Your Business’s Assets
Any software, applications, or programs an organization uses are considered assets. However, employees who aren’t trained to optimize these resources go underused. Excel proficiency is a great use of this asset and often leads employees to use other previously under-used assets.
Alleviate IT Support Team Stress
Employees within an organization who haven’t been trained to work with software such as Excel can strain the IT department, which is often responsible for picking up the slack. If IT workers have to train employees on Excel individually, they can’t accomplish more pressing tasks, like maintaining security, installing hardware, or upgrading systems. Employers should ensure that employees who work with data have advanced Excel skills to handle data manipulations rather than waiting for IT to become involved.
Visualize Data Findings
Most everyone who works with data will eventually need to share their findings with others in their organization or external stakeholders, highlighting the importance of data visualization. Visualizations help present data findings in an accessible and attractive way that even those from a non-technical background can understand. They also provide viewers with a context for the data, incorporating visual elements such as graphs and charts to tell a data-driven story. Although Excel isn’t the only software that can create data visualizations, it’s a good option because Excel users can execute visualizations directly where their data resides. In addition, because Excel offers regular updates, each new version includes even better visualization options, such as sunburst diagrams and map charts.
Track Business Expenses
Excel offers many built-in templates, one of which helps track professional expenses. The Excel Expense Report template is a popular tool for keeping track of business expenses. It organizes the data into columns and allows users to customize each label or header to meet specific budgeting needs. Excel also offers options for helping users create expense reports manually.
Increase Your Pay Rate
Knowledge of Excel increases job opportunities and can mean a higher starting salary. Because this spreadsheet application is so commonly used, Excel know-how is considered a transferable skill essential to most employers. Therefore, the more you know about Excel, the more professional options with higher salaries you will have.
How to Start Learning 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 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.
Learn Excel with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop
Are you looking to learn how to use Microsoft Excel, the industry-standard spreadsheet application? If so, Noble Desktop currently offers a variety of Excel courses in NYC and live online. Classes are available for those new to Excel and for learners who regularly work with this spreadsheet application and wish to improve their skills. In addition, in-person and live online Excel courses are available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to two days and costing between $229 and $1,099.
Noble Desktop’s Excel Bootcamp provides an excellent option for those who want to master core Excel concepts, such as working with PivotTables and What-If Analysis. Students who enroll in this rigorous, 21-hour course can elect to study in person in Manhattan or learn in the live online environment. This small class comes with the option of a free retake and covers a variety of Excel concepts applicable to the business world.
- Microsoft Excel is the most-used spreadsheet application in the world.
- Some of the most common uses of Excel are data analysis and visualization, project management, performance reporting, scheduling, forecasting, and budgeting.
- Those with Excel skills contribute to their organization in many ways. They can perform data analysis faster and more efficiently, track business expenses, and collaborate with others on projects.
- Not only can learning Excel help your company function more efficiently, but it can also increase your pay rate and marketability since Excel knowledge is a transferable skill.