What can you do in Microsoft Excel?
Enter, Store and Format Data
A single MS Excel spreadsheet can be grouped with other Excel spreadsheets to form a workbook. Excel workbooks often track data over time with a worksheet to represent each month of the year, day of the week, or task. Excel spreadsheets can hold numbers, dates, times, and formulas, which can be used to calculate new data in adjacent columns.
Excel functions allow users to combine text and data into one string. For example, a row with name, date, and academic major could be combined in one column with each characteristic separated by a comma. For this reason, Excel is also an excellent tool for formatting or cleaning data before analysis. Formulas, functions, and conditional statements (ex., if this, then that) can transform raw data into a standard format.
Excel can perform basic mathematical functions like adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers. Mathematical functions can be programmed to use specific cells or numeric values. These features are often useful for budget management or calculating a final total.
Users can enter data or connect MS Excel to an external database such as Bloomberg and Reuters to retrieve data automatically. Despite the intensive process required to program such features, information is often exchanged this way using Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Exchange. At an advanced level, Excel can be programmed to retrieve data from an external source, analyze this data, and update a spreadsheet automatically as changes occur.
Excel performs basic statistics on data including mean, average, mode, permutations, and quartiles. For research studies, Excel can also perform an analysis of variance (ANOVA), regression, and factor analysis. The program can also make forecasts and predictions based on trends and predict these changes in graphs.
Charts and Graphs
Excel users can generate basic visuals to support data analysis in Microsoft Excel. The most common types of data visualizations created in MS Excel are bar and pie charts, histograms, and line graphs. The program can generate a standalone graph for insertion in another document, or it can be inserted within the actual spreadsheet. If cell values are changed, the chart or graph will also update the data labels and the figure automatically.
Microsoft Excel can create the following types of charts:
- Pie Chart
- Bar Chart
- Line Chart
- Area Chart
- Scatter Chart
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