Most business professionals have dabbled in Microsoft Excel, but few ever master the platform. Excel is a sophisticated software with loads of functionality beneath its surface, and it can seem intimidating to learn.
However, Excel is not as challenging to learn as many people believe. With the right training and practice, you can improve your Excel skills and open yourself up to more job opportunities. 80 percent of middle-skills jobs require spreadsheet and word processing abilities.
This blog will share the best way to learn Excel to help you become more efficient at your job and advance your career.
Why Should You Learn Excel?
Excel has a reputation for being the place you go for making tables. But its ability to organize data, perform complicated mathematical functions and even create images is a real time-saver for just about any business professional.
And it’s not just for people who work with numbers every day. Excel can help you compile information and lay it out in an understandable way. Have a massive project coming up? Excel’s project management capabilities can help you keep track of even the most complex tasks.
Excel can even increase your salary — on average, people who know Microsoft Excel make about $2 more per hour compared to those who don’t understand the program.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time you take the leap and learn Excel.
5 Tips for Learning Excel
When you look at all the things Excel can do, you might get overwhelmed. There’s so much to cover, and it never seems like there’s enough time.
Instead of trying to go over everything at once, take a step back. The best way to learn Excel is to break it down into bite-size components. Here’s how:
1. Practice Simple Math Problems in Excel
When it comes to Excel, it’s easiest to start with basic math. That way, you can get a handle on typing into Excel and get comfortable with its abilities before jumping into more complex tasks, such as learning functions and types of formatting.
The main thing you need to know is that Excel wants to see an equals sign first. In other words, when you’re writing “1 plus 1,” you need to type “=1+1” into the cell. After you press “enter,” the cell will display the number “2.” You can do the same thing with subtraction, multiplication (using an asterisk “*”) and division (using a forward slash “/”).
2. Learn How to Create Tables
While using Excel to perform basic math is helpful, it’s probably not the primary reason you need to learn the software. Most likely, you need to organize data, and creating tables is a great way to start.
To begin, select the data set — all of it, including headings — you want to convert into a table. Then, choose the “Quick Analysis” option that pops up at the bottom corner of your selection. From there, you can select “Table” from the “Tables” tab in Excel.
Your data will immediately change, and you’ll be able to manipulate it in different ways. For example, you’ll be able to filter out specific data or sort information in different ways.
3. Learn How to Create Charts
Now that you know how to create a table, it’s time to learn how to create graphs or charts. The steps are similar to creating a table, but you need to decide which type of chart or graph you’ll want ahead of time. Excel can give you some suggestions on how to visualize your graph, but the decision is ultimately up to you.
Once you know which chart or graph you want, follow the same steps for creating a table above, but go to “Charts” instead of “Tables.” You’ll be able to hover over each option to see how the visual will look, and you can select “More” for additional options and control over the final product.
4. Take Excel Training Courses
When it comes to learning just about anything, taking a training course or two can’t hurt. The more advanced you become, the less you’ll need to update spreadsheets manually, and the more time you’ll have to focus on your important tasks.
The right training courses can help you master everything from formulas and charts to pivot tables and conditional formatting. They can even help you further understand the data you’re putting into Excel and analyze it for better insights.
Recommended Courses: Your options will vary depending on which version of Excel you use. Check out a full list of available Excel training courses here.
5. Earn a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification
Once you’ve become an advanced Microsoft Excel user, a certification program will help you demonstrate to current and potential employers that you truly understand the software. And what could be better than getting certified by Microsoft itself?
The Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2019 certification will help you demonstrate that you can effortlessly complete tasks using your fundamental Excel skills. You will be able to create and edit workbooks with several sheets, visualize your data and apply the correct primary features of Excel.
Start Learning Excel Today With New Horizons
Are you ready to dive into Excel? Use these steps to jump in keyboard first, and acquire the skills you need to do everything from making your job more efficient to gaining a higher salary.
Check out New Horizons’ Microsoft Excel training courses today and start learning the entry-level to the advanced skills you need to advance your career.