Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular computer programs. It has a long and successful history of helping users compile and analyze data. In fact, it has been praised ever since the creation of the first version of the Microsoft Excel program in 1985. Although, the real increase in Excel popularity occurred several years later when computers became more commonplace in homes and offices. Today, Microsoft Excel has more features than every before, which makes it beneficial but also confusing for many users.
If you need to use Excel for business purposes, it is vital for you to get to know as many aspects of how the program works as possible. There are multiple online Excel training courses available to assist you. Some are free tutorials. Others provide official Excel certification for a fee. Learning about Excel, its benefits, and available training options can help you maximize your skills and improve your career.
What is Microsoft Excel and What Can It Do?
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program created by Microsoft to allow users to compile, organize, sort, and store data. Excel most commonly functions as a tool used for financial data organization, payroll organization, and tax or accounting purposes. However, it is possible to use the program to organize any type of data, such as:
Employee Time Card Information
Maintenance or Other Task Management and Assessment Information
Various Types of Charts and Graphs
Excel provides a spreadsheet in which a user can input the data of choice. The program also provides many different shortcuts and functions designed to make data processing and analysis easier. For example, it is possible to use an Excel function to quickly make numerical calculations using data contained within a spreadsheet. It also includes popular shortcuts to make analyzing spreadsheets easier, such as the freeze panes function to help the user see the titles of columns while scrolling down. Each function is designed to help the user save time and work in a more efficient manner.
Basic Benefits of Excel Skills
There are many basic benefits of Excel skills. Most of them involve time management. Improved efficiency reduces time and money spent unnecessarily by business owners. It also improves employee morale by eliminating the need for unnecessary tasks or duplicate work. Time-saving Excel functions and features include the ability to do each of the following with only a few button presses or mouse clicks:
Find and delete duplicate data.
Organize data multiple ways in seconds.
Perform complex calculations including multiple numbers instantly.
Print reports featuring data subsets of choice.
Produce charts and graphs based on stored data.
Track employee payroll and time card data.
Easily edit, remove, or add data cells as needed.
Mastering Microsoft Excel Use
Excel is a program that is easy to use. Most Excel basics are intuitive for users, and several program functions are similar to those used in other popular programs. For example, Excel has a “file” menu under which users can save files. However, Excel is also a program that is difficult to master. It features hundreds of functions and features that are less intuitive but extremely useful.
If you are a business owner, Excel basics are not enough. Knowing all the ins and outs of Excel allows you to keep up with other businesses, since Excel is one of the most widely used business software programs. It allows you to easily share data between partners or with other business owners, if necessary. Additionally, proper use of Excel can help you track data for tax purposes and provide that data to your accountant quickly each year. You can avoid the struggle of trying to find information for your accountant at the last minute. You can share your knowledge of Excel with your employees to improve company efficiency across the board as well.
One of the biggest benefits of mastering Microsoft Excel as a current employee or job seeker is doing so increases your value. Excel skills are in high demand currently. Demonstrable in-depth Excel knowledge can help you get hired for a new position or potentially qualify you for a pay raise or promotion within your current company. Such knowledge sets you apart from applicants or current employees who only have basic Excel skills.
Free Online Excel Training
If you are interested in Excel training but your budget is limited, free online Excel training is a good option. Most free training courses do not offer certificates. However, they do provide valuable skills you can use to slowly advance your career. Many free Excel training courses are video courses provided via websites like Skillshare. You can often take them at your own pace and pause or rewind the videos, as needed. Such courses typically cover beginner Excel skills, but some courses and tutorials provide advanced tips for mastering Excel.
Paid Online Excel Training for Certificates
If you have the funds, a paid Excel training course that offers a certificate of completion is definitely worthwhile. Completing such a course provides you with an official credential to add to your résumé. Even if you already have a stable position with a company, notifying your employer of your new certification reflects positively on you. It indicates your work ethic and desire to keep improving. Your employer may reward you for your diligence in various ways and may also offer to reimburse you for the cost of the course you took.
Not every course offering a certificate is the same. You must find a course in your budget, offering the type of training you desire, and from a source known for delivering top-notch training. On average, a certificate course costs approximately $150, but the cost varies based on source, topics covered, and other factors. Some top certificate course sources include:
Maintaining Your Excel Skills
Excel has has evolved many times and in multiple ways since 1985, and it continues to do so. Most recent additions to Excel functionality include cloud storage and mobile app options. Therefore, it is in your best interest to constantly continue learning new Excel skills. Stay up-to-date each time a new version is released, and continue learning online whenever possible. That way you can reap the benefits of Excel personally and professionally well into the future.