Excel is like math. That is, Excel is like a participation sport. You have to do it to learn it.
Online courses and MOOCs on the subject help you do just that. Most will take the time to show you how to solve problems with Excel. They'll also give you ample opportunity to practice what you learn. By the time you're done with these courses, you'll be a competent Excel power user.
Why bother learning Excel?
Excel is a powerful tool that will make you more productive.
In the business world, knowing how to navigate and craft spreadsheets in Excel is as essential as reading and writing. Elsewhere, it's a powerful tool to stay organized, analyze data, and visualize information. You'll even find uses for it at home to organize finances, track fitness activity, and even solve Sudoku puzzles.
Excel is also everywhere. You'll find it in any organization installed on most workstations. Microsoft, Excel's developer, proudly boasted of Excel's 1.2 billion users in 2016. It's likely one of your neighbors use it too.
Building a foundation
The courses below help you build a solid understanding of Excel. Completing any one of these will give you a good sense of how to read, organize, and create your own spreadsheets. You'll also learn basic functions and tools that will help you get the job done in Excel.
- Beginning Data Analysis from Treehouse
- Excel 2016 Essential Training from Lynda
- Excel Skills for Business: Essentials from Macquarie University
Strengthening your grasp
Once you've built your foundation, check out these courses to extend your knowledge. These courses dive deep into specific functions and features. Although anyone can benefit from them, analysts, financial professionals, and data scientists should know these. If Excel is something you use on a regular basis, you should definitely take these courses.
Not only will these skills make you more productive, but they'll make you more competitive. Employers who desire Excel skills will often expect candidates to know tools within it like Pivot Tables or data tools like Solver. Taking these courses will help you develop those concrete skills that make you industry-ready.
- Introduction to Data Analysis using Excel from Microsoft
- Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel from Rice University
- Intermediate Excel from Treehouse
- Master Excel 2016 from Lynda
- Improve Your Microsoft Excel Skills from Lynda
- Master Advanced Excel Data & Analytics Skills from Lynda
- Excel 2016: Pivot Tables in Depth from Lynda
- Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I from Macquarie University
- Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate II from Macquarie University
- Excel Skills for Business: Advanced from Macquarie University
- Mastering Data Analysis in Excel from Duke University*
*The Duke University course focuses heavily on data analysis using core functions and features and does not cover VBA or Pivot Tables.
Extending your knowledge even further
The courses we've listed here get you a long way towards becoming an Excel power user. Once you've gotten comfortable, try learning how to navigate Excel with shortcut keys, which make you faster. Bring Excel into your work and see how it can make you more productive. When you're up for a challenge, look at features like macros or programming Excel with VBA.