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How you can learn Excel quickly

  • Published on July 14, 2022

You can learn Excel quickly through classes, tutorials, blogs, books, and other resources. If you have a job or project that requires you to learn Excel quickly, there are several options which are discussed here.

The authors of this article have written Excel books, teach Excel classes, and provide tutoring on Excel. We use our expertise in helping people learn Excel to provide guidance for you in this article.

How long does it take to learn Excel 

The time required to learn Excel depends upon the depth of skills that are needed. Learning the basics of Excel is a relatively easy task and can occur in a single day if you have the ability to dedicate a full day to learning the application. If you want to master more than the basic functions of Excel and learn about cleaning, analyzing, and visualizing large sets of data you may need three days to a full week of time to learn these skills.

You can learn Excel in a day

It is possible to learn Excel in a single day. If you dedicate a full day to learning Excel you will be able to gain a firm understanding of the basic functionality of how to work with spreadsheets and perform basic tasks. Be prepared to focus exclusively on learning from morning to night if you want to learn the basics of Excel in just a single day.  One of the best ways to learn Excel quickly is with a live instructor in an Excel course, such as those offered at AGI. We have found that the best way to learn Excel in a single day is with an Excel course or workshop.

What Excel skills you should learn first

If you are starting to learn Excel, you should start with essential skills, including:

  • Creating and organizing multiple worksheets

  • Navigating the workspace layout and utilizing options within the toolbar

  • Adjusting worksheets for an intended use (ex. budget, expense report, balance sheet, database, etc.)

  • Editing column text and titles

  • Entering and/or importing data

  • Using basic functions and creating new formulas

  • Sorting and filtering data

You can learn Excel on your own

You can learn Excel on your own. This is a good option if you do not have the budget or a full day to dedicate to a course. One of the best ways to learn the essentials is by importing sample data into Excel and experimenting. If you aren’t sure where to begin, try downloading publicly available datasets that have been shared by government entities. Make sure the file is small enough to work with. Some datasets contain thousands of rows and may be overwhelming when trying to learn the basics.

Is learning Excel worth it

Excel is worth learning because it can help you both personally and professionally. Learning Excel is a great way to make a career change since the application is used across many industries, including commerce, tech, and finance. You can also learn how to use Excel in order to take on new responsibilities and lobby their superior for a raise. Regardless of why you might need to learn Excel, you will find it is a versatile tool that makes it easier to collect, organize, and interpret data. .

Excel also has practical uses for everyday life. You can use Excel to create budgets, keep track of finances, create charts and graphics, and perform basic mathematical computations.

Why is Excel difficult

Working with spreadsheets and data can seem extremely complex for users with no prior experience, and can make users feel out of their depth. Even tech-savvy professionals can find Excel difficult because it has its own programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is used to create macros, or pre-saved automations that run an action or a set of actions. Macros are created by and for users who complete lots of repetitive tasks in order to better optimize their workflow and efficiency.

Another reason Excel can seem difficult is because features like conditional formatting, pivot tables, and data visualization take some time to understand and master. One way to master Excel skills is by practicing on your own with sample data, or by enrolling in an Excel class that aligns with your skill levels. Introductory, intermediate, and advanced Excel courses are offered. It takes time and effort to learn Excel, and a class with a live instructor can help make the learning process go more quickly.

Learning different Excel skills

Many tools in Excel may need to be used or applied in different ways depending on the project. For example, an employee might create a colorful bar chart for a presentation on a positive topic, such as rising profit margins or customer satisfaction. However, this same chart format would seem inappropriate for a presentation on layoffs or workplace harassment. Learning Excel requires a solid understanding of how to utilize the same sets of tools for different projects and purposes.

The fastest way to become an expert in Excel

While you can learn how to use Excel by experimenting in the application, you can also expedite the process using online classes and free excel tutorials. These methods provide step-by-step instruction and allow users to move at their own pace, in addition to tailored instruction. A mom who wants to create a monthly finance tracker in Excel might search for a relevant YouTube tutorial. An employee looking for a class that is tailored to their field of work may benefit from an online course.

Since being released by Microsoft in 1985, Excel has become the most widely used spreadsheet application because of its impressive calculation and computational capabilities. With the right guidance, dedication, and a good teacher, you can learn Excel quickly so that you are able to create and work with data for analysis, charting, and graphing..

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.