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The best way to learn Excel

The best way to learn Excel

Don’t you find that whenever you have any calculations or tabular work to do, people ask, “Why don’t you use Microsoft Excel for this?” The problem being that most of us have discovered a way of using Microsoft Word and know how to get our work done using Word. Microsoft Excel is quite another beast altogether—it looks entirely different from Word.

March 31, 2020

Don’t you find that whenever you have any calculations or tabular work to do, people ask, “Why don’t you use Microsoft Excel for this?” The problem being that most of us have discovered a way of using Microsoft Word and know how to get our work done using Word. Microsoft Excel is quite another beast altogether—it looks entirely different from Word. Try this Microsoft Excel course for beginners.

With this article, I hope to help you get started with some basic Excel functionality. We’ll start with a brief introduction to Excel and then we can start to learn more about the software.

The Excel Application Window

To start, let’s get familiar with Excel. When you start Excel, you are presented with the Excel application window (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Excel Application Window

Excel Sheet

most of the space on the screen is taken up by what Excel call the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is where you can record all your data, and perform calculations. It consists of horizontal rows (numbered 1 to 65536) and 256 vertical columns (A to IV,

i.e., A–Z, AA–AZ, BA–BZ, and so on right up to IV). The intersection of a row and a column is called a cell, and this where you enter your data.

The cell with the darker boarder is known as the active cell or the current cell pointer. When you type anything, it appears in the active cell. So, to type data in any cell, say cell C5, you need to first move the current cell pointer to the cell in question (cell C5 in our example) to make it the active cell and then type the data. You can either use the arrow keys to move the cell pointer or you can directly click on the cell where you wish to enter data.

Just like in Word, you have the ribbon at the top of the screen. The ribbon consists of tabs that contain the various commands you can use in Excel. Related commands are grouped together to make it easier and more accessible for you to find and to use.

When going through the different tabs, you’ll see that there are a great number of commands—many of these commands are quite different to Word’s (since Excel has a different set of features from Word). So, where exactly should someone new to Excel start?

Best Way to Learn Excel

Now let’s look at the different ways you can start learning Excel.

Using Excel’s Built-in Help

In the older versions of Excel, there used to be a Help menu, which you could use to learn the program. However, in the newer versions of the software, you will find the help command in the File tab. There are two options you can use:

To learn the basics, click on the “Getting Started” button. This will take you to Microsoft’s Getting Started web page where you can learn the basics of the various MS Office applications. Alternatively, you can click on the Microsoft Office Help button, which will open the main Excel Help window where you can find a list of topics. Clicking on any of the topics will give you detailed information on that topic.

Learning Excel from Books

One of the common problem many people face while trying to learn from the built-in help is they have to keep switching between the Excel window and the Help window, which can get quite confusing for beginners.

Another option is to invest in some Excel books. There are lots of beginner level books which will teach you the basics of using Excel. However, not everyone can

learn from books. In fact, the visual aspect is very important when it comes to learning; most people find it easier to recall what they have seen than what they have read.

Learning Excel from Online Training Sites

One of the most popular options for learning Excel—or any other program, for that matter is online training. There are many websites that offer online training, where you can actually see the software or commands in action. Many of them even have instructors or coaches explaining the concepts to you, which make it very similar to attending lecture. Of course, the advantage over regular training institutes is, in the case of online training sites, you are at liberty to take the course (view the videos) whenever you want, as per your convenience. Another advantage with online training is that today, not only can you study whenever you want but wherever you want and on any device.

The Best Way to Learn Excel

You have many options to learn a program like Excel—you can use Excel’s built-in help, or you can learn from books, alternatively you can register for an online course ay My Training Academy.

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