Excel — The essential skills for the regular user

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Excel — The Essentials

I am puz­zled by peo­ple who have been star­ing at spread­sheets for years with­out mas­ter­ing Excel. That’s why in a long series of posts I will out­line the essen­tial Excel skills that I con­sid­er users should have. The tech­niques are the bare min­i­mum. You need them for every­day use but they leave plen­ty of room for you to build upon.

What is covered?

Inten­tion­al­ly I will focus on “old-school” approach­es and for­mu­las. This means that I will try to avoid the recent devel­op­ments in Excel that are like­ly to be avail­able in Office 365 only or might have not been rolled out to all users yet. For exam­ple, even though nowa­days I use almost exclu­sive­ly the =XLOOKUP() for­mu­la, I would not list it. Cou­ple of rea­sons why:

  • Under­stand­ing the “old” for­mu­las like =VLOOKUP() and =HLOOKUP() is a good foun­da­tion and will make tran­si­tion­ing to any­thing more sophis­ti­cat­ed less challenging;
  • It is much more like­ly for you to encounter a long-stand­ing for­mu­la. Giv­en the rate at which peo­ple (do not) acquire new Excel skills, I bet this will be the case for years to come.

Fur­ther, I will not cov­er tech­niques that have exist­ed for some time but have not gained wide pop­u­lar­i­ty (eg. VBA & Pow­er Query). This does­n’t mean I don’t con­sid­er them valu­able — they have many users that put them to good use. How­ev­er, I don’t con­sid­er such approach­es part of the Excel essentials.

Posts (in order of appearance)

The Inter­face And Its Customization

Series Nav­i­ga­tionExcel essen­tials — The Inter­face And Its Customization »