How to learn Microsoft Excel

Someone searched Google for the phrase how to learn Microsoft Excel so I thought I would write a few paragraphs on this difficult topic.

Use your strengths to learn Microsoft Excel

When learning Excel, do not be negative in your approach.

If you walk into an Excel class quietly telling yourself…

I hate math.  Learning Excel will be hard because of the math.

…then learning Excel will be difficult, painful, unrewarding.

I have taught at least 2500 people how to use Excel in the classroom.  I have taught everyone from janitors (yes janitors need Excel) to nurses/doctors/staff to chief executives.  And the people I taught were strong at math, software, and management.

If you are good with math, Excel can be learned easily.

This isn’t a newsflash.  Ultimately, Excel is about using formulas to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

But more importantly, Excel has over 100 functions that are incredible formula tools.  What’s an example of a function?  =pmt is just one function and its used to calculate a mortgage.  Functions are incredibly powerful because they go beyond the limitations of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

If you are good with software, Excel can be your friend.

Perhaps you aren’t a math whiz but you are good with software.  You learned Microsoft Word or PowerPoint on your own.  Perhaps you taught yourself how to do stock research on your own or to blog with WordPress.

If you are good with software, with finding software features that others cannot find, Excel can be your friend.  If you’re good with software than you are already good with using help features in learning that software.

Even if you aren’t good with math you can use your software strengths to learn Excel.  Be strong whenever you learn a new skill, especially Excel.

Managers as Excel Learners

I saved this as a special section.  I’ve taught many mangers how to use Excel.  Here’s my advice.

You’re a good manager.  How does a good manager supervise a task that he or she doesn’t know well?  He delegates the task to a capable person and upgrades his knowledge of the task.

Make sense?  Let’s make this practical.

You are responsible for a budget process but don’t know budgeting.

  1. Find a budget mentor who you can trust and get advice.
  2. Find someone strong with Excel in your department who you can trust to work on the details of your budget process.
  3. Quietly, without drawing attention to your budget or Excel weaknesses, learn Excel and the budgeting process.  Take some classes, preferably outside your work environment.  Or get private Excel tutoring (from me of course).

If you are a manager, use your strengths (ability to delegate, managing your employees, ability to learn new things) to learn Excel as its used in your business.

Where’s my specific advice on learning Microsoft Excel?

Honestly?  My best advice is here.

  1. Teach yourself some simple formulas with Excel.
  2. Purchase The World’s Shortest Excel Book from me.  TWSEB 2003 is here for sale.  My TWSEB 2010 will be on sale beginning November 2011.
  3. If you need more help, I can train you remotely over the Internet.

Always learn from strength, never learn from weakness.  Identify your personal strengths and begin learning Microsoft Excel better today.


Leave a Reply