Think You Know How To Use Microsoft Excel? Think Again

Microsoft Excel is a crucial part of many job roles, particularly for those who work in accounting, book keeping and finance who require the programme for sorting data and making calculations. In these job roles, understanding how to accurately use the Excel formula is incredibly important, as inaccuracies can have serious consequences.

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet programme which, like Microsoft Word, has been developed for Windows Computers and Mac OS X. Users are able to use the programme to calculate, create graphs, tables and much more. Since the introduction of the fifth version of Excel in 1993, it has become extremely widely used in offices around the world.

Much like most spreadsheets, Excel contains a grid of cells which are organised into rows and columns. The data in these cells can be organised and calculated using a series of formulas which are intended for statistics can financial purposes. The programme can be used to separate data into sections and create graphs and charts to illustrate information on a visual level, ideal for reports and presentations.

Microsoft Excel originated back in 1982 when its predecessor, “Multiplan” was released. Although this programme was initially very popular, it eventually fell behind due to the release of Lotus. However, Excel was released for the Mac in 1985 and for Windows when version 2.05 was released in 1987. Before long, Excel had become the market leader.

Back in the early nineties, there was a little controversy surrounding Microsoft Excel and a trademark. There was already another company in the software industry selling a similar package also named “Excel”. Following the dispute, Microsoft were forced to only refer to their programme as “Microsoft Excel”. Over the years, these rules have been lifted and Microsoft’s version is now known as Excel, since Microsoft purchased their competitors trademark.

Those who have never used Microsoft Excel before may find that the programme itself is not very self-explanatory, unlike Microsoft Word. In order to fully understand how to make the most of your data and reporting, some form of training is necessary. For the past decade or two, Microsoft Excel has been used in school ICT lessons as pupils have been trained on how to use the programme. Many office workers may have found themselves using the programme in the workplace and learnt to use it to its full potential.

However, when it comes to Microsoft Excel, one would struggle to learn how to use the programme to the best of their ability without some form of training. Like Microsoft Word, new versions of Excel are released several times a decade when new versions of Microsoft Office are released. Many people find that with each new version, a little learning is required to understand the new features and functions. Training is usually available in the form of proficient or advanced training, depending on your abilities.

Many companies offer flexible Microsoft Excel training which allows students to learn in their own time, around their current commitments if that is more convenient. Other companies provide in house training with tutors in the office which may be the most convenient method for employers that need to train a number of staff simultaneously.

Olivia Lazenby is a careers adviser and blogger. She recommends people visit to build on their employability skills.