Whether you are needing to brush up on spreadsheeting skills or learn a spreadsheet application from basics to advanced, you have many options.
If you knew Lotus or another program years ago, don’t panic if you are now needing to learn Microsoft Excel or Google sheets. They are very similar, and in many respects the programs have been made easier over the years. Gone are the days of having to write a macro just to print!
Knowing your learning style is your first challenge. Determine how much time you have to invest, and what you want as your end result. Often a “nice to know” course could chart a path for a skill that will enable you, or is a requirement, to promote from your current work position.
I have sat with a friend on a Saturday afternoon and walked through enough basics and neat-to-know steps in Excel to enable them to skip a formal training course. Don’t be shy in asking someone that has a good to great grasp of Excel, to share information. Chances are someone taught them in much the same way at some point! Although there are some people that do not care to teach or feel uncomfortable teaching a friend, others are more than happy to share (and show off) some expertise.
If you decide to go it alone, there are a myriad of tutorials, self-study courses, and free or free trial options available. Ask friends for recommendations or check out critiques online. Networking sites often offer Microsoft Excel training courses, including LinkedIn. I prefer tutorials for myself, and then practice, practice, practice. Find one or two friends that you can troubleshoot a spreadsheet for you as well. Learning is a process and even after a few lessons you will inevitably get a spreadsheet that needs an experienced user. It can also be a challenge when you inherit a spreadsheet with issues and the original creator is not around or doesn’t understand how to remedy the problem.
What is Excel, really?
Think of a sheet of paper that has rows and columns. You are now going to organize your information in these rows and columns. Throw in tables and charts. Math isn’t your strength? No worries, we can build in formulas to do the calculating for you. You will need some basic idea of how math problems are structured but you need not be a statistician or other math whiz.
Now your “sheet of paper” can be a huge poster or similar to a book, with many pages. A great course will show you how to do the steps and then have you practice. In my classes I would have students create imaginary budgets for trips to fun places, menus and grocery lists or charts of fun statistics. Anything to practice with numbers that should be familiar to you. You should always be able to recognize when numbers just don’t add up or make reasonable sense. Never blame the computer for a programming error in your spreadsheets!
Google sheets are very similar and if you learn one program you can definitely learn the other. As a Lotus to Excel program user, Google sheets are very simplistic with Excel the Cadillac standard. However, there are many times that Google is more accessible in some circumstances and easy to teach to someone with minimal experience, if the need arises.
Options to consider and search for online:
Let’s take a closer look at some of the online Microsoft Excel training courses available to you. Remember, you can also find tutorials on YouTube, Google, or various Microsoft Excel training sites.
Consider whether you want to pursue in-person or online study. Decide whether you will pursue a certificate or non-certificate course, and remember that your decision will depends on what you’re looking to gain from the course, your level, and whether you need training as a work requirement
- Free videos from Basics through Tables and more
- Certificate programs available including Expert level training
- Unlimited access
- On your own schedule
- One-month free trial
- Courses available starting as low as $11.99
- Offers specials throughout the year
- Tutorials from basic to advanced
- Includes free quizzes to measure your learning
- Mostly products for purchase
- Blogs with tips and Questions & Answers for free
- Offers free webinars as well
- One-on-one computer skills tutors
- Various rates to fit your budget
- Schedule on your own time
And of course, there are more options out there
It’s always smart to check your local colleges and community organizations for additional resources to fit your needs.
Local community college or university
- Scholarships or in-state tuition options may be available
Local libraries or community organizations
- Many offer free or low-cost courses