Chances are, that word alone stirs visions of lengthy spreadsheets and budgets with complicated formulas and charts.
It is true—Excel has become the standard in offices for pretty much anything that requires management of large amounts of data.
But, if you think Excel is only good for making you cross-eyed while looking at a bunch of numbers and financial reports, think again. There are tons of uses for Excel in business and at home.
The problem is that when people are asked to find a use for it outside of business or number crunching, most people are stumped.
I teach an Excel class at a community college and I get students who say they hope they don’t forget what they have learned.
Maybe you learned a little bit of Excel at work and you want to get better at it, but you can’t think of a reason to use Excel.
One thing I usually recommend is create a personal budget. But using Excel, doesn’t always have to involve numbers. When you have data, any data, use Excel to store it. One of Excel’s simplest yet most fundamental abilities is organizing data.
You can create:
- Grocery lists
- Budget plans
- Expense tracking
- Vacation schedule
- Trip planner
- Tracking birthdays and anniversaries
You don’t have to have a lot of data to use Excel.
Of course, there are plenty of fancy apps and tools out there to help you do a lot of what I just mentioned. But, if you want to become really good with Excel, then you need to use Excel.
A passion of mine is cycling. I ride almost year-round. I have a few different bikes and I have to keep them maintained. What does that have to do with Excel?
I keep a very simply log of my bicycle maintenance. I track the date, which bike, what the maintenance was or the purchase made, cost and who performed the maintenance.
Really the purpose of this spreadsheet is so I can remember what I did with what bike. Because I am tracking this information in Excel there are some basic tasks I can do with this data, such as
- Sort and Filter
- Using the SUM function to see what my total expenses have been
- Rename a worksheet
- Add borders and fill colors
- Use the Sumif and Countif functions
- Create charts