9 Ways to improve your Microsoft Excel Skills

9 Ways to improve your Microsoft Excel Skills

Eshna Verma

Last updated August 8, 2017


Most people have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Excel. While some love its features and use it on a regular basis, others prefer to use something else or simply not use a reporting tool at all. Speaking bluntly, we all know the power Excel can wield, especially if used properly. If you are looking for a guide on how to improve your Microsoft Excel skills, you have landed on the right page. Read on to discover more about this subject.

What is Microsoft Excel?

Excel is one of the best applications available on the market for creating dashboard reports, storing data and administering data. This software first appeared on the scene back in 1987, and since then it has grown to become one of the most potent spreadsheet and reports managing software.

This program has several practical uses just waiting to be discovered. Whether you are a complete beginner or you have some skills and you consider yourself an advanced user, Microsoft Excel is a tool to be mastered. In order to make the most out of this powerful software and learn to use it like a pro, you need to improve your Excel skills. Here are 9 unique tips that can greatly help you take advantage of all of Excel’s features.

1. Master the Shortcuts

First of all, it is paramount to learn how to use shortcuts in order to save precious time. Even though most computer and Internet users today cannot imagine navigating online without a mouse or at least a touchpad, you can save a great deal of time by using only the keyboard. For instance, you can easily use Ctrl C and Ctrl V for copy and paste. Some other useful shortcuts that could come in handy anytime are Ctrl Z for undo, Ctrl PgUp to switch between worksheet tabs, Ctrl A for selecting the entire worksheet, Ctrl F to find items and Ctrl K to insert hyperlinks. Here is a complete list with all the shortcuts you need to improve your Microsoft Skills.

2. Import Data from a Website

Learning how to import data is also very important and can greatly speed up your workflow. If you come across a website with tons of data that is extremely useful for one of your projects, do not hesitate to convert it into a worksheet. Simply click File > Import External Data and click New Web Query. When you click this tab, a new window opens that displays your browser homepage with the URL of the page highlighted. Choose the webpage you want to display and copy – paste the link into the Address box. Click ok and voilà – your data is imported into an Excel worksheet.

3. Filter your Results

If you have a large spreadsheet with a lot of information on it, using the Auto filtering feature is the smartest thing you can do. To do that, click Data > Filter > Autofilter. You can then click one of the small boxes and filter the results according to your own needs.

4. Calculate the Sum

Using shortcuts to calculate the sum of an entire column can save you a great deal of time, especially if you use Excel regularly. Instead of manually entering the formula, simply use the shortcut “Alt” + “=” after you have selected the first empty cell in the column (the one located at the end of the numbers). After you hit this command, press Tab and Excel will be more than glad to show you the result.

Microsoft Excel Skills

5. Create Call Logs

Because Excel’s main benefit is the ability to organize data, you need to learn how to create Call Logs. To do that, click the File tab, then open a new template and enter “Call log” in the “search for online templates” tab. In order to preview the template description, you should click on the “Sales call log & organizer” thumbnail. Lastly, download the template and customize it to cater to your needs.

6. AutoCorrect & AutoFill

In order to save even more time when working in Excel, you need to learn how to type less. There are two ways to do this: AutoFill and AutoCorrect. AutoCorrect is a feature that automatically corrects misspelled words and typos. To enable AutoCorrect, click the tools tab and tick autocorrect. For Microsoft Excel 2007, you should go to the Proofing tab.

AutoFill saves you precious time, especially when you are trying to type in a numbered list manually. To activate it, go to the Edit menu, point to Fill and click Series.

7. Display Formulas

With just a single keystroke, you can toggle between Excel’s standard normal display and the display mode, which shows you how the formulas actually appear in the system. The formula is “Ctrl” + “~”. Press it once when you are in a spreadsheet and Excel will display formulas instead of the results of these formulas.

8. Use PivotTable Tool

One of the most important skills you have to master in Excel if you want to save yourself a tremendous amount of time is a powerful tool called “PivotTable”. Simply go to the Insert Tab and the first item should be PivotTable. Select the table and this feature enables you to use your table in a whole new sheet where you can manipulate data in various ways. PivotTable automatically do the work for you, instead of you manually re-formatting and saving data.

9. Manage Page Layout

Lastly, one imperative Microsoft Excel skill everyone should master is managing page layout. For Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, you can easily do that by clicking on the Page Layout tab. Understanding how to set up your page gives you complete flexibility to transform a document so that it is easy to scan. The Page Number, Columns and Page Borders are three important features you can play with.

The Bottom Line

If you want to make your life easier and impress everyone in your office, all you have to do is to learn these MS Excel skills. In the end, you need to remember that regardless of your level of expertise, there is always something new you can learn about this powerful reporting tool. Whatever you do, try to better yourself when it comes to using Excel. This software will not only help you keep track of your own finances, but might lead to a great job opportunity someday.

Watch this video on Macros in Excel Tutorial 

About the Author

Eshna is a writer at Simplilearn. She has done Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT and The Telegraph. She loves traveling and photography.


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