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5 Things You Should Know Before You Start Your Excel journey.

1.It is much easier than it seems…really.

On first opening an Excel application, you might come across what looks like an intimidating grid and your fear is that any click or button press will mess up this well-organized layout of data, or maybe you are looking at a blank document without a clue where to start.

I have encountered a great number of new students who never did more than just look at the Excel logo and think “this is too hard”, but it is literally a table – no more intimidating than a paper page with grids that you can draw on with your pen, with the great exception that you can literally undo every move by using the CTRL+Z command.

Maybe we think this way because we find job posts asking for “Advanced Excel” or “Experienced Users”, but the reality is that Microsoft applications are designed to assist beginners with certain features like auto-save, auto-correct and undo. If you have ever tried to learn and failed, you did not fail to learn, but the learning process failed you.
Just give it another try with a different approach, and you will get there.

2.Style is a skill.

Some people show me their work saying, “I’m proficient with Excel”, and, more often than not, I would see more style than technique used in it.
We, as human beings, are used to valuing what we can see. It is not that their work was not good, but the pride normally lies much more in a well-formatted table or disposition of graphs rather than the correlation of numbers that indicate a tipping point in a sales strategy.

This is a valid approach – how you display your information will help in the comprehension of that information. Based on this, let’s say that a part of your “Excel proficiency” tool is “you”, the way you choose to organize your data or format your tables.

3.Don’t know how to do it? Google it.

There is a huge misconception that once someone is an expert in a particular subject, they have the answer for everything, it’s on the tip of their tongue or off the top of their head. Some people do actually work like that, but not all.

Once you know what Excel can do, how Formulas work, how Graphs are constructed, how Macros are built, you know the potential of the tool, but you don’t know everything, and it is okay not to know all.

One of the advantages of learning Excel is the huge community of users. If you want to build a velocimeter graph with Excel, you can Google it and find 20 search results of incredible imaginative ways to do this and then you can top these blogs up with your own ideas.

4. Be humble: reuse or copy! There is no shame in using a winning team.

We live in a time when sharing is easy, but more than easy, it is beneficial.
If we have a spreadsheet that works for us and that can do wonders for our day-to-day routine, why not share it?
People can improve on this or get ideas for another one of their daily tasks.

That being said, we can gain a lot from acknowledging other peoples’ work and incorporating their beats that are good for our repertoire.

5.It is hard to know everything, but it is easy to know a lot.

Being a giant technical encyclopedia is not only hard but almost impossible. Excel itself and the world around us are changing by the second. Releases are being scheduled as you read this text and what people need from the tool is ever evolving, trying to catch up with these changes it is going to be a mad race!

Another way to look at this is to forget about the goal of knowing all and instead focus on the journey. Focus on having enough knowledge to do a bunch of things and that those things can evolve into bigger/complicated or smaller/simple strategies for your personal and professional life.

We just need to know enough and knowing enough will make us aware of what we need to know next, then we can take steps that are more precise to end up with the result we need.

Wune Li – Lecturer in Excel Advanced

If you are on this journey and you want to; (1) See how easy Excel can be, (2) Develop some style and skills, (3) Learn enough to search for more, (4) See real life examples that you can apply to your work and (5) Know enough to take the next step in your personal and professional development, there are many options available here from online to on-demand classes.

Click here to view course