Today’s tip is the 50th and final Excel Tip I will be writing for OwenBloggers. I’ve really enjoyed writing these tips over the past year and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. Hopefully some of you have learned a few things.
People have asked me before how I became good at Excel, so for this final post I wanted to give some practical advice on how to improve your Excel skills.
Use Excel – This sounds so obvious, but you can’t get good at Excel unless you are using it frequently. This is why almost every single Excel tip I wrote has an example spreadsheet for you, the reader, to get hands-on experience. But you should go beyond that. Use Excel for random stuff like making a grocery list or tracking your workouts. You might end up discovering something in Excel you didn’t know was there or get inspired to learn something new just to see if it will work.
Be Fearless – Ctrl + Z or CMD + Z is your best friend. (Those are the shortcuts for Undo). I have learned so much in Excel by just trying stuff. If it doesn’t work, then I just undo it and try something else. In worst case scenarios if you mess something up you can just close the file and not save the changes. What I’m trying to get across is that there is very little you can permanently ruin when you work in Excel, so don’t be afraid to try something you don’t fully understand.
Work with Others – Everyone uses Excel a little differently and so by watching what other people do when they use Excel you can learn all sorts of new tricks or capabilities you didn’t know where there. Some of my favorite shortcuts I learned by watching someone else run a spreadsheet we were working on together.
Commit to being good – When I started my first job as a financial analyst after undergrad I realized that a very large part of my job required Excel. Once I realized this, I committed to becoming an Excel expert. After about a year at that job I had more or less achieved that goal, and it all started by committing to the goal and sticking to it.
This may be the final Excel Tip that I write, but my 50 articles don’t really come close to covering everything you can do in Excel. There are a number of great resources out there to further improve your skills. In fact, at Owen we have “Intro to Spreadsheets” and “Advanced Spreadsheets” as class offerings. My point is that there is a plethora of ways for you to learn more about Excel and it is always to your benefit to increase your Excel skills.