learning excel

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
1year23
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:31 am

learning excel

Post by 1year23 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:34 am

I would like to learn to use excel spreadsheets for simple projects. Can anyone recommend an online tutorial that is low cost or free?

123
Posts: 5200
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by 123 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:02 am

There are a lot of videos on Youtube.com that address Excel. One website that provides instruction on a number of software products is lynda.com While lynda.com is a paid site it is sometimes available for free online by signing on using your local library card, check your local library's website to see if it's available in your area. There are hundreds of books on excel, you local library probably has a shelf or two of them.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 8090
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:55 am

Excel is a general purpose tool that can be, and is, used for just about anything.* Databases, reports, finite element analysis, image processing*, ... . You can probably find a tutorial covering any of those uses. I'd suggest you start with a tutorial that deals with a domain you already understand so you can concentrate on Excel rather than unfamiliar subject matter.

* Including things no sane person would use it for.

Valuethinker
Posts: 39059
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: learning excel

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:07 am

1year23 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:34 am
I would like to learn to use excel spreadsheets for simple projects. Can anyone recommend an online tutorial that is low cost or free?
also check Khan Academy?

There's a sort of basic tutorials out there - how to input & edit formulas etc.

It is then possible to get infinitely complex. Excel is normally used in finance departments as a database and reporting tool, for example. The result is stretching the thing to and beyond its limits in those applications - but every accountant knows it, so that's what people use.

User avatar
teen persuasion
Posts: 965
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:43 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by teen persuasion » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:14 am

GCFLearnFree has online tutorials of all sorts, including excel.

Tamales
Posts: 1402
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:47 am

Re: learning excel

Post by Tamales » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:35 am

I second 123's recommendation of Lynda.com. Sure, there are free tutorials online about every topic under the sun, but the Lynda.com videos are consistently good quality and coherently presented, across a range of topics. Free online tutorials are generally hit or miss, in terms of their quality. I don't recall ever going through Lynda.com training and thinking, that was a waste of time.

We had a corporate subscription for a while and I loaded up on Lynda's Excel content, among other things. But unfortunately not enough people tried it, and they made the access process too cumbersome, so it was dropped. If your Excel interest is at all work-related, you might check if your employer would pay for a subscription. Even a single-user subscription is quite inexpensive considering the range of content you can access and the return on investment your employer receives.

Also a lot of resources (some free, some pay) listed here:
https://www.excelcampus.com/getting-started/

PS, many of the topics discussed here on BH are a great way to put your Excel learnings into practice and learn new techniques. There are many advanced Excel users on this forum.

stan1
Posts: 7715
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by stan1 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:43 am

The books are good, but I'd also choose a project you want to work on such as a budget or calculating how much you need to retire. If you start taking inflation, taxes, variable rates of return, etc. into account you'll soon be looking up how to do new things in Excel. Like any other tool part of Excel is the science of knowing what it is capable of and the art of knowing how to apply it to solve a problem.

rich126
Posts: 941
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by rich126 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:54 am

It might help to know what kind of things you want to use it for. Anyone should be able to open a spreadsheet and start adding data in columns. And then inserting a summation to total up the values in a column.

More advanced would be the numerous types of charts you can create (select two columns and select a chart). I do a lot of stuff that involves referencing data from one worksheet to another (vlookup function) but I don't think it is anything that complicated.

The most confusing thing is when you do something wrong without realizing it and get errors that take a while to trace down. Data can get formatted incorrectly and on my old versions of Excel it is hard to fix.

"Excel is a general purpose tool that can be, and is, used for just about anything."
Yeah, I had a manager who claimed he could do anything in Excel. I wanted to point out to him that just because you can doesn't mean you should. People often get comfortable with certain tools and use them for purposes they aren't intended and make life difficult for others.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 5351
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: learning excel

Post by Kenkat » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:53 am

123 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:02 am
There are a lot of videos on Youtube.com that address Excel. One website that provides instruction on a number of software products is lynda.com While lynda.com is a paid site it is sometimes available for free online by signing on using your local library card, check your local library's website to see if it's available in your area. There are hundreds of books on excel, you local library probably has a shelf or two of them.
Oh, the irony of a user with username “123” responding to a post about Excel. Now where’s that slash key again? Is it slash, file (F), open (O)?

NextMil
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by NextMil » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:04 am

1year23 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:34 am
I would like to learn to use excel spreadsheets for simple projects. Can anyone recommend an online tutorial that is low cost or free?
The built in help function + google is pretty good to find things if you know the very basics. I have taught myself quite a bit that way.

BogleMelon
Posts: 2157
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:49 am

Re: learning excel

Post by BogleMelon » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:29 am

If you prefer a 1 on 1 tutoring, you may consider wyzant.com
I used it before for excel tutoring, but was on the tutor side. I quit because the rate was so cheap for me after the company cut.
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

User avatar
husky1055
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:50 am
Location: Connecticut

Re: learning excel

Post by husky1055 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:52 am

Microsoft has some GREAT books for learning Excel, Word, Access etc...for beginners.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18984
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: learning excel

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:05 pm

Some types of instructions lend themselves well to video tutorials, others are better learned from books. In my opinion, learning Excel belongs to the latter category. A book enables you to search for solutions to your specific questions and to easily go back to the topics you have covered and want to refresh.

I recommend starting with Amazon's recommendations for Excel primer books.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

User avatar
hdas
Posts: 1270
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:24 am

Re: learning excel

Post by hdas » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:11 pm

Just start your projects and playing with it. Then if you get stuck, look for the answers online.
If you get deep perhaps you want to learn Visual Basic-Excel, but at that point I recommend you to learn to use Pandas library in the Python language. It's absolutely amazing. It has a vibrant community maintaining it. It's free of course. The founder is a guy that works in Two Sigma and former AQR researcher. This library is specifically useful to work with time series financial data. H
"whenever there is a randomized way of doing something, then there is a nonrandomized way that delivers better performance but requires more thought" ET Jaynes

Dottie57
Posts: 7140
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: learning excel

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:16 pm

1year23 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:34 am
I would like to learn to use excel spreadsheets for simple projects. Can anyone recommend an online tutorial that is low cost or free?
Udemy.com. Has good courses on excel. Wait for sales to purchase. My cost was 9.99.

User avatar
DartThrower
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: learning excel

Post by DartThrower » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:16 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:53 am
123 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:02 am
There are a lot of videos on Youtube.com that address Excel. One website that provides instruction on a number of software products is lynda.com While lynda.com is a paid site it is sometimes available for free online by signing on using your local library card, check your local library's website to see if it's available in your area. There are hundreds of books on excel, you local library probably has a shelf or two of them.
Oh, the irony of a user with username “123” responding to a post about Excel. Now where’s that slash key again? Is it slash, file (F), open (O)?
Thanks for the chuckle Kenkat. You have an eagle eye!

I have had to learn Excel (as well as R) over the past year since my organization discontinued SAS. I did have prior experience with spreadsheets, mostly using the aforementioned 123.

Once you have learned the basics, my vote is for using the Help facility combined with Google searches as mentioned by another poster. That is how I learned. By the way, using this method often leads me to a site called stackoverflow.com. You can find lots of great information there from computer experts of all kinds. If you want to just stay focused on Excel you can do that too. I would recommend creating a user ID there. Chances are that if you have some beginner level Excel question it's already been answered so learn to look things up using keywords. As you get more advanced you can ask more advanced questions and you will likely get some very useful answers.
A Boglehead can stay the course longer than the market can stay irrational.

mancich
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by mancich » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:39 pm

I recommend ExcelisFun on YouTube. The teacher, Mike Girvin, has videos going back 8 or 9 years with topics from all the basics up to advanced tools. Very clear teaching style, and great for advanced users too, with topics like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power BI.

GrowthSeeker
Posts: 712
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 10:14 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by GrowthSeeker » Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:39 pm

My advice is to start a small project. At some point you will hit a wall: you want to do something but don’t know how. Then google that. Put your energy into searching like a bulldog until you learn that one thing.
A year later you’ll be almost a guru.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

Pigeye Brewster
Posts: 395
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:05 pm

DartThrower wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:16 pm
Once you have learned the basics, my vote is for using the Help facility combined with Google searches as mentioned by another poster. That is how I learned. By the way, using this method often leads me to a site called stackoverflow.com. You can find lots of great information there from computer experts of all kinds. If you want to just stay focused on Excel you can do that too. I would recommend creating a user ID there. Chances are that if you have some beginner level Excel question it's already been answered so learn to look things up using keywords. As you get more advanced you can ask more advanced questions and you will likely get some very useful answers.
In addition to Google searches and stackoverflow.com, a couple of other good online resources are:
https://chandoo.org/wp/
https://www.mrexcel.com/forum/forum.php

User avatar
Snert
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by Snert » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:36 pm

mancich wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:39 pm
I recommend ExcelisFun on YouTube. The teacher, Mike Girvin, has videos going back 8 or 9 years with topics from all the basics up to advanced tools. Very clear teaching style, and great for advanced users too, with topics like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power BI.
+1!
Don't listen to me, I'm just a dog!

User avatar
fortfun
Posts: 2454
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by fortfun » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:38 pm


averagedude
Posts: 766
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: learning excel

Post by averagedude » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:55 pm

I had a manager that was a whiz on excel and used it several hours a day for his job. He told me he knew nothing about it, but learned it by getting the book "excel for dummies" and invested a good amount of time with this book. Like everything in life, if you have average intelligence you are going to have to invest some time to learn something new.

Post Reply