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Excel Online Training

ProssPross Posts: 24,268
edited October 2019 in The cake stop
I'm sure there are a few of you that use Excel to quite a high level so hope someone can help here. My wife has been shortlisted for a job that would be a massive promotion for her (mainly as she has stayed loyal to a company for nearly 20 years that undervalues her qualifications and experience). She has all the relevant managerial qualifications for the job, the necessary sector experience and ticks pretty much all the essential and desireable skills in the job description / person specification as is evident by her getting short-listed. However, they also want some proficient in Word, Powerpoint and Excel. The first two she currently uses and is fairly confident / proficient using but she has very limited experience of Excel and the interview includes a few assessments and workshops that she thinks might include using Excel.

Does anyone know of any good, easy to follow and free online YouTube or similar training in using Excel? She has about 3 weeks to try to improve her skills. The biggest issue is that we're not exactly sure how Excel will be used (the role is more about responsibilities for the companies system and compliance with sector regulations / legislation rather than day to day financial monitoring). Any suggestions welcome as if she gets the job I can hopefully live off her salary and become a full time cyclist or runner!
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  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    In 30 years of using spreadsheets I've become barely competent with Excel. I've done the ocasional training course, but they generally consisted of stuff I already knew and stuff I'd never use. Most of my knowledge has been gleaned from actually using the thing, and Googling when I needed to work out something new.

    Just get her to do a spreadsheet of your household budget so she gets the hang of copying values and formulas, formatting cells (currency format, number of decimals) inserting / deleting / resizing columns and rows etc.

    It will look better that she's comfortable doing the basic stuff, rather than trying to become an Excel black belt in 3 weeks
  • LongshotLongshot Posts: 935
    Actually, if she can use Powerpoint and Word, there's a lot of stuff that's transferable. One of the key elements to looking better on Excel than you may actually be is presentation.

    'Excel for Dummies' is another good resource and leads you through the basics in a logical manner.
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    i'd be more than happy to help, could give some basic tips over email or skype if you'd like something a bit more tailored to her needs/current skill level
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • As others have said, learnt it by using it. Started on Lotus version, was it Lotus 123 or something?

    She will find with Excel that despite a plethora of features you just end up using the same few.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Spooky - just had that same convo about my first spreadsheet - yes Lotus 123.

    I'd echo the above - do the household budget on Excel - all good practice and you get your budget done out of it !
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    She will find with Excel that despite a plethora of features you just end up using the same few.

    Both myself and my wife are more than proficient in Excel - just in different ways - it's quite interesting when we collaborate on a workbook as often we both take away something new.
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,268
    Thanks all. It's one package I've never got into either. I do the very basic formulas but once you get into macros and linking to other spreadsheets I'm lost. I've had colleagues who can pull together spreadsheets that do the work that very expensive design packages do (or at least the elements that I would use). I also had 2 days training on Lotus 123 back in the 90s even though I never needed to use it (I did Word Perfect as well who also sponsored a pro cycling team from memory).

    Using it for a few day to day things to get used to it sounds a good idea.
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,268
    Chris Bass wrote:
    i'd be more than happy to help, could give some basic tips over email or skype if you'd like something a bit more tailored to her needs/current skill level

    Thanks for the offer. My brother-in-law is very proficient on it though and will give her a few lessons, just looking more for something online to back it up in her own time when she has a spare few minutes here and there.
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,268
    Longshot wrote:
    Actually, if she can use Powerpoint and Word, there's a lot of stuff that's transferable. One of the key elements to looking better on Excel than you may actually be is presentation.

    'Excel for Dummies' is another good resource and leads you through the basics in a logical manner.

    That's a good point. The problem I've always had with it is just getting it to look good on the screen and, even more so, to set it up to print properly. I don't find it the most user friendly piece of software.
  • LongshotLongshot Posts: 935
    Pross wrote:
    Longshot wrote:
    Actually, if she can use Powerpoint and Word, there's a lot of stuff that's transferable. One of the key elements to looking better on Excel than you may actually be is presentation.

    'Excel for Dummies' is another good resource and leads you through the basics in a logical manner.

    That's a good point. The problem I've always had with it is just getting it to look good on the screen and, even more so, to set it up to print properly. I don't find it the most user friendly piece of software.


    There is an option on Excel (under 'View') where you can show your screen with a Page Break Layout. Even if you then change back to Normal, it will show you where the page breaks are and moves dynamically as you adjust columns. You can also specify a Print Area (it only prints that specific area) that will scale to the paper size.
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,146
    Pross wrote:
    I also had 2 days training on Lotus 123 back in the 90s even though I never needed to use it
    Haha, I'd still been using Lotus 123 until a couple of years ago on some basic stuff (I've actually got it installed on this laptop), until I got into Google Sheets. The proper spreadsheet programs all were massively over-complicated for the stuff I wanted to do. And 123 is the tiniest and quickest program, being only one step up from DOS.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    Do people still print excel workbooks?!
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,397
    Pross; you don't mention the field of work.

    You could be fairly proficient at making a spreadsheet and even having it do macros(?), but still have little idea at how to make it draw graphs for instance, (and there are many types of graphs if it's scientific based).

    Concentrate on the areas she's likely to need.


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,146
    Capt Slog wrote:
    Pross; you don't mention the field of work.

    You could be fairly proficient at making a spreadsheet and even having it do macros(?), but still have little idea at how to make it draw graphs for instance, (and there are many types of graphs if it's scientific based).

    Concentrate on the areas she's likely to need.
    Ha, that reminds me that I got 123 to do graphs of tempo fluctuation in Count Basie recordings.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 10,944
    I would recommend trying to do something with Excel e.g. knocking up a quick forecast of something with dates going across the top. How about, the Pross family has £100 and earns £10 per year increasing at 1% per year. Food costs are £5 per year, but increase £1 per year. Pross senior's beer fund is only £2 a year at the moment, but doubles ever year. Pross jr school fees are £3 a year for 3 years and then end. When does the Pross family run out of money?

    And draw a graph of something. Perhaps two lines showing when income is less than the beer fund.

    Note all formulae should be left to right consistent. If she has no knowledge now she will have to google to do the above.

    Ignore VBA. It is not Excel.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    TheBigBean wrote:
    [some sort of graphical presentation]

    Ignore VBA. It is not Excel.
    Yes, I'd concur that it's best to ignore VBA - it used to be quite important as excel didn't have all the functions in data manipulation it can now do - but when you look under the Data tab now it does most of the stuff needed.

    I'd look at filters, familiarise myself with basic data manipulation - including text-columns and duplicate removal.
    I've never quite got around pivot tables - but I know my wife uses them frequently.
    Don't forget it can be used for forms with dropdown selections
    Then there's conditional formatting (I use those in my mileage tracker for the bike!)
    Plus sparklines (mini graphs that fit in a cell)

    If she's doing accounting functions then she's going to want to know of the basics - v/hlookup, sumif, sumifs, countif, countifs, rank, index, match - and that those can be nested and results concatenated to form the basis of another formula.

    Then there are the common gotchas - like "Calculate sheet" - which invariably comes up when users copy a formula and it "doesn't calculate correctly" - yes, auto calc has turned off ...

    Of course, she wouldn't need to know exactly how to do all these things - just how to find out how to do them ....
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I'd have thought if accounting was involved she'd already have been exposed to Excel.

    All our accountants fcuking love spreadsheets!
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 10,944
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    Oh - another one that catches a lot of my colleagues out is when a number isn't a number because it's stored as text ...
    TheBigBean wrote:
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
    Fair enough ...
    Yes - it would be a lot to learn how to do it all, knowing it's there is the first step....

    I'll update my CV to say "Excel - beyond proficient" ... ;)
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 10,944
    slowbike wrote:
    Oh - another one that catches a lot of my colleagues out is when a number isn't a number because it's stored as text ...
    TheBigBean wrote:
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
    Fair enough ...
    Yes - it would be a lot to learn how to do it all, knowing it's there is the first step....

    I'll update my CV to say "Excel - beyond proficient" ... ;)

    Go for "expert". That seems to appear on most CVs I see.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,146
    slowbike wrote:
    Oh - another one that catches a lot of my colleagues out is when a number isn't a number because it's stored as text ...
    TheBigBean wrote:
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
    Fair enough ...
    Yes - it would be a lot to learn how to do it all, knowing it's there is the first step....

    I'll update my CV to say "Excel - beyond proficient" ... ;)
    I'd give much more credit to a candidate who knows what they need to learn, is keen to learn it, and has aptitude, rather than the person who claims to know it all already...
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    TheBigBean wrote:
    slowbike wrote:
    Oh - another one that catches a lot of my colleagues out is when a number isn't a number because it's stored as text ...
    TheBigBean wrote:
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
    Fair enough ...
    Yes - it would be a lot to learn how to do it all, knowing it's there is the first step....

    I'll update my CV to say "Excel - beyond proficient" ... ;)

    Go for "expert". That seems to appear on most CVs I see.

    hmm - and we all know what expert means ... fortunately, Excel isn't my main tool ... ;)
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    slowbike wrote:
    Oh - another one that catches a lot of my colleagues out is when a number isn't a number because it's stored as text ...
    TheBigBean wrote:
    Slowbike - I think it would be tricky to learn all that in three weeks. Plus I think that would be beyond proficient.
    Fair enough ...
    Yes - it would be a lot to learn how to do it all, knowing it's there is the first step....

    I'll update my CV to say "Excel - beyond proficient" ... ;)
    I'd give much more credit to a candidate who knows what they need to learn, is keen to learn it, and has aptitude, rather than the person who claims to know it all already...
    So should I put "Excel - beyond proficient, but still learning" then?

    Or perhaps I could become a trumpet teacher - you'd give me more credit for knowing that I need to learn to play and that it's to do with manipulating just 3 fingers and a bit of embouchure ....
    Or perhaps you'd prefer someone who can already play brass?

    I think it'd be better to say that, when claiming you're proficient or expert in something, then you could back that up with some evidence ...
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 10,944
    I once read someone say that they had been impressing people with (ctrl + shift + 7) for years. It draws an outline around the highlighted block. So that might be a tip for bluffing it.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    TheBigBean wrote:
    I once read someone say that they had been impressing people with (ctrl + shift + 7) for years. It draws an outline around the highlighted block. So that might be a tip for bluffing it.

    Ah - cool - thanks for that :) learn something new everyday.....
    unfortunately it doesn't remove any other borders within that block.

    I'll probably forget it by the end of the week though ... :D
  • Pross wrote:
    I also had 2 days training on Lotus 123 back in the 90s even though I never needed to use it
    Haha, I'd still been using Lotus 123 until a couple of years ago on some basic stuff (I've actually got it installed on this laptop), until I got into Google Sheets. The proper spreadsheet programs all were massively over-complicated for the stuff I wanted to do. And 123 is the tiniest and quickest program, being only one step up from DOS.

    I still have installed and use Lotus Approach for databases!!
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,268
    Capt Slog wrote:
    Pross; you don't mention the field of work.

    You could be fairly proficient at making a spreadsheet and even having it do macros(?), but still have little idea at how to make it draw graphs for instance, (and there are many types of graphs if it's scientific based).

    Concentrate on the areas she's likely to need.

    Part of the problem is not knowing how it will be used. It's an Operations Director in the care sector (not for profit). The only thing in the job description that I can see making regular use of Excel is input into the business plan. I would guess it would be more using existing spreadsheets and simply entering the relevant data rather than needing to start them from scratch in which case it would hopefully be fairly straightforward.
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    keef66 wrote:
    I'd have thought if accounting was involved she'd already have been exposed to Excel.

    All our accountants fcuking love spreadsheets!

    hang on, hang on..... there are people that don't like spreadsheets?
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    Pross wrote:
    It's an Operations Director in the care sector (not for profit).

    this should cover all the training she needs....

    operation-game-ACAKYA.jpg
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,268
    Chris Bass wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    It's an Operations Director in the care sector (not for profit).

    this should cover all the training she needs....

    operation-game-ACAKYA.jpg

    :lol: Wouldn't be good for me that's for sure. My hands are really shaky under pressure. I did some extra work for a film the other day (long story) that was a pub scene. We were told how important it was not to drink from the prop glasses for continuity reasons. I was then given the only two full pint glasses that I had to take across a crowded club then pass one to a 'friend' whilst keeping hold of the other through the scene. By the time we finished I had one glass missing about a cm of liquid and the other probably double that!
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