#REF. #NULL! #N/A. Those values are all too familiar to the average Excel user. And, since the business world practically runs on Microsoft Excel, chances are keyboards around the globe have been smashed in an Excel-induced rage.
But there’s some good news for those of us that are toiling over macros, pivot tables, and IF functions: Help is out there! And I’m not talking about Clippy the now defunct Office Assistant. There are in fact a number of great resources (none of which come in the form of a talking paperclip) that will help you master Excel and improve your efficiency.
Excel Central (www.excelcentral.com) is an online Excel learning portal run by UK-based adult education company, The Smart Method. The Smart Method has provided Excel training to employees at a number of well-known companies including Virgin, Unilever, and BMW and now it shares its trainings online.
The lessons are video-based, with each lasting around 3-5 minutes. Sample files are available to download to help students work alongside the videos, making the lessons interactive. Paid memberships are offered for users who want premium access (watch an unlimited number of videos every day, watch videos free of introduction music and other distractions), but basic access provides enough mileage for the casual user.
By day, Mike Girvin is a math, finance, and statistics instructor at Highline Community College in Washington. By night, Girvin is Mr. Excel, cranking out over 2,200 Excel How To videos on YouTube. Since its 2008 launch the ExcelisFun (www.youtube.com/user/ExcelIsFun) YouTube series has received nearly 40 million views and has over 140,000 subscribers.
In his video tutorials, Girvin walks viewers through the topic at hand in a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow manner. His video walk-throughs are accompanied by free-to-download workbook files available on the Highline Community College website. Cheers to Mr. Excel for his dedication to making education and learning more accessible to those around the world!
If you prefer an illustrated step-by-step guide over a video tutorial, then check out Excel-Easy (www.excel-easy.com). Launched as a University of Amsterdam project in 2010, the site’s operators have been steadily contributing examples and walkthroughs as well as taking user question since its inception. Today, Excel-Easy includes over 300 examples. Learn to deal with macro errors, manipulate strings in Excel VBA, and build pie charts from scratch with the help of text-based instructions and accompanying screenshots – all at your own pace.
Have you hit a spreadsheet brick wall and don’t know where to turn? Try browsing through Excel Forum (www.excelforum.com) to see if your question or problem has been posted previously. If it’s not there, don’t hesitate to submit your head scratcher to the message board and wait for the gurus to guide you back to sanity.
Excel Forum is an online community that deals with everything Excel. Pros that have been mastering the Office spreadsheet application for over a decade frequent the site, as do new-to-Excel users. Everyone is welcome, no matter their abilities. The site is very active, with hundreds of questions and answers being submitted on a daily basis. It’s a great resource for those with very specific questions that just need a fresh set of eyes to help them put the Excel puzzle pieces together. Registration is free so join today and be ready when your next spreadsheet quandary pops up.