Learn Microsoft Excel

If you want to learn Microsoft Excel, you're in the right place. There is a lot to learn about Microsoft Excel, and not everything is in the manual. We've got a range of free online lessons on how to get the best out of Excel, starting from the basics right up to advanced subjects. We'll help you to do your job better - with the right Excel skills you could even get a raise or a better job! If you don't see what you want to learn, why not get in touch and suggest a lesson we should write.

If you want to learn Excel, this lesson covers ten important things that we think you need to know if you are going to use Excel effectively. Even if you've been using Excel for a while, check this lesson out to make sure you have the basics covered.

This lesson shows you how to write formulas using INDEX and MATCH to let you perform lookups that VLOOKUP can't, and which run much faster on large lookup tables than VLOOKUP. This lesson explains how INDEX and MATCH work on their own, and then shows you how to write an INDEX MATCH formula that can look left as well as right, and performs much faster than VLOOKUP on large tables.


There are a variety of ways to add up the numbers found in two or more cells in Excel. This lesson shows you how to use the SUM function to add up cells, rows and columns of cells in Excel.


VLOOKUP allows you to look for a specified value in a column of data inside a table, and then fetch a value from another column in the same row. An example might be where you need to find the sales for a specific salesperson from within a monthly sales report. In this lesson you'll learn how to use VLOOKUP in your spreadsheets by walking you through several simple examples. The lesson will also highlight some shortcomings of VLOOKUP, plus a solution to those shortcomings.


When you create a new Pivot Table, Excel either uses the source data you selected or automatically selects the data for you. But data changes often, which means you also need to be able to update your pivot tables to reflect the new or changed data. This lesson shows you how to update existing data, and add new data to an Excel pivot table.


Excel offers a couple of handy functions that you can use to calculate the smallest and largest values in a range of cells. They are simple functions that go by the names of MIN() and MAX(). This lesson shows you how to use them. It also introduces SMALL() and LARGE(), functions which duplicate what MIN and MAX do, plus more besides.

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If you are working with large tables of data in Excel, you can make your spreadsheet easier to read by formatting alternate rows to be shaded a different colour. There are a number of ways you can achieve this. This lesson shows you a quick and easy way to do it on Excel 2011 for Mac.


Printing from Excel can be very frustrating, especially if your spreadsheet is too wide or too tall to fit on a single page.

You can use the Scaling option in Page Setup to set limits on how many pages wide and tall your document should be when you print it. The problem with that is that you can find your page fits onto one page, but becomes too small to read. Not only that, but Excel ignores any manual page breaks you've entered. This lesson explains how you can print your spreadsheet so it automatically scales to be one page wide without forcing the rows into a single page.


Excel's VLOOKUP function is excellent when you want to find a value in a table based on a lookup value. But if your table includes your lookup value multiple times, you'll find that VLOOKUP can't do it. This lesson shows you how to use the INDEX function (plus some other functions) to find all matching values in a list, and return a value from another column in the same row. It also looks at how to do this when you want to return all values which are a partial match (i.e. a wildcard search) to the values in your lookup table.


When you create a formula in Excel that refers to other cells in the worksheet, Excel will store the information about those cells as relative references. Relative references and their counterpart, absolute references, are one of the things that make spreadsheets such a powerful tool.


If you're using Excel to calculate dates, it is useful to know how to add (or subtract) a certain number of working or business days to a date. This lesson introduces the WORKDAY() function and shows you how to use it.

The SUM function in Excel allows you to add up the values in a range of cells. However, sometimes you only want to add up the cells that meet certain criteria. That's where the SUMIF function comes in handy, along with the more capable SUMIFS function.


Rounding in Excel refers to reducing the number of digits in a number to make it easier to work with. A common example is rounding a price to two decimal places. Rounding errors can cause havoc with your spreadsheets without you even realising it. A common mistake occurs when you change the display format of a number to show fewer digits after the decimal point and assume that the number has been rounded for use in other calculations. This lesson explains how rounding in Excel works, and shows you how to use the different rounding functions available in Excel.


If you work with large Excel spreadsheets, you'll probably know the hassle of scrolling left and right, up and down as you try to work with all that data. You can use the Zoom feature to make the spreadsheet smaller and fit more onto the screen, but that doesn't always give you the result you want. Often, it will make your spreadsheet too small or not small enough.


Creating charts in Excel can be a frustrating process. This lesson starts with the basics, and shows you the simple steps you need to follow to create a basic column or bar chart in Excel.