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.

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# 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

This lesson shows you a way to calculate the number of times a single character occurs in a cell in Excel, and provides a real-life example where I needed to split a column of cells containing part numbers into individual components for each part number.

This lesson shows you now to extract text from a cell in Excel. This is useful when you have a cell containing combining numbers and text, such as a part number, or several text values separated by commas. It introduces the RIGHT() and LEFT() functions, which are essential text manipulation functions in Excel.

This lesson shows you how to use Excel to calculate the number of days between two dates. It also shows you how to exclude weekends and holidays from the total.

Sometimes you'll find yourself working with dates in an Excel spreadsheet that have been pasted or imported into Excel from another datasource. When that happens, Excel can treat those dates as text - in other words, they look like dates but don't behave like dates. For example you can't sort by date properly. This lesson looks at several ways you can convert a date which Excel is treating as text into a proper date value in Excel.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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