Learning Basic Excel Skills: 5 Top Tips for Using Excel Like a Pro


More than 30 million people use Excel. It’s the most popular spreadsheet program. It can make your job easier if you know how to use it properly.

Check out these basic excel skills and tips that can make your life easier.

1. Filter Results

Do you have a sizeable spreadsheet with a lot of information on it and you want to filter the results to get what you need? Use the auto filter to get the information you need.

To do this, click:

  1. Data
  2. Filter
  3. Autofilter

Then you can click on a small box and filter the results to customize to your needs.

2. Use Formulas

No need to worry about math when you use Excel. You can use formulas for simple calculations. Excel can help you multiply, subtract, add, or divide your data.

Here’s how:

  • To multiply, use the * sign
  • To divide, use / sign
  • To subtract, use –
  • To add, use the +

Use parenthesis to do certain calculations first. For example, typing (10+10)*10, would equate to 10+10=20 then multiply by 10, which is 200.

Using these shortcuts to get a sum for a range of cells saves you time. Instead of manually creating a formula, there is a shortcut. Use Alt + and select the first empty cell of the column. Press Tab and Excel to get your result.

3. Use Shortcuts

Using shortcuts is one of Excel basics. You can save a great deal of time by learning these shortcuts and simply using your keyboard. Shortcuts, like the popular Ctrl+c for copy and Ctrl+v to paste, are handy.

Other shortcuts include:

  • Ctrl+PgUp to switch between the various tabs
  • Ctrl+a to select the entire worksheet
  • Ctrl+ f to search and find items
  • Ctrl+k for adding hyperlinks

You can also read Excel files even without the program by using intuitive programs like C# Excel, that show behind the scene shortcuts and formulas.

4. Import Data

You can greatly speed up your workflow by importing data. If you want to import data from a website, you can easily do it by:

  • Clicking File
  • Select Import External Data
  • Click New Web Query

When you select this tab, a new window displays your browser homepage with the web address of the page selected. Choose the webpage you want to display here, and then do a simple copy and paste the link in the address box.

Click “ok” and your data is imported into Excel.

5. Use Pivot Tables

Pivot tables can help your reorganize your spreadsheet data. This function does not change your data but helps compare different information and sum up values.

To create a pivot table, go to Data, and select Pivot Table. Excel populates your pivot table with your information. You can then choose to:

  • Report a filter to look at only specific rows
  • Column labels to organize your data
  • Row labels to also organize your data
  • Value to help average, add, count, or show min or max

You can reorganize your data to get the information you need. Whether you choose to organize by row or by column, the information will populate how you want, so you can easily read the spreadsheet.

Basic Excel Skills Complete

These are just a few of the basic excel skills you can learn. With a little practice, you can master these beginner tips for using Excel.

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