Microsoft Excel Essentials

In partnership with
Instructor Vonne Smith,
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Course No. 40040
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover custom solutions when the available options aren't quite right
  • numbers Learn how to change cell types to optimize the way your data is presented
  • numbers Personalizing your workbooks with Format Painter, smart tags, and more

Course Overview

It seems every organization, large and small, uses Microsoft Excel to organize and analyze data, and many individuals find it useful for organizing household budgets and other personal information. Yet many users can find themselves intimidated by Excel—after all, it is an amazingly detailed and flexible application, full of options that can be difficult to navigate or apply correctly if you don’t understand the many functions and menus available to you.

Whether you need to layout a budget, track the progress of an important project, or simply sort information for easy access, Excel has the potential to help you work with data in ways that can make your job easier and your life more organized. Excel is a program with a lot of features and applications, yet it is not always very intuitive for those who are just starting out.

That’s where Microsoft Excel Essentials comes in. The 19 lessons of this course strive to empower users by providing the necessary foundation for working in Excel with ease. Brought to you in partnership with ITProTV and taught by Microsoft® Office guru Vonne Smith and her co-hosts Justin Dennison and Daniel Lowrie, these lessons will help you conquer this essential program by introducing you to its interface; guiding you through its many menus and options; identifying crucial elements; and teaching you how to input data, modify worksheets, arrange layouts; and much more. And while this series is designed for beginners, it has lots of great tips and tricks for experienced users as well. These lessons use the 2016 edition of Excel and, as we all know, computer software is constantly changing. But rest assured: Everything that you learn in these lessons can be easily adapted to updated editions of the program, as well as to other versions of the program designed for different computer operating systems.

Begin with the Basics: Navigation and Settings

One of the first hurdles you will need to clear when working in Excel is getting a grasp of the basic functions and knowing how to locate essential tools. Your hosts begin with walkthrough demonstrations of the foundational skills that will get you started working in Excel, including simple navigation, starting a workbook, opening and saving files, and how to use basic keyboard shortcuts to simplify your tasks. As you learn about the program’s user interface (UI), Vonne and Justin will help you become more confident in your Excel skills so you can focus on what you need the program to do, rather than spending countless hours combing through menus to find the necessary tools.

Once you are comfortable with navigating the program itself, Vonne and Daniel show you how to work within the basic layout of Excel: the workbook. Excel workbooks are the basic building blocks of the program and understanding how they work is crucial to your success, yet many users can overlook simple aspects of workbooks—such as your settings, what view you are using, or your page layout—that can trip you up later. Workbooks are extremely flexible and can grow unwieldy if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so a strong understanding of something as simple as how to view and move through the file is more crucial than many users realize.

Another deceptively complex element is selecting the areas in your spreadsheet that you want to work with. While it seems like it should be as easy as point-and-click, there are many factors involved and understanding all your options gives you much-needed flexibility to select, move, and otherwise alter your data in a variety of ways, including working with full columns and rows versus single cells and everything in between. With your hosts’ guidance, you will be able to adjust every element to fit your needs and modify them on the fly.

Visualize Your Data

Using Excel is not just a matter of knowing how to create your own tables and worksheets. It’s also about understanding how to interact with and modify data, including how to make it more visually appealing and accessible. As you dig deeper into the basic functions of the program, you will learn how to:

  • Select fonts;
  • Add borders and shading;
  • Merge cells and fit text with wrapping;
  • Move, adjust, and even hide rows/columns;
  • Copy and paste special formatting;
  • Style cells and align data; and more.

These and other aesthetic elements may seem superficial, but one of the benefits of Excel is the way it can allow you to visually organize and present important information. As you learn more about how to both input and present your data, Excel begins to feel less like a dry, technical, number-crunching program and more like the flexible, adaptable tool that it is.

Excel at Excel

Excel can be used for organizing just about any kind of information you could need, but how you work with this data relies on how well you understand the formatting used by Excel. Some of the key elements of formatting and layout you will explore include:

  • Changing cell types to optimize the way your data is presented;
  • The important difference between “clear” and “delete” commands;
  • Creating custom solutions when the available options aren’t quite right;
  • How to work with fractions, percentages, and scientific notation;
  • Using styles and themes for visual impact and clean presentation; and
  • Personalizing your workbooks with Format Painter, smart tags, and more.

At some point, you may need to print or otherwise export your data. Since Excel is not formatted like traditional word processing or text-based programs, it is important to know how to adjust layouts and fit your worksheets to the right size and shape for your needs. In the last few lessons, you will learn the essential elements of the Print Preview stage, while also getting an invaluable tour of all the tools at your disposal for proofing and correcting your information before sharing or printing it. Finally, you will close the series by looking at the ins and outs of workbook management, from reorganizing tabs and freezing panes to using different views and working in other windows.

The lessons presented by Vonne and her co-hosts are not an exhaustive introduction to all of Excel’s functions and utilities. Rather, they provide the foundation of a solid understanding of the program which you can build on to suit your own needs and those of your workplace, whether that workplace is a Fortune 500 company or your own home office. Every new user has to begin somewhere, and these lessons provide insight into the key elements that you need to move around easily in the program and apply the basic techniques for optimal organization and access. And even if you have experience with Excel, you will learn how to be more effective and efficient with features and shortcuts you may not have previously known about. With help from the ITProTV team, you will learn the basics of how to make this versatile tool work for you.

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19 lectures
 |  Average 26 minutes each
  • 1
    Excel 2016 is the powerful spreadsheet application in the Office suite. It seems every organization, large and small, uses Excel to organize and analyze data. However, many users are intimidated by Excel and confused by how it behaves as an application. The Excel 2016 Essentials series strives to empower users by learning the foundations to conquer this program. We begin with basic skills such as navigating the interface, identifying items in a spreadsheet, selecting cells, and inputting data. The series also covers formatting text and numbers, modifying a worksheet layout, printing and page layout, and managing worksheets in a workbook. While this series is designed for beginner users, it has lots of great tips and tricks for experienced users as well. x
  • 2
    Introduction to Excel
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne kick off the Microsoft Excel 2016 Essentials series. They define a spreadsheet, discuss the history of Excel and file types, and introduce other foundational concepts for this course. x
  • 3
    Excel Basics
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne cover the basics of working with Excel in Windows operating system. They review foundational skills and items such as starting Excel, the title bar, minimize and maximize, full screen mode, create a blank workbook, open an existing workbook, save vs. save as, and keyboard shortcuts. x
  • 4
    Excel Interface
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne examine the Excel user interface (UI). Here you will learn about the title bar, the ribbon, quick access toolbar, formula bar, name box, status bar, and help. x
  • 5
    Navigate a Workbook
    Daniel and Vonne demonstrate how to navigate a workbook . They will explain the different mouse cursors icons, scrolling, keyboard navigation, navigating with the name box, zooming, and choosing worksheets. x
  • 6
    Select Cells
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne explore the multiple ways that you can select and work with cells in Excel. They demonstrate click/hold/drag, deselecting, range selecting, selecting with shift and arrow keys, select all, select multiple worksheets, select text in multiple worksheets, named ranges, and how to use find and replace. x
  • 7
    Insert Data
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne explore the variety of ways that you can insert data into your Excel worksheet. Here they cover: entering data into a cell, editing data in a cell, controlling data and cell overflow, autocorrect options, moving data to new cell, copy/paste, and clear cell data. x
  • 8
    Fill Series and Flash Fill
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne explore how to fill series data and use the flash fill functions of Microsoft Excel 2016. These features expand the way you copy and paste data and will predict ranges like dates and common item lists. x
  • 9
    Export and File Types
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne go through the common file types supported by Excel 2016. Here they explain .xlsx files, Comma Separated Value(.csv) files, OpenDocument Spreadsheet(.ods) files, and Excel Templates(.xltx) files. x
  • 10
    Modify a Worksheet
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne explore modifying a worksheet in Excel 2016. They demonstrate how to select columns and rows, change column height and row width, insert and delete rows/columns, hide columns and rows, merge cells, and apply word wrap to cells. x
  • 11
    Format a Worksheet, Part 1
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne show how to format a worksheet in Excel 2016. Here they talk about selecting fonts, adding borders and shading, and copying formats with the format painter. x
  • 12
    Format a Worksheet, Part 2
    Daniel and Vonne continue with formatting a worksheet. In this episode, they cover aligning data in cells, cell styles, and themes. x
  • 13
    Number Formats: Introduction
    Vonne and Justin start a small mini series on number formats. In this episode, they introduce number formats and discuss the difference between inputted data vs displayed data. x
  • 14
    Number Formats: Common Number Formats
    In this episode, Vonne and Justin cover the following number format categories: number, currency, accounting, percentage, fractions, and scientific notation. x
  • 15
    Number Formats: Text, Special, Custom
    Vonne and Justin continue with number formats, specifically covering the text, special, and custom categories. x
  • 16
    Number Formats: Date and Time
    Justin and Vonne finish the number format mini series by discussing date and time number formats. They also introduce the DATEVALUE function. x
  • 17
    Proof, Print, and Page Layout, Part 1
    In this episode, Zach and Vonne demonstrate how to proof and control page layout for printing. They show how to spellcheck a worksheet and the options for ignoring or adding to the dictionary as well as how to use the thesaurus and smart lookup. They also show how to modify page layout from print preview in the backstage view. x
  • 18
    Proof, Print, and Page Layout, Part 2
    Vonne and Zach continue discussing page layout. In this episode, they show how to modify page layout elements from the page layout view such as headers and footers, page orientation, and margins. They also go over adding print titles, setting a print area, and controlling page breaks. x
  • 19
    Manage Sheets and Workbooks
    In this episode, Daniel and Vonne finish up the Excel 2016 Essentials series by demonstrating how to manage workbooks and worksheets. Here they show you how to rename worksheet tabs, change tab color, rearrange worksheets, create new and delete worksheets, and copy/hide/move worksheets. They also show how to control view options such as freeze panes, split view, new windows, and arranging windows. x

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Your professor

Vonne Smith

About Your Professor

Vonne Smith
Vonne Smith is a University of Florida faculty member and has been teaching Microsoft® Office and Adobe® Creative Suite applications to individuals and companies for over 15 years.
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