How to Learn Excel from Scratch


You’ve found the perfect job. Only one problem: you need to know Excel.  It’s in the job description.

And you know the hiring manager is going to ask you about it — or worse yet, test you on it.

Don’t let this deter you — with the right tools, you can learn the basics of Excel in days.

To get the most out of your study time, casually ask the hiring manager what Excel tools are most frequently used in the position. This will demonstrate your understanding of the role’s tasks, and it will also tell you what you need to learn.

There are countless Excel training sites — including this one.

I especially encourage you to check out my course, “Hired with Excel: What Every Analyst Needs to Know.” This course will show you the essential Excel techniques, but it will also help you turn them into better job interviews and offers.

Here are resources from five sites that have helped me improve my own Excel skills. They vary in price, length, and materials included. Choose the one best for your needs and learning style.


Microsoft Office Training.  One of the best places to learn Excel is from the software vendor itself — Microsoft. Here you will find a series of 5-10 minute videos on everything from setting up your first spreadsheet to advanced features.

All come with video bookmarks and a summary of the course. These are all commonly used features in Excel that may show up in your exam. This is good if you just want to check out how Excel is used without spending money.

Price:  Free

Length:  2-3 hrs.

Contains:  Videos


Chandoo.  Chandoo’s tagline is “Become Awesome in Excel,” and the site features endless content for all skill levels. Check out the Online Tutorial for Beginners.

This series emphasizes learning the most Excel in the shortest amount of time. For example, one video is titled “10 Things you can do in Excel in under 10 minutes.” This series is good if you have used Excel before but need to brush up on some concepts.

Price:  Free.

Length:  1-2 hrs.

Contains: Videos


ExcelJet.  This is another Excel training website which features “practical, bite-sized videos for rapid Excel learning.” The Excel 101 course comes with 28 videos and practice worksheets.

The course costs $19, but it is the most coherent beginners’ Excel course available: in just over an hour, you will have mastered the basics.  Try this course if you’re brand new to Excel and on a limited time-table.

Price:  $19

Length: 1 hr.

Contains:  Videos, practice worksheets


Udemy’s “The Best Excel” Course.  Udemy is an online course marketplace. Experts can submit courses of any subject for free or paid. Check out this course taught by an Excel master instructor certified by Microsoft.

It contains over seven hours of videos with quizzes. You will receive lifetime access to this content. You will also receive a certificate of completion at the end. Try this course if you are absolutely new to Excel and are on a budget — the entire class is only $10.

Price: $10

Length: 7 hrs.

Contains: Videos, quizzes, certificate of completion

lynda_logo3k-p_2x-600x171 Lynda is a leading online training website with hundreds of courses in everything from financial modelling to website design.

It has an extensive library of Excel training courses. Start with Excel 2013 Essential Training. It has over six hours of videos with accompanying exercise files and notes. After watching the videos, you will receive a certificate of completion which can easily be added to your LinkedIn profile.

Lynda is a subscription service which starts at $25 a month, but you can cancel anytime. Check if your current school or alma mater has a partnership with Lynda.  You may be allowed free access.

Price: Starts at $25/month

Length: 50+ hrs.

Contains: Videos, quizzes, certificate of completion


Don’t let fear of Excel set you from your dream job. With these resources, you may even learn more about Excel than your hiring manager. This is a great first way to show value to your employer. While it may take you a few months to understand how your new company’s business works, you can immediately contribute to data analysis in Excel.


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  1. Great!!! It really helps to learn more about Microsoft Excel. Very very useful information. You can also check GBT Solutions for more information about Excel Training Online.

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