Do you want to excel at Microsoft Excel? Are you looking for just the right course to help you master the basics of this software program? This post will help you learn more about the best online courses available, and help guide you in finding the best course for your skill level.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t rely on Excel to some extent. Mastering the program can be an invaluable professional skill, whether you’re launching a new business, trying to improve an existing business, or looking for a career position.
Excel is a data analysis tool created by Microsoft. It can handle complex tasks, from comparing data to presenting it in a variety of modes. You enter the information, and Excel does the rest of the work for you.
Of course, you have to know how to tell Excel what you want it to do. Classes abound online, and many are tailored to allow you to learn at your own pace. Most accommodate students who are already at least a little familiar with the program, but some start with basic instruction for beginners. You can start there or jump ahead: there’s no need to rehash tasks you’re already familiar with.
We’ve gathered a list of some of the best programs available for a variety of needs and across a range of students.
best free online course for excel
Udemy offers a variety of online Excel classes, but this one covers everything from A-to-Z.
It spans a significant range of experience levels across four classes: Microsoft Excel 101 is appropriate for beginners, Microsoft Excel 102 provides intermediate training, and Microsoft Excel 103 covers advanced learning. Finally, there’s the Master Microsoft Excel Macros and VBA if you really want to dig into learning how to automate your daily to-do list. Covered topics include interactive PivotTables and charts, VLOOKUP, SUM, IF, and INDEX, and MATCH.
What makes this class a standout is that it does all this without requiring a significant time commitment of a month or more, as some other courses do. And, you’re not necessarily done when you complete the course because you’ll have lifetime access to on-demand videos and numerous other downloadable resources.
The cost is around $150, and you’ll receive a certificate of completion to add to your resume. Note that Udemy is known for occasionally slashing prices from time to time. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
BEST FOR BUSINESSESMacquarie University’s Excel Skills for Business Certification
Macquarie University’s Excel Skills for Business Specialization is available through Coursera, and it also includes four courses: Essentials, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced. Its focus is on addressing business problems—or rather, having Excel do so for you. Topics include Macros, Pivot tables, data forecasts, and building dashboards—everything your business needs to help it thrive.
You’ll have to commit to six weeks of learning at a pace of about two to four hours a week for each course, so this one is a serious time commitment. But you can start by taking just one class, and you can set your own deadlines. Macquarie also offers financial aid and provides a free option as well if you don’t want certification. You can review the course content online at no charge.
Macquarie University, in Australia, has been around for more than 50 years, even before Bill Gates got around to creating Microsoft in 1975, and it claims to be one of the top 1% of universities worldwide. Its graduates are among “the most sought-after professionals in the world.”
BEST FOR BEGINNERSRice University’s Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel
“Introduction” says it all about Rice University’s contribution to our list. You’re not looking to immediately launch a rocket from your desktop or laptop: You just want some fundamental knowledge of and familiarity with Excel so you can move on to launching rockets later. Rice says its class is appropriate for “those who have very little functional knowledge of Excel.”
The course teaches the basic uses of spreadsheets, but if you want to learn more, you can. Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel covers almost everything from PivotTables to VLOOKUP. The class spans four lessons, and the first one—for beginners—is the one we particularly like. It’s well-paced and provides a little hand-holding.
You’ll then move on to organizing data, then to filtering, and more complex tasks. The class is a top pick for walking you through knowing almost nothing, to being fully prepared to tackle advanced options after you’ve started out with and mastered the first three courses.
Plan to commit to one to three hours a week for four weeks. The class is part of the university’s Business Statistics and Analysis Specialization, and it’s free (sort of). You have to be a Coursera member to enroll and that requires a subscription (around $29 to $99), but you’ll get a certification.
BEST FOR ON THE GOGoSkills’ Microsoft Excel Classes—Basic and Advanced
For those who prefer to learn on the move, GoSkills’ classes are ideal. Microsoft Excel Classes—Basic and Advanced makes our list because it’s available on IOS and Android devices. It teaches all the basics on your phone.
This class is appropriate for beginners, but it also teaches topics like PivotTables and VLOOKUP. You can devote as much or as little time to learning as you like without adhering to a set schedule, testing yourself along the way through the use of various exams and quizzes. Overall, the class takes close to 26 hours, with lessons of about 30 minutes each. Most of the videos are less than six minutes long.
And, yes, you’ll earn a certification. You can start with a seven-day free trial before settling on one of two available subscription plans, which cost around $29 per month or about $199 if you sign up for a year.
BEST FOR VISUAL LEARNERSBen Currier’s Excel Exposure
Not everyone thrives on reading textbooks—even online—which is why Excel Exposure is an ideal pick when it comes to video-based learning. The course is short and self-paced, and it covers a good variety of topics. Written courses are an option, too, if you don’t wince at that type of study. The “Master Workbook” involves working directly in Excel.
Excel Exposure offers a premium course for around $199, but it offers many free lessons as well. And, this class isn’t stagnant: Excel Exposure is constantly adding new lessons. Its website offers a comprehensive list of what’s available, including courses that won’t cost you anything and others that are tagged “premium.”
This class is also appropriate for beginners, but many of the offerings accommodate intermediate and advanced learners as well. Certification is available, and Excel Exposure has indicated that 93% of its students pass.
BEST FOR MULTIPLE LANGUAGESPurna ‘Chandoo’ Duggirala’s Chandoo.org VBA Classes
Chandoo says his goal is to “make you awesome in Excel,” and his online VBA Classes go a long way toward getting you there. VBA stands for “Visual Basic for Applications” and happens to be Excel’s programming language. If you know VBA, you can make Excel sing.
It’s a complex topic, but Chandoo prevents it from feeling intimidating. He offers a blog, forums, how-to guides, and a free e-book on creating charts. The program is learning at a relaxed, enjoyable pace, and it accommodates those whose first language isn’t English. Really, Chandoo makes learning fun.
You can get your feet wet with the basics, then soar to expert-VBA-level from there. Start with basic Excel functions and then learn to write and debug VBA code. Chandoo has been awarded the Microsoft MVP award twelve times.
You can access some basic materials for free, although he charges around $97 to $347 for more advanced learning, depending on how long you want to study. Chandoo offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have a month to change your mind after you sign up.