In this course, you’ll explore Microsoft Excel’s sometimes-overlooked and advanced features. You’ll learn how to use data analysis tools and techniques to improve your decision making and practice generating accurate data more quickly. By the end of this course, you’ll be well prepared to contribute more value to your organization with your advanced understanding of Excel. To kick things off, you’ll spend this first lesson learning how you can modify Excel to streamline processes and make your work easier. You’ll use the Excel Options dialog box to customize some of Excel’s behind-the-scenes behavior, set up your Quick Access Toolbar, and take a look at the status bar and its customizable features. Mastering these processes will lay the foundation for your exploration of advanced topics throughout the course.
In this lesson, you’ll explore some great table management features in Excel, learn how to use data forms with Excel databases, and look at a few alternative database techniques. You’ll be glad to know that working with tables has become much easier in this latest version of Excel. Now, instead of applying filters, total rows, and formats separately, you can perform these actions through a single user interface. You’ll also learn how data forms provide a more user-friendly method for adding, deleting, and editing records in a table, and practice using a data form to search for and view records that match specific criteria. The lesson will wrap things up with a brief look at some of the practical applications for data forms.
In this lesson, you’ll tackle data validation techniques—your first line of defense against incorrect or missing data and the logical next step after data forms. You’ll practice using whole number, decimal, date, time, list, and other forms of validation. After that, you’ll explore the possibilities of custom validation, which allows you to apply validation to a cell or range of cells based on a formula you create. The possibilities for using it are limitless! You’ll also learn how to create input messages and error alerts to guide the user’s data entry, how to keep track of validation rules, and how to apply a custom validation rule to other cells so that you don’t have to create it all over again.
In the first three lessons, you learned what you might call intro-level advanced Excel topics, and now it’s time to head into more complex territory. So in this lesson, you’ll start working with custom controls—graphical objects that help facilitate data input and are sure to impress users. You’ll start by getting your Ribbon set up to work with custom controls and then walk through some practice exercises. You’ll learn how to create standard and drop-down list boxes, check boxes, option buttons, and group boxes. You’ll also master the process of creating a dynamic list box, which allows you to control the values in one list box based on the values chosen by your user in a separate custom control.
In this lesson, you’ll discover how to use conditional formatting (and not just creating validation based on cell values!). You’ll do a quick review of that process, just as a refresher, but after that you’re going to focus on formula conditional formatting. You’ll work through nine different practice exercises that explore row conditional formatting and then learn how the formula works after each exercise. You’ll see how to use conditional formatting to hide errors, to highlight records based on multiple criteria, to track and alert you about due dates, to find the differences between two lists, to shade every other row, and more. You’ll especially enjoy learning how to set up a scorecard, which will show you problem areas in red, possible problems in yellow, and everything running smoothly in green.
CONSOLIDATING AND OUTLINING
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use Excel’s consolidation function to efficiently summarize data from multiple sources. A lot of people do this the hard way, but with Excel’s automatic consolidation feature, you’ll no longer need to develop a web of formula links to multiple sources. Goodbye, potential for human error! You’ll begin with an exercise on consolidating data within the same workbook, and after that, you’ll practice consolidating using an advanced technique with category labels and wildcards. Next, there will be a practice exercise on consolidating from multiple workbooks. You’ll also learn how to use automatic and manual outlining to view or hide different levels or sections of your information.
EXCEL FUNCTIONS AND NESTING
Excel’s functions are too numerous to completely cover in one lesson, so this lesson will just focus on a few important ones spanning four categories: Logical, Database, Math & Trig, and Lookup & Reference. You’ll start the lesson with an overview of functions, take a look at the Insert Function dialog box, and then practice working with the IF function, nesting functions, the DSUM function, and the VLOOKUP function—all of which will come in handy when you need to perform a quick, thorough analysis of your data.
IMPORT EXTERNAL DATA
In this lesson, you’ll find out all about importing external data. You’ll begin with a practice exercise to get you comfortable with importing data from another Excel file, during which you’ll see how to use the built-in Query Editor, which used to be an optional add-in known as Power Query. You’ll test two methods for refreshing the target area for the imported data and find out how to edit any type of query. After that, you’ll do an import from an external database that combines two database tables into a single import. Finally, you’ll learn how to perform a Web query, which—you guessed it—allows you to import data from the Internet. The Web query feature is another fantastic feature in Excel.
It’s time to look at data tables, which let you compare the outcomes of different versions of the same formula without slogging through the process of calculating each of them. Data tables are very powerful what-if analysis tools that are great for analyzing potential outcomes of personal or business financial decisions. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use two types of data tables: a one-variable data table (which lets you substitute just one variable into the formula calculation) and the two-variable data table (which allows you to change multiple aspects of the formula).
WHAT-IF ANALYSIS TOOLS
In this lesson, you’ll explore three more of Excel’s what-if analysis tools: Goal Seek, Scenario Manager, and Solver. You’ll find out how to use Goal Seek to solve formulas backward—for example, you might want to do this if you knew the result you wanted but needed to determine how to change a single input cell in order to get that desired result. After that, you’ll practice using Scenario Manager to create and save different input values and their results as scenarios (great for working on budgets). Finally, you’ll put Excel’s Solver to work to discover the optimal solution to models that have multiple variables and constraints.
In this lesson, you’ll discover how to use PivotTables, which are excellent for summarizing massive amounts of data and viewing different cuts of the information quickly. There are two methods for creating PivotTables, and you’ll practice using both. You’ll also learn how to edit a PivotTable, how to filter the table to create individual reports, how to format a PivotTable to make it reader-friendly, how to insert a Timeline, and how to create and use calculated fields and items. After this, you’ll create a PivotChart based on the data fields in your PivotTable. You may not be quite done with the course, but after mastering PivotTables and PivotCharts, you’ll certainly be able to count yourself an advanced Excel user.
ANALYSIS TOOLPAK, ADVANCED FILTER, ARRAY FORMULAS, AND MORE!
The final lesson begins with a look at the functions available in the Analysis ToolPak, including two popular choices: the Moving Average and Sampling tools. You’ll complete an exercise using advanced filters, and then look at some Excel tips and tricks. You’ll find out how to work with the View Side by Side tool and how to use the Watch Window to keep tabs on your data when you’re updating a workbook. The lesson wraps things up with practice exercises using array formulas and the AutoSum Tool. When you’re done with this lesson—and the course—you’ll want to pass along the techniques you’ve learned to friends and colleagues who are still wrestling with Excel!