Ever needed to:
- Create a chart showing what’s hot and what’s not?
- Track your costs within your business?
- Quickly calculate how much it would cost you to do this or that?
Excel to the rescue!
Besides simple tables, you can build really complex spreadsheets and algorithms and do a huge amount of data analysis. There’s not a lot it can’t do!
Some of the tools that I have found most useful are:
Macros - Automate your repetitive tasks. This can help with things like cleaning up data and carrying out iterative calculations (i.e. calculations that require multiple steps and have if/else logic). More info:https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vba/office-shared-vba/articles/getting-started-with-vba-in-office
Tables - Tables in excel make life easier by allowing you to add formulas to an entire range of information quickly and also get that information to be used in other areas of the spreadsheet. More info: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/overview-of-excel-tables-7ab0bb7d-3a9e-4b56-a3c9-6c94334e492c
Pivot Tables - This is probably my favourite tool. If you have large amounts of data that you want to get insights from - this is what you want to use! More info: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-pivottable-to-analyze-worksheet-data-a9a84538-bfe9-40a9-a8e9-f99134456576
Data Models - This is relatively new to me but it is turning out to be a really powerful tool for data analysis. If you use databases in excel, then you really need to learn how to use this. More info: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-a-Data-Model-in-Excel-87E7A54C-87DC-488E-9410-5C75DBCB0F7B
Formulas - This is the most common and used aspect of excel. The formulas are powerful and easy to use. I think most people would only use less than 10% of what is available so there is always something new to learn.
When you combine all the features and flexibility that you get from excel, it is extremely hard to ignore this program as a serious business tool.
Despite being so awesome, there still are some downsides:
Data can and does get corrupted from time to time so it is important to keep back ups! (and backups of backups)
Formulas can be copied incorrectly and cause errors in calculations
Inheriting a complex spreadsheet from another person can become a huge task to breakdown understand the logic behind it.
The good news is that Excel is always getting better!
And, one of the most exciting things is its ability to use and manipulate data. This is important as this is part of the growing emphasis on data analysis and business intelligence that is gaining momentum across the globe.
The ability to manage, interpret, manipulate and visualise data is becoming an indispensable tool for businesses. I think it’s great that our trusty office companion Excel is rising to the task and providing businesses with the means to do this in an affordable way with a tool that is so readily available.
Oh, and SiteDiary works really well with Excel!
And that’s why I think Excel is still King