If you have skimped on learning the value of Microsoft Excel, you are doing a disservice to your employer, and more importantly, yourself. Listen, we have heard of Big Data and BI or Business Intelligence, but lets never forget the basics. By Basics I mean Microsoft Excel.
Excel is the tool that can turn you, a nameless face at your company, into a rock star. If you can organize, understand, manipulate and present data in a simple or meaningful manner, you can become the go to person in your organization that managers and C-level executives learn to trust and reward.
Here are a couple of must-have skills with Microsof Excel
Build great charts
Excel allows business users to unlock the potential of their data, by using formulas across a grid of cells. Data is inserted into individual cells in rows or columns, allowing it to be sorted and filtered, and then displayed in a visual presentation. Using pie charts, graphs and clustered columns adds meaning to data, which otherwise may just exist as row after row of numbers. These visualizations can add extra emphasis to business reports and persuasive marketing material. Excel recommends charts most suitable for the type of data being presented on the X and Y axis.
Use conditional formatting
Excel users can format their spreadsheets using different color shades, bolds and italics, to differentiate between columns and bring the most important data to the fore. This function could be useful when presenting accounting information, such as the pre-tax profit and the balance being carried forward by the company. Users can select an appropriate coloring scheme via the Quick Analysis button, and then by utilizing the Formatting tab.
Help identify trends
When presenting data in the form of charts or graphs, it can be helpful to include average lines, which explicitly detail the key trends emerging from the information. This may help demonstrate the key points to other users in a straightforward manner – for instance, an executive from a different department during a board meeting. Excel allows trend lines to be extended beyond the graph, to offer predictions of future activity – and such forecasts can help businesses develop their future strategy.
Bring data together
Excel can be used to bring information from various files and documents together, so that it exists in a single location. As well as raw data and information from other spreadsheets, it is possible to import text and images. Other objects can be added using the Insert tab, or additional spreadsheets can be added to the file.
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