Familiarity with Microsoft Excel is a requirement for many jobs today. Workers in numerous offices use Excel to track and report information. Sales reps track leads, prospects, commissions, and travel expenses in Excel. Workers on the factory floor log schedules and quality data in Excel.

Excel is an amazingly flexible program. A new Excel worksheet offers a seemingly endless blank canvas of rows and columns where you can enter, summarize, and report data of any type. Charts and other data visualization tools can convert a page full of numbers to a visual snapshot. Pivot tables can summarize thousands of detailed records to a one-page summary in a few mouse clicks.

If you’ve never opened Excel, or if you’ve used Excel only to neatly ...

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