Appendix 1: Basic Excel Skills


Excel may be the most versatile software program ever created. It is used daily by millions of people in every conceivable walk of life. Some of its users are simply adding up short columns of numbers, while others are creating sophisticated applications in which Excel is performing complex numerical calculations while interacting with several other software systems. With such a versatile and flexible tool, it is difficult for any user to determine just which of the thousands of features in Excel are really worth knowing. In this appendix, we describe the basic Excel skills we think are important for every business analyst along with some more advanced skills that are useful in several business applications.

This appendix is not intended to serve as a beginner's tutorial on Excel. Those who are new to Excel and need a tutorial should work through a book, CD, or online course. Those who have a working knowledge of Excel will find in this appendix some reminders about familiar tools and perhaps pointers to some new ones as well. We have found that many experienced users have never taken the time to explore Excel systematically, so their skills are deep in some areas but shallow in others. We recommend skimming this appendix for Excel features that are new. A few minutes spent learning how to use Excel more efficiently, even for users with some experience, can pay dividends in the building of spreadsheet models.


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