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Best Excel online courses in 2021

Best Excel online courses
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The best Excel online courses will make it easy to develop basic or advanced skills using Microsoft Excel by distance learning.

Best Excel online courses

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1. LinkedIn Learning

2. edX

3. SkillShare

4. Udemy

5. Coursera

Microsoft Excel is useful for recording numerical data like expenses and income, and for calculating and charting financial information. This makes it an extremely useful tool for businesses of all sizes, from small home offices to large multinational corporations. 

That said, Excel is a deceptively complex piece of software. Its simple looking interface frontends a lot of functionality. You can, for instance, program the software to pull in information from external sources and automatically run it through all kinds of computations and financial models to give you meaningful digestible information in real-time. Besides the business world, Excel has also made its mark in other computational intensive fields thanks to its fairly powerful programming and number crunching capabilities. 

Before you upgrade your Excel skills with the courses we’ve rounded up, you’ll need to purchase a version of Microsoft Office. While there are several versions of the software, the general consensus is that Excel 2016 with an Office 365 subscription is the most feature-rich and the most stable version of the spreadsheet app. 

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(Image credit: LinkedIn Learning)

1. LinkedIn Learning

Best Excel course for getting started

Reasons to buy
+Concise yet covers the essentials+Useful quizzes +Based on Office365

You’re familiar with Excel but haven’t used it yet? In that case, the Excel Essential Training (Office 365) is the ideal starting point. Its instructor has over 25 years of experience with the software and helps you from being an absolute newbie to a proficient Excel user. 

The course starts with a run through Excel’s menu system, before you learn how to enter data into the app. In a little over two hours, the instructor will teach you how to create formulas and use some of the basic functions and introduce you to Excel’s charting capabilities. 

One of the most useful lessons is the one on formatting your data, which introduces Excel’s data management features including a tutorial on how to create PivotTables. The course ends with the software’s sharing and security features where you’ll learn how to collaborate on a spreadsheet with multiple users and track their individual changes. 

There’s a lot more to Excel than what’s covered in this course, but it is one of the best introductions to the software that covers a wide range of topics without taking up too much time. By the end of it you’ll feel confident to find your way around Excel either on your own or via one of the other advanced courses in this roundup.  

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(Image credit: edX)

2. edX

Best Excel course for data analysis

Reasons to buy
+Straight from Microsoft+Very hands-on+Useful lab exercises 

Excel is best used for analyzing and visualizing data. Once you are familiar with the interface and have dabbled with some of its charting capabilities, you should take the Analysing and Visualising Data with Excel course to fully grasp its capabilities. 

The course is led by a senior program manager from Microsoft’s Excel team who uses Excel 2016 but suggests the course can be followed with Excel 2013 and even with Excel 2010. 

The instructor begins by doing data analysis using data in Excel before moving on to much more powerful ways to import the data into Excel from multiple sources such as databases. You’ll also learn how to clean the data before moving on to advanced topics like adding multiple measures into a pivot table and other sophisticated calculations.

At the end of the course, there’s an introduction to Microsoft freemium PowerBI service and you can learn how to connect to it and upload data to it from Excel. 

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(Image credit: SkillShare)

3. SkillShare

Best Excel course for busy people

Reasons to buy
+Useful content+Wide range of skills
Reasons to avoid
-No projects or exercises

Now that you have a fair grasp of Excel, the Inside Excel - Learn 23 Essential Excel Skills the Pros Know course will equip you with skills to use the software more efficiently. 

As the name suggests, the course covers 23 skills that you should be familiar with if you plan to use Excel regularly. The skills cover a wide range of use cases. Also while some of them are pretty easy and straightforward, they progressively get more involved to the point that the more advanced ones will take quite some practice to master. 

The instructor promises that even if you are familiar with some of the skills he talks about, you’ll still pick up some techniques and ways of using these things that you hadn’t thought of before.

The entire course is slightly over two hours and covers the 23 skills in 17 lessons. You can take the course serially or straightaway jump to a particular lesson for a particular skill. The lessons aren’t divided into sections but have names that are verbose enough to convey their content. 

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(Image credit: Udemy)

4. Udemy

Best Excel course for advanced users

Reasons to buy
+Comprehensive+Useful tips and tricks+Regular updates

By now you have a fairly good knowledge of Excel and you know that one of its most powerful features are its repository of formulas and functions. The Advanced Excel Formulas & Functions course will help you master over 75 of the most important ones to take your analytics skills to the next level. 

The course is led by an award-winning instructor who does a nice job of explaining and demonstrating the use of each and every formula instead of just making you memorize their syntax. The course has over 8 hours of video lectures neatly divided into formula categories. 

The instructor begins with a quick review of the fundamentals before moving on to specific functions, from basic conditional statements and statistics functions to more advanced topics like named ranges, and array formulas. In between he’ll also teach you how to create interactive custom dashboards and pull real-time data from APIs directly into Excel.

The lectures cover a wide range of Excel versions, from Excel 2007 to Excel 2019, though some functions might not be available in the older versions. The course comes with lots of project files and has useful exercises and quizzes and the instructor updates the course at regular intervals, which is a definite plus.

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(Image credit: Coursera)

5. Coursera

Best Excel course for business statistics

Reasons to buy
+Helps build foundation+Uses practical examples
Reasons to avoid
-A bit too theoretical

Learning how to use various Excel functions is good and all, but if you’re serious about using the software to take business decisions, you must take the time to understand the math behind the methods. The Basic Data Descriptors, Statistical Distributions, and Application to Business Decisions does exactly that by teaching you the fundamentals of statistical analysis. 

The course is conducted by the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and is part of the Business Statistics and Analysis specialization. The course can be audited for free and will impart a thorough understanding of the various aspects of business statistics that can then be applied using Excel. 

The course begins with an explanation of the notion of descriptive statistics for data before moving on to introducing several statistical distributions including Normal distribution, Binomial distribution, and Poisson distribution. These concepts are used in regression analysis that’s applied in pretty much every business setting where you want to do any sort of forecasting.  

While the course content leans towards theoretical knowledge, the instructor will show you how to apply the various statistical tools in a variety of business applications. For instance, you’ll learn the Excel functions for all the distributions and apply them to relevant business situations.

We've also featured the following online courses:

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.