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Microsoft Excel Essentials

This program takes you through some key features of Microsoft Excel. It uses the simple example of using an Excel workbook to plan for a party, including analysing details of the items to be purchased (what suppliers they are from, dates they are purchased, amounts paid and amounts owing, etc.) and listing party guests. It covers the following topics, which you should later be able to apply to any workbooks of your own, including much larger ones:

  • Formatting your document
  • AutoFill, Flash Fill and splitting columns
  • Sorting and filtering
  • Formulas and simple functions
  • Transposing data
  •  PivotTables
  • Creating charts

You can work through this program using the following handout and Excel workbooks:

PDF Version PDF

Microsoft Excel Essentials handout

Work through the entirety of this handout to go through all the topics, or just do the parts that you are most interested in. Either way, note that some of the instructions provided may differ for different versions of Excel- for detailed instructions on any of the concepts covered for a different version (or for anything else), remember Google is your friend and instructions can usually be found online.

Party Budget Excel Workbook 1

Use this workbook if you are working through the handout from the beginning (including the section ‘Formatting your document’).

Part Budget Excel Workbook 2

Use this workbook if you intend to start from further on in the handout (i.e. at any point after the ‘Formatting your document’ section).


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