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Davidson College

Excel for Beginners

Davidson College via edX


If you’re seeking to grow your knowledge of spreadsheets from zero to basic comfort and competence in Excel, then this is a perfect course for you.

The goal of this course is to provide you with a foundation on which you can build more advanced skills in the future. In this online course you will learn foundational Microsoft Excel (also applicable to Google Sheets) knowledge including spreadsheet and workbook anatomy, data entry, summary, and manipulation, plotting and visualization, and powerful tools such as functions, conditional formatting, vlookup, mathematical formulas, graphs, macros, keyboard shortcuts, cell references, filters, sorts, and pivot tables.

Not only will this Excel tutorial provide you with a step-by-step training to obtain strong skills in Excel basics, but you will also find several pathways to continue learning the skills you need after the course. Basic Excel skills are required for many jobs, but more advanced skills are often learned on the job. This course can help you quickly get to the point of being able to learn more advanced skills on your own or on the job.

The approach of this course will be different from a typical software course. Rather than focusing on moving through as many tools and skills as quickly as possible, this course will emphasize gaining comfort and familiarity with some of the most useful and foundational skills, the skills that will be key to your success in using Excel now and in the future. You will have the opportunity to practice these skills and identify general principles of successfully working with spreadsheets to be more efficient, reliable, and effective in your work.


Week 1: Getting to Know Excel & Entering Data

  • Excel Orientation and Spreadsheet Basics
  • Excel Data Types
  • Entering Data
  • Spreadsheet Setup

Week 2: Making Charts

  • Bar Charts, Simple and Clustered
  • Scatterplots
  • Pie and Stacked Column Charts
  • Combining Plot Types

Week 3: Manipulating & Summarizing Data Using Functions

  • Formulas and Functions in Excel
  • Absolute vs. Relative Cell References
  • Sorting & Filtering Data in Excel
  • Conditional functions

Week 4: Bringing it All Together

  • Converting Data Ranges to Tables
  • Unleashing the Power of Pivot Tables: Simple Tables and Charts
  • Unleashing the Power of Pivot Tables: Answering Complex Questions
  • Introducing the Course Project

Taught by

Kevin Smith


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.6 rating at edX based on 73 ratings

Start your review of Excel for Beginners

  • Mohamed Azhari Mohamed Musa
    I recommend this course for anyone who want a strong fundamental in excel it's the perfect start. Good luck!

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