The Report by Class Central

Disclosure: Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best Courses

10 Best Microsoft Excel Courses for Beginners to Take in 2022

Microsoft’s very own spreadsheet never gets old. Here are the best Excel online courses to learn it from.

Many of us have heard of Excel, and even used it in school, college or office. But we often have misconceptions about Excel and remain unaware of how powerful the software is. In this article, I will take you through a list of the best Microsoft Excel courses available online. My selection is for beginners, so the courses cover only the basics of Excel (with a few exceptions) and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is not covered.

Whether you’re someone who has never used Excel before or someone who has little idea of Excel, these courses will help you grasp the basic concepts and build your fundamentals in Excel. I’ve built this list from Class Central’s catalog of over 900 Microsoft Excel courses by following a well-defined methodology that you can find below.

But if you want to jump straight to the results, here are my top 10 picks. You can click on a course to jump to the corresponding section:

Course Workload In Brief
1. Excel Skills for Business: Essentials (Macquarie) 26 hours High-quality, detailed, well-structured course with a lot of practice exercises
2. Everyday Excel, Part 1 (Colorado Boulder) 25 hours Great for beginners for learning Excel the fun way with a friendly instructor
3. Excel: Fundamentos y herramientas (València) 24 – 32 hours Excellent Excel course in Spanish, one of Class Central’s Best Online Courses of All Time
4. Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations (British Columbia) 24 – 36 hours Foundational Excel course for anyone, with a focus on business data analysis
5. Work Smarter with Microsoft Excel (Microsoft) 20 hours Good for learning the key concepts and also preparing for Microsoft’s certification exam
6. Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models (Pennsylvania) 26 hours For those whose primary aim is to build mathematical models for data analysis
7. Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel (Rice) 20 hours Simple introductory course on Excel with a decent amount of practice opportunities
8. Excel for Beginners (Davidson) 12 – 20 hours Well-prepared course with an encouraging instructor and enough practice assessments
9. Excel Basics for Data Analysis (IBM) 12 hours Clear and concise course on foundational Excel with IBM’s hands-on labs
10. Data Analysis in Excel (DataCamp) 4 hours Short Excel course to become industry-ready with free access to the first chapter

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Office suite containing other software like Word, PowerPoint, and Access among others. Not only Windows, Excel can also be run on Android, MacOS, and iOS.

Excel is widely used for performing simple to complex calculations and data visualization (that is creating interactive graphs and charts from your data). It also comes with a built-in programming language called VBA or Visual Basic Applications. VBA is a special programming language you can even use to manipulate data on the spreadsheet which is otherwise difficult to do!

In Excel, data is stored in “cells” formed by the intersection of rows and columns. Like many other spreadsheets, Excel can be used to organize data and perform arithmetic operations. Excel is used in many fields such as science, engineering, finance and simple daily calculations.

Why are Excel skills important?

Since Excel has such a wide variety of uses, it’s only natural that it’s a much sought-after skill. According to a research by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the Government of UK, Microsoft Excel is one of the most common productivity software skills requested by UK employers. With the highest number of job adverts of 810,239, a high advertised salary of £31,300 and a versatility of 0.98 (very high), Microsoft Excel has a projected growth rate of 23% in the next 5 years.

In the US too, millions of jobs require you to have Excel skills. A research by Burning Glass Technologies and Capital One has found that having digital skills leads to better employment and higher income. In fact, the impact is actually more not on sophisticated skills such as writing code but on using software such as spreadsheets.

Different jobs demand different levels of Excel proficiency. Be it simple data manipulation, core financial calculations, or advanced subskills of Excel such as VBA and pivot tables, Excel finds its way into just about every job aspect. Regardless, fluency in Excel makes you more versatile and is definitely a plus for your career.

What is my experience with Excel?

I am a Guided Project Instructor at Coursera, my first Guided Project being Problem Solving using Microsoft Excel (currently unavailable). I am also a Beta Tester at Coursera, having tested many courses before they’re officially launched (including one in this list).

I have taken over 50 online courses in various subjects. My experience as an online learner and teacher has given me some perspective on what to look for in an online course. I used my experience to evaluate each course in this list.

Course Ranking Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology I used in previous rankings (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database with 80K+ online courses and 170K reviews. Then, I made a preliminary selection of 900+ Microsoft Excel courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and they have to fit in a set of criteria and be ranked accordingly: comprehensive curriculum, release date, affordability, ratings and enrollments.

The end result is a unique selection of courses that combines a decade of Class Central data and my own experience as an online learner to try to get the best of both worlds. So far, I’ve spent more than 11 hours building this list, and I’ll continue to update it.

Course Ranking Statistics

Here are some statistics regarding this course ranking:

  • Combined, these courses have accrued over 1.2M enrollments.
  • Nine courses are free or free-to-audit and one course is paid.
  • The most-represented course provider in the ranking is Coursera, with six courses.
  • Nine courses are in English and one course is in Spanish.
  • Combined, these courses have been bookmarked over 10,584 times on Class Central, while the Microsoft Excel subject itself has been bookmarked over 15,871 times.
  • Combined, these courses have received over 500 reviews on Class Central.

So without further ado, let’s get to my picks for the best Microsoft Excel online courses.

1. Excel Skills for Business: Essentials (Macquarie University)

Prashan S. M. Karunaratne (left) and Nicky Bull (right), co-instructors of the course

My #1 pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Excel Skills for Business: Essentials, offered by Macquarie University on Coursera.

The course is made keeping the beginners in mind with its excellent course structure, high-quality videos, detailed explanations, impressive readings, and ample practice opportunities, this course easily makes it to the top of this list.

At every step, the instructors will be there to remind you that in order to build a strong foundation, you must practice thoroughly. There are practice opportunities at every step of the course. And to make the process more fun, they will take you through Sean’s Excel journey. Who’s Sean? Well, it could be you!

This unique storytelling way of teaching makes your learning more personalized. Though originally intended for business, this course will teach you the building blocks that are applicable to any scenario. So, don’t be scared by the course’s name if you don’t come from a business background!

What You’ll Learn

You’ll start the course by understanding the key components of the Excel user interface. You’ll then go through basic Excel terminology to know what the different sections on the Excel screen are called. You’ll learn to select data and navigate your way through the spreadsheets using navigation tools and shortcuts, view data in Excel, and the different data types.

You’ll also perform basic data entry in Excel, as well as editing and deleting data. Remember, many people tend to forget these basic concepts even though they can perform high-level calculations in Excel (including me!), so grab this opportunity to build a solid base.

Next, you’ll learn to use Excel formulas and functions (powerful mini-programs to instantly perform different tasks), and perform calculations in Excel. You’ll learn about the order of operators and how to implement them correctly in a formula.

Every function follows a syntax (the “grammar” for any language), so it’s important that you know how to write syntactically correct functions. You’ll use those functions to perform simple calculations in Excel, and then move on to cell referencing (telling Excel which cells to work on).

You’ll then move on to formatting. This is nothing but styling your spreadsheet to make it look more appealing and easily understandable. Some commonly used formatting tools in Excel include font formatting for styling your text, putting borders around cells, alignment of data in cells, and number formatting for changing number types.

You’ll also be able to format your data using pre-loaded Excel styles and themes and also use the format painter (copying the formatting from one cell and applying it on others).

Moving on, you’ll learn how to actually work with data in Excel. You’ll see how you can insert, delete and hide rows and columns. You’ll also be able to find any data on your spreadsheet and replace it with some other data, and sort and filter your data based on any criteria.

And the best part – you’ll learn about Conditional Formatting by which you can highlight specific data according to built-in or custom conditions.

Once you’re done with calculations and formatting, you might need to print your work. But the default print settings in Excel might give weird results. That’s why it’s important that you know how to optimize your spreadsheet for printing.

You’ll learn about print preview, page layout view, margins, orientation and scale, page break and page break view, and printing titles as well as headers and footers on your document. All these elements will help you document your spreadsheet and make it look decent enough.

Finally, you’ll end the course by creating graphs and charts in Excel. You’ll learn how to make basic charts from your data and make them more attractive by changing chart styles. You’ll also take a look at the common chart types in Excel and learn how to modify them.

Excel has a lot of options to style your graphs and charts according to your liking. All this will give you a better handle of visualizing your data and making it more interesting.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 6 weeks. Each week involves about 3 to 4 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and a lot of practice exercises.

Remember Sean? Each week, you’ll be presented with a challenge Sean faces with Excel. The instructors, Nicky and Prashan, will sit together to discuss Sean’s problems in depth. This will be a great opportunity for you to gain deeper insight into each week’s topic.

Lessons are taught in the form of practice videos. Practice makes permanent! That’s why, after each video, there’s an ungraded practice quiz to test your understanding. And that’s not all! At the end of each week, there are practice challenges in the form of Excel files where you’ll work on finding the solutions in Excel itself.

Finally, there are graded quizzes at the end of each week that will contribute towards your final score in this course.

Institution Macquarie University
Provider Coursera
Instructor Prashan S. M. Karunaratne, Nicky Bull, Yvonne Breyer
Level Beginner
Workload 26 hours
Enrollments 686K
Rating 4.9/5.0 (42K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • This course is part of the highly acclaimed Excel Skills for Data Analytics and Visualization Specialization.
  • It has been bookmarked 2.8K times on Class Central!
  • This course has been utilized by international organizations such as the UNDP, UNICEF.
  • It has also been translated into Arabic by the Government of the UAE.
  • Prashan is an award-winning lecturer who is well-known for his catchphrase, “Everyone, say wow!”.
  • Even though Nicky is a computer programmer and analyst, she has a second bachelor’s degree in English Literature!

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

2. Everyday Excel, Part 1 (University of Colorado Boulder)

Charlie Nuttelman, instructor of the course

My second pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Everyday Excel, Part 1, offered by the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera.

This course is one of my personal favorites since this was the first course I ever took on Excel. I instantly became a fan of the instructor’s teaching style, and proceeded to take his next two courses, Everyday Excel, Part 2 and Everyday Excel, Part 3 (Projects). So if you’re looking for an interactive instructor, you should definitely check this one out!

Many Excel courses use complex examples with large volumes of complex financial or scientific data that many of us might not be familiar with. But Charlie Nuttelman uses very simple and goofy examples to grab the learner’s attention. Even if he ever uses technical examples, he makes sure that the focus is on Excel and not on the subject.

As a civil engineering student, I find it really thoughtful that he, as an engineer himself, emphasizes on the utility of Excel in this field. This is often overlooked in many courses, so it’s definitely a thumbs-up from me!

What You’ll Learn

In Week 1, you’ll start from ground up by learning how to save and open files in Excel. You’ll learn all about worksheets and workbooks, and navigation through worksheets using shortcuts.

You’ll understand the difference between cells, columns, and rows in Excel, and see the different types of cell references. You’ll also take a look at cell formatting and conditional formatting, autofill and fill series, and learn how to name cells and cell ranges. You’ll be introduced to basic macro recording using VBA at the end.

In Week 2, you’ll move on to basic expression entry and common functions in Excel. You’ll learn about Excel’s syntax and order of operations, and how to input mathematical formulas into Excel.

You’ll also learn how to troubleshoot, which means looking for errors and fixing them when you don’t get the expected result. There are thousands of built-in functions in Excel, and you’ll be introduced to some popular ones. These include summing, counting, averaging, rounding and many more!

Week 3 delves deeper into Excel functions. You’ll cover functions such as logical functions (IF, AND, OR) and advanced logical functions (SUMIF, COUNTIF, AVERAGEIF). You’ll learn to use auto fill and fill series, and overcome limitations of auto fill using text functions.

You’ll be introduced to Excel’s financial functions and learn how to use array formulas in Excel. Finally, you’ll see how you can create your own user-defined function in VBA.

Week 4 is where you actually get a taste of real data management in Excel. You’ll learn to apply filters (to pull out specific data based on a criteria), create Excel tables, and validate your data (for example, if you want to show certain items in a drop-down list).

You’ll sort data, clean up unnecessary items, remove duplicates, and consolidate data from multiple sources. You’ll end the week with one-way lookup functions (VLOOKUP, INDEX and MATCH).

Week 5 is all about data visualization in Excel. This means you’ll be able to present your data in the form of graphs and charts. You’ll learn how to use scatter plots, column charts and pie charts.

There are other ways to visualize your data such as pivot tables, slicers, and sparklines which you’ll learn here. You’ll move on to sharing Excel’s data with Word and PowerPoint, as well as printing your worksheets and converting them to .pdf documents.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 5 weeks. Each week involves about 4 to 5 hours of work. Concepts are taught through dozens of short videos.

Charlie Nuttelman calls his videos “screencasts”. These are demos that give step-by-step instructions on each topic. You can work alongside him by downloading the workbooks provided in the course. The explanations are easy to follow, and there are ungraded in-video quizzes (quizzes within the video) to check your understanding too.

The quizzes in this course are somewhat unique. There are two types of graded quizzes in each week – the usual quizzes and the in-application assignments. For the latter one, you’ll get an Excel file where you’ll solve the problem on your own computer, and once you’ve successfully found the solution, you’ll get a “completion code” that you’ll put into the quiz.

Institution University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Coursera
Instructor Charlie Nuttelman
Level Beginner
Workload 25 hours
Enrollments 172K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (2.5K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

3. Excel: Fundamentos y herramientas (Universitat Politècnica de València)

Jaime Busquets Mataix, co-instructor of the course

My third pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit with limited access Excel: Fundamentos y herramientas, offered by Universitat Politècnica de València on edX.

This course is one of Class Central’s 250 best online courses of all time. Each year, we publish this ranking based on thousands of learner reviews. Our list shows the best courses in their respective subjects.

So if you understand Spanish, this course is undoubtedly one of the must-trys on this list. Here’s what other learners said:

Excelente curso, cubre todos los temas generales de Excel explicados a detalle. Es fácil de entender y los ejercicios nos ayudan a practicar por nuestra parte y afirmar el conocimiento.

Recomendaría este curso a todos aquellos que no conocen Excel y a aquellos que lo conocen superficialmente y quieren explorar ampliamente los aspectos generales de la herramienta. – Jorge García Yévenes Méndez, learner

What You’ll Learn

In the first module, you’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of Excel so that you can start working on your first Excel sheet right away. You’ll understand what a spreadsheet is and how to start and end a session with Excel.

You’ll also learn to create and save a workbook, get help when you’re stuck, identify the different parts of the Excel interface and navigate through it. Furthermore, you’ll take a look at data entry in Excel and basic data types, and end the module with cell references and simple operations with numeric data.

In the next module, you’ll delve deeper into the different types of data Excel can work with, and familiarize yourself with the management of cell ranges. The main data types in Excel are numeric and alphanumeric, although you can also work with dates and times, and even with logical data.

You’ll learn more about cell referencing, and finally, take a look at how Excel’s fill pattern works. Fill pattern is an interesting feature of Excel which guesses the rest of your data based on the data you give.

The third module will teach you how to format the different elements of your worksheet. Correct formatting makes data more presentable and readable. You’ll learn how to format rows and columns, cells, numbers, text, dates and times, alignment, cell borders, fonts, and fill and font color.

You’ll become familiar with the best practices when building a sheet, the differences between actual and displayed content, and how cell references behave when you change the structure of the sheet.

After that, you’ll learn about Excel formulas and functions in the fourth module. Formulas and functions are the most powerful tools in Excel. Excel has more than a hundred predefined functions, which can also be combined within other expressions or formulas.

You’ll learn to write syntactically correct functions in Excel, familiarize yourself with the different types of Excel functions, and understand the uses of some commonly used Excel functions.

The fifth module will take you through the process of data handling in Excel. Even though Excel is a spreadsheet and not a database manager, it has many data table handling features. You’ll learn to apply conditional formatting, construct and perform basic operations with Excel data tables such as sorting records.

Conditional formatting is used to format certain data in a dataset that satisfies a given criteria, thus helping important data to stand out. Data tables are different from regular tables that offer special operations for handling data in them.

In the next module, you’ll learn how to represent data visually using graphs and charts in Excel. This enables a better understanding of the trends and relationships between data.

You’ll be able to create simple graphical representations of numerical data, understand the different elements that can be shown in a graph, and take a look at the different types of charts that Excel supports. Once you’ve reached this far, you’ll be able to choose the most appropriate charts for your work.

The seventh module will show you how you can customize your graphs and charts using the large set of tools Excel provides. The default charts Excel gives you are not always ideal for your work, so using these tools you can modify those charts to suit your needs.

You’ll learn how to change the structure or type of chart or its different parameters, and change the display mode of the different elements of a chart.

In the final module of this course, you’ll learn how to print your work in Excel. Many times, you may need to print your work to present or share with others. But Excel’s default print settings don’t always give you the best result.

That’s why you’ll need to adjust the print settings for a presentable and understandable print. You’ll learn about the commands of preliminary presentation and printing of the sheets, understand the options that Excel allows in the configuration of the printing of sheets, and use page breaks correctly.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 8 modules. Each module involves about 3 to 4 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, readings and practice exercises.

Each of the topics are carefully selected and explained in short videos. There are English subtitles for the videos too. To supplement the videos, there are useful readings in each section. And since learning Excel is incomplete without practicing yourself, there are ample practice quizzes in each module.

At the end of each module, you’ll have a graded assignment to test your knowledge. And finally, at the end of the course, there’s a graded final exam where you’ll need to put all that you learned in the course to the test. Your performance in all these will go towards your final score in the course.

Institution Universitat Politècnica de València
Provider edX
Instructor Victor Braquehais Acero, Jaime Busquets Mataix
Level Beginner
Workload 24 – 32 hours
Enrollments 383K
Certificate Paid

One Thing to Note

Excel 2010 is used in this course. However, since the foundations of Excel remain the same in all its versions, you can use any other version of Excel to complete the course.

Fun Facts

  • This course is charted at #1 in Subjects / Microsoft Office 365 / Microsoft Excel on our catalog!
  • It has a rating of 4.7/5.0 stars on Class Central.
  • To learn why we selected this course as one of the best of all time, you can read our article for Class Central’s Best of All Time courses here!

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

4. Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations (The University of British Columbia)

Excel’s SUM function at work

My fourth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit with limited access Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations, offered by The University of British Columbia on edX.

As its name suggests, the course is for everyone. So whether you are someone who has little or no understanding of Excel, or someone who uses Excel regularly, but wants to enhance your Excel skills, you can learn the fundamentals of Excel in this course.

From basic operations to an introduction to more advanced techniques, this course will equip you with essential Excel skills so that you can succeed in any organization.

Along with teaching the basic concepts of Excel, this course will also give you a foundational understanding of business data analysis. That’s why, most of the examples used in this course are finance-related. But you can still learn the foundations of Excel since the concepts remain the same across all fields.

What You’ll Learn

In Week 1, you’ll learn about the key foundational features of Excel. These include the Excel user interface, basic Excel terminology, and performing data entry in Excel.

You’ll understand Excel formulas work, and how to incorporate cell and cell ranges within formulas. You’ll also be able to develop your own formulas in Excel using mathematical expressions with a single arithmetic operator.

In Week 2, you’ll be introduced to Excel functions. Functions are a vital part of Excel. Almost every kind of work in Excel requires functions. And it’s equally important to know the syntax of Excel functions in order to apply them effectively.

You’ll learn how to write functions in Excel, use them to perform calculations, and understand the different cell references in order to use them in formulas and functions.

Week 3 is all about formatting your worksheets. Changing the style of your layout can greatly improve the readability and presentation of your work, and also make it easier to use.

You’ll learn how to use formatting tools such as font formatting, alignment, number formatting, and styles to highlight certain elements in your worksheet and make your data more presentable.

Week 4 will teach you how to work with data in Excel. You’ll learn how to manage your spreadsheets, which includes finding required data using Filter and Sort, retrieving and changing existing data into some other data using Find and Replace, and using Conditional Formatting to highlight specific data in your worksheet that require attention.

In Week 5, you’ll take a look at visualizing your data using graphs and charts. It is often easier to interpret an illustration instead of a bunch of boring data.

Representing your data graphically enhances the quality of your work and also draws the user’s attention. You’ll learn about the different options Excel provides for creating attractive graphs and charts to visualize comparisons and trends.

Finally, in Week 6, you’ll end the course by learning all about how to print your worksheets in Excel so that you can share data offline. Printing worksheets in Excel can be a tricky job, but adjusting its layout properly can give great results.

That’s why, you’ll learn how to optimize your spreadsheet for printing by altering print settings such as margins, orientation, headers and footers before finally printing it.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 6 weeks. Each week involves about 4 to 6 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a number of short videos and practice challenges.

Videos are short and interactive, and concepts are taught through real-world problems. All the workbooks are provided so that you can work along. The examples used are mostly financial, but that’s not a limitation. Even if you come from a different background, you can still learn Excel since the fundamentals remain the same.

As for assessments, there is a practice challenge and a graded assignment after every two weeks. For the practice challenges, you’ll need to download the Excel files provided and go through the instructions to solve the problems on your own computer.

At the end of the course, there’s a final assessment where you’ll have to apply all that you’ve learned throughout the course.

Institution The University of British Columbia
Provider edX
Instructor Ricardo Rosado Trujeque
Level Beginner
Workload 24 – 36 hours
Enrollments 107K
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • This course is part of the Professional Certificate in Excel for Everyone.
  • Ricardo owns the company, Explora Studios, where he develops engaging educational content.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

5. Work Smarter with Microsoft Excel (Microsoft)

Working with tables in Excel

My fifth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Work Smarter with Microsoft Excel, offered by Microsoft on Coursera.

Microsoft, being the creator of Excel, knows the software best. So it’s a good idea to learn it directly from them to understand the concepts correctly. This course is well-designed with professional visuals and crisp explanations. The videos are short and to the point, eliminating any extra information that might confuse the learners.

Another great feature of this course is that it will help you prepare for Microsoft’s Exam MO-200: Microsoft Excel (Excel and Excel 2019). This exam tests your ability to use the principal features of Excel such as working with worksheets and workbooks, managing data cells and ranges, creating and editing tables, performing operations using formulas and functions, and representing data visually using graphs and charts.

Obtaining Microsoft’s certification will show that you have industry associate-level expertise in Excel, and will be ready to enter the job market. This means that by completing this course, you will not only learn Excel from the experts, but will also be confident in your Excel skills if you want to sit for Microsoft’s certification exam.

What You’ll Learn

Week 1 is all about the basics of Microsoft Excel. You’ll get to know what Excel can do, the Excel interface, and its general layout and features. You’ll learn how to create new workbooks, save and share workbooks, and move on to manipulating data and working with rows and columns.

You’ll also modify your worksheets by formatting cells, text and numbers, align cell contents, search for and replace data, and spell check a worksheet. You’ll end the week by learning how to print a workbook by adjusting page layout and print options.

In Week 2, you’ll learn Excel’s syntax for writing formulas and functions, and learn how to implement and use formulas and functions with data in Excel. Formulas and functions form the backbone of Excel.

Almost anything you’ll do in Excel will require formulas and functions, that’s why they are absolutely indispensable. You’ll then sort and filter data, define data sets by applying range names, and work with specialized functions, text functions and logical functions.

Next, in Week 3, you’ll move on to organizing and visualizing data in Excel. You’ll learn how to create, format and modify tables and charts, use database functions, manage worksheets and workbooks, understand advanced chart elements such as trendlines.

Trendlines are lines that you can add on your charts to represent the flow of data (in other words, the “trend”). You can also think of this as the best-fit curve. Then, you’ll analyze data using pivot tables and slicers.

Week 4 will teach you how to use some advanced Excel features such as customizing formulas by applying conditional formatting, proofing and saving, customizing the Excel interface, and enhancing workbooks and managing workbook properties.

You’ll also take a look at exporting data and use various data sources to import useful data.

There is an optional “Honors” week at the end of the course. Week 5 will give you an opportunity to put your Excel skills to the test by completing a peer-graded project. Passing this will give you the special “Honors” badge on your certificate!

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 5 weeks. Each week involves about 4 to 5 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and readings.

As I said earlier, the videos are very concise and professional. The readings include step-by-step instructions to practice exercise. All necessary files are provided neatly under the “Resources” section of the course.

Along with the readings, there are ample ungraded practice quizzes in each week to test your knowledge before you attempt the graded quizzes. At the very end, there is an optional “Honors” assignment consisting of two tasks. You’ll need to apply all that you’ve learned in this course to complete them.

The first task lets you demonstrate your skills of working with formulas and functions, modifying worksheets, and managing and printing workbooks. You’ll also be able to show that you can analyze data and use charts to visualize data. The second task, you’ll have to review the same assignment done by a peer and provide constructive feedback.

Institution Microsoft
Provider Coursera
Level Beginner
Workload 20 hours
Enrollments 13K
Rating 4.7/5.0
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

6. Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models (University of Pennsylvania)

Don Huesman, instructor of the course

My sixth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models, offered by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera.

I must mention beforehand that this course focuses on mathematics and building analytical models such as basic cash flow models, linear programming models, what-if analysis, Monte Carlo simulations, and many more. So if that’s what you’re looking for, read on.

Prediction or forecasting is important in many fields of work. By using a good prediction model, you can tell what your future sales will be, for example. Spreadsheets are a powerful tool in this matter. In spreadsheets, you can not only perform simple calculations and data visualizations, but can also build powerful forecasting models.

If you’ve already seen or have access to Excel, it won’t be difficult for you to actually build these models by yourself. This course will guide you through that process by first giving you an introduction to basic spreadsheet tools and formulas. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll see how you can actually use Excel to predict future data.

What You’ll Learn

Week 1 is all about the basics of spreadsheets. You’ll first get an overview of the history of spreadsheets. You’ll learn about their basic capabilities, and how you can create models with them.

You’ll be able to navigate through a spreadsheet, understand different data types used in spreadsheets, spreadsheet notations for mathematical operations, and use built-in formulas and functions in spreadsheets. Other than that, you’ll be able to write your own simple formulas, and troubleshoot common errors.

In Week 2, you’ll move from spreadsheet to model. You’ll start off by organizing and laying out model elements, and learn about the types of objective functions and their use.

You’ll then take a look at the highly-used what-if analysis, sensitivity analysis, and other classic models such as basic cash flow models, sensitivity analysis, linear programming models and deterministic models. By creating assumptions, decision variables, and outcomes, you’ll be able to create  your own models that reflect real-world events.

Week 3 deals with uncertainty and probability calculations using spreadsheets. You’ll learn about random variables, probability distributions, and power, exponential and log functions in model formulas.

You’ll also learn how to measure correlations between variables using spreadsheet statistical functions, and understand the results of functions that calculate correlations. You’ll then take a look at  models for calculating probability trees and decision trees, as well as use regression tools to make predictions.

Finally, in Week 4, you’ll learn about Monte Carlo simulations and linear programs in spreadsheets. These are models widely used for simulation and optimization of real-world scenarios.

You’ll see how you can run Monte Carlo simulations in spreadsheets, understand the different types of problems you can solve with linear programs, and implement  all this in spreadsheets. You’ll learn to model uncertainty and risk, use Excel’s solver tool for optimization, and take a look at the differences between Excel and Sheets.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 4 weeks. Each week involves about 1 to 2 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and readings.

The video lectures are moderately short, giving hands-on demonstrations on solving real-world problems in Excel. The readings consist of lecture slides, Excel files of the examples shown in the videos, and external links to useful resources.

At the end of each week, there’s a graded quiz to test your understanding.

Institution University of Pennsylvania
Provider Coursera
Instructor Don Huesman
Level Mixed
Workload 26 hours
Enrollments 96K
Rating 4.2/5.0 (3.5K)
Certificate Paid

One Thing to Note

Even though this list is for Excel, this course is applicable to other spreadsheets too such as Google Sheets. So this is a one-stop course for any spreadsheet software you want to learn.

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

7. Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel (Rice University)

Sharad Borle, instructor of the course

My seventh pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel, offered by Rice University on Coursera.

This is a very simple and concise course on Excel aimed at beginners. So whether you are someone who wants to learn Excel from scratch, or someone who is somewhat familiar with Excel, this course will help you master the skills required to analyze data in Excel.

Starting at the very basic level, this course builds on simple operations and functionalities to more advanced features of Excel. The course structure is simple, and teaches all the topics you need to know to use Excel for any purpose effectively.

What You’ll Learn

In Week 1, you’ll be introduced to spreadsheets. You’ll see how you can read data into Excel, and manipulate data in Excel, including arithmetic manipulation. You’ll also learn about basic spreadsheet operations and functions, including functions using relative and absolute referencing.

Next, in Week 2, you’ll learn how to organize data in Excel using spreadsheet functions. These include IF, nested IF (“nested” in any programming language means “within itself”; so this basically means IFs within an IF), VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions. These are advanced Excel functions, but popularly used to make data organization in Excel easier.

Moving on, in Week 3, you’ll first brush up your skills on the VLOOKUP function and learn to use it across multiple worksheets. Then you’ll understand data filtering in Excel, and construct and use pivot tables (powerful data summarization tools) to organize data. You’ll also be introduced to creating graphs and charts in Excel for data visualization.

Finally, in Week 4, you’ll end the course by learning more about graphs and charts in Excel. You’ll learn about advanced graphs and charts such as  line graphs, bar graphs and pie charts. You’ll also take a look at pivot charts, scatter plots and histograms.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 4 weeks. Each week involves about 3 to 4 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and a lot of practice exercises.

Each video is dedicated to a particular functionality of Excel. There is a good balance of theory and examples. The instructor, Sharad Borle, explains each topic briefly using slides before moving on to hands-on demonstration.

After each and every video, there’s an ungraded practice quiz to test your knowledge. This means there are ample practice opportunities in this course, which is definitely a plus point! Finally, at the end of each week, there’s a graded quiz that adds to your final score.

Institution Rice University
Provider Coursera
Instructor Sharad Borle
Level Beginner
Workload 20 hours
Enrollments 219K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (9.3K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

8. Excel for Beginners (Davidson College)

Kevin Smith, instructor of the course

My eighth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit with limited access Excel for Beginners, offered by Davidson College on edX.

Like the previous courses on this list, this course is also no exception to teaching you the core foundations of Excel. As the instructor rightly points out, oftentimes, learning the fundamentals of Excel is overlooked and considered too basic.

But if we don’t master these aspects of Excel, it’s going to make our learning later on much more difficult and frankly, much less effective. 

I completely agree with him, and this is true for learning anything for that matter. That’s why, in this course, he will take you through the basics of Excel so that you are much more comfortable with Excel than you imagined. Later on, you’ll be able to build more advanced Excel skills upon this foundation in future.

What You’ll Learn

Week 1 is all about the absolute basics of Excel. You’ll start from the ground up by learning how to open Excel on your computer, and familiarizing yourself with the Excel layout and interface. You’ll also learn basic Excel terminology, and understand how spreadsheets are organized.

Then you’ll move on to the different data types Excel can handle and learn to format cells correctly. You’ll also learn how to enter data in Excel, and explore some useful shortcuts that will help you perform common tasks efficiently.

In Week 2, you’ll learn how to visualize data in the form of charts. plots and graphs. It’s often easier and more appealing to interpret trends and comparisons visually rather than quantitatively.

So here you’ll learn some of the common types of graphs and charts such as bar charts, scatterplots, pie and stacked column charts, and also combine different different plot types according to your needs.

In Week 3, you’ll move on to Excel formulas and functions. You’ll see how you can summarize your data by calculating sums, counts, and averages using simple Excel functions.

Then you’ll learn about cell referencing in Excel which includes relative and absolute references. These are used in Excel formulas and functions to tell Excel which cells to work on. You’ll also learn to sort and filter relevant data in Excel, and finally, end the week with conditional functions.

Finally, in Week 4, you’ll put all your knowledge together and work with tables in Excel. You’ll first learn how to convert data ranges to tables. Then, you’ll learn to create pivot tables in Excel.

Pivot tables are extremely powerful data summarizing and visualization tools, but can be difficult to use if you don’t have a strong grasp of Excel foundations. Pivot tables can be used in complex problems, and you’ll take a look at how to do that too.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 4 weeks. Each week involves about 3 to 5 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, readings and a lot of practice exercises.

There are a lot of practice quizzes throughout the course. Real-world examples of different types are used in this course. The readings are helpful to summarize and gain deeper insights into the topics taught. Downloadable demo Excel files and datasets are also provided.

At the end of the course, there is a final course project. Here, you’ll put all that you’ve learned in this course to the test. You’ll be given two real-world datasets, and you’ll have to follow the instructions to summarize the data accordingly. Even though you can use any tool for this assignment, it is advised that you use pivot tables since they make data summarization a lot easier.

Institution Davidson College
Provider edX
Instructor Kevin Smith
Level Beginner
Workload 12 – 20 hours
Enrollments 25K
Certificate Paid

One Thing to Note

Office 365 is used in this course. But you’ll be able to complete this course using older versions of Excel too since the fundamentals of software remain the same in all versions.

Fun Facts

  • This course is part of the Professional Certificate in Data Analysis Basics with Excel.
  • Along with Excel, Smith also teaches R programming, even though his primary area of expertise is actually biology!

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

9. Excel Basics for Data Analysis (IBM)

What you’ll learn in this course

My ninth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is the free-to-audit Excel Basics for Data Analysis, offered by IBM on Coursera.

IBM always provides crisp and to-the-point courses, and this one is no exception. With clear visuals and IBM’s interactive AI-generated voice, these courses never fail to draw attention to the materials taught. And there’s nothing better than learning Excel from the computer experts. So make sure to check this one out!

A commendable feature of this course (as is the case with many IBM courses) is the use of something known as a “Hands-on Lab”. These are fun practice exercises about which I’ll talk more in the subsequent sections.

What You’ll Learn

In Week 1, you’ll learn about the basics of spreadsheets, spreadsheet terminology, the spreadsheet interface, and navigating your way around worksheets and workbooks.

Week 2 covers basic spreadsheet tasks such as viewing, entering and editing data, and moving, copying and filling data. You’ll also take a look at the fundamentals of Excel formulas, and the most common functions used by a data analyst. You’ll end the week by learning how to reference data in formulas.

Moving on, in Week 3, you’ll learn about the importance of data quality. You’ll learn about the fundamentals of data privacy, and how to import file data into Excel.

Additionally, you’ll understand how to remove duplicate and inaccurate data, and also remove empty rows in your data. You’ll then learn to handle inconsistencies in your data, and finally, see the use of Flash Fill and Text to Columns features of Excel to manipulate and standardize your data.

Week 4 deals with the fundamentals of analyzing data using spreadsheets. Here, you’ll learn how to filter and sort data, and use some of the most useful Excel functions. You’ll take a closer look at the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions, and create and use pivot tables in Excel.

Finally, in Week 5, there’s a peer-graded assignment that will add to your final grade.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 5 weeks. Each week involves about 2 to 3 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, readings, practice exercises and hands-on labs.

The video lectures and demonstrations are professionally built, with an AI voice guiding you through the course. They present all the information to you clearly using quality presentations and examples.

There are ungraded practical exercises throughout the course. Along with that, there are “Hands-on Labs” too. These are ungraded practical exercises, but not in the form of quizzes. You’ll first need to download the Excel file provided and then go through the instructions to solve the problems on your own computer.

There are graded quizzes after each module, and at the end of the course, there is a peer-graded assignment. Once you complete the hands-on labs of Week 5, you’ll have to submit those Excel files for your peers to evaluate.

Institution IBM
Provider Coursera
Instructor Sandip Saha Joy, Steve Ryan
Level Beginner
Workload 12 hours
Enrollments 96.3K
Rating 4.8/5.0 (2.8K)
Certificate Paid

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

10. Data Analysis in Excel (DataCamp)

The process of data analysis in Excel

My tenth pick for the best Microsoft Excel online course is Data Analysis in Excel, offered by DataCamp.

Perhaps the shortest one on this list, this course is no less productive than its preceding ones. Designed in a slightly different fashion, this course is actually broken down into three “chapters”. I’ll talk more about how this works in the subsequent sections. And the coolest feature of this course is that you’ll get to use spreadsheets on your browser!

The instructor starts the course by telling a short story of how she came to use Excel. This is a nice personal touch since many of you will be able to relate to it and realize that learning Excel is not all that daunting!

DataCamp understands that Excel is used as much in institutions as in companies. That’s why they’ll make sure that you’re ready with all the Excel skills that you need in order to be industry-ready.

What You’ll Learn

The very first (free) chapter will take you through the very basics of Excel and using Excel to analyze data. You’ll start off by looking at all the different things Excel is capable of, check out the data analysis steps, set up your spreadsheet environment, and navigate your way through worksheets.

You’ll explore data in Excel, learn to look for exact matches, trim excess data, and sort data in tables. You’ll then move on Excel functions, learn about nesting of functions, and understand the different types of data Excel can handle. Finally, you’ll learn how to classify data types, change other data types to text, and round off decimal values.

In the next chapter, you’ll move on to data cleaning and preparing text and date fields. You’ll also learn about some of the most popular Excel functions including VLOOKUP. You’ll begin by handling text data. This includes cleaning text data, joining text strings, capitalizing words, using upper and lower case, extracting text from cells, and replacing characters.

You’ll then work with date data by preparing date data, finding the day of the week, and figuring out the month. You’ll then learn about some of the most essential functions in Excel, and use them to find matching columns, work with range_lookup, and finally, use the VLOOKUP function.

In the final chapter, you’ll use advanced Excel tools to analyze data. You’ll work with the COUNT function and use it in different scenarios, and take a look at Excel’s capabilities as a calculator. In other words, you’ll learn to use the math functions of Excel. You’ll also be able to use functions to find the minimum value in a dataset, and aggregate data.

You’ll then learn about the logic functions in Excel. You’ll understand the arguments of the IF function, perform logical tests using the IF function, and apply it in more complex tasks. Then, you’ll perform conditional aggregations, find unique values in a dataset, count projects, and determine the average of a set of values.

How You’ll Learn

As I mentioned earlier, the course is broken down into three chapters, and each chapter contains several subtopics. Each chapter involves about 1 to 2 hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and interactive quizzes.

Videos are short, simple and easy to understand. There are two types of quizzes in this course: multiple choice and drag-and-drop. I found these really fun and different from the usual quizzes other courses generally have.

Provider DataCamp
Instructor Jen Bricker
Level Beginner
Workload 4 hours
Enrollments 94K
Certificate Paid

One Thing to Note

Only the first chapter, Exploring Data, has free access. To get the next two chapters, you’ll need to have a Premium account. But as much as we are a fan of free content, we also know that some things are worth paying for.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

Archisha Bhar Profile Image

Archisha Bhar

I am a Content Writer at Class Central and a student of Civil Engineering. Other than engineering, I take interest in art, music, computer, psychology and creative writing.

Comments 0

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. All comments go through moderation, so your comment won't display immediately.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse our catalog

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.

Browse all subjects