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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Microsoft Excel: The reason you may not be as proficient at Office as you think

By: Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont

Experience and knowledge of Microsoft Office is a requirement for almost any position in any industry.  Because it is a primary software used by students, business people  and recreationally, a computer without Office installed on it is useless in many ways.  While most people would say they are proficient in its programs such as Word and PowerPoint, the one that seems to cause the most trouble is Excel.  If you are struggling with Excel and do not know where to start, here are three areas you should improve.

Sure, you could take the numbers in the invoice you are making and add them on a separate calculator for the total, but wouldn't it make more sense to let the program do it for you?  Excel is very tedious and anything you can do to make things run more smoothly will be to your advantage.  Equations such as addition, subtraction, and so on will mean less work for you and will be able to automatically adjust for changes you may make later in your data.  They can be a great asset for creating templates that will be frequently used.

Pivot Tables
Pivot tables are more advanced, but they pay off more than equations ever could.  A pivot table allows a user to take large amounts of data and turn it into something that can be easily understood and used for learning.  An example is a local newspaper looking at the results from their latest mailing campaign for subscriptions.  The pivot table gives the option of looking at weekly subscriptions vs. daily subscriptions, returning subscribers vs. new ones, and so on.  Use these to avoid confusion and bring some clarity to your information.

This is not an actual function offered by Excel, but is the responsibility of the user.  Learn what makes a spreadsheet look presentable. Although the information may be the same, a sheet with bolded titles and differently shaded columns for easier reading will go a lot farther than one without.  Find what you feel to be a nice look and put in the time to make it happen, especially if you are not the only seeing it. 
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