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Excel Courses, Classes and Training Program Information

Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program used to gather, store and compute data, like financial reports. Standalone Excel courses are available, as well as those taken as part of a whole program.

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Essential Information

Students seeking Excel training can usually find standalone courses at colleges, universities and adult education centers. Both non-credit and for-credit courses are available. This software is also often covered in undergraduate certificate and degree programs that teach productivity software. Some certificate programs in Excel do exist and usually cover introductory through advanced topics. The latest version of the program is usually covered, although some schools offer coursework that focuses on a previous version.

Typically, the training for a software program like Excel is tiered and hands-on, often featuring beginning, intermediate or advanced formats. Students usually start out taking a beginner's course that gets them accustomed to working with spreadsheets, including making them, using simple formulas, applying formatting and printing them. Intermediate Excel courses cover the use of advanced formulas, graphs, graphics, charts and tables. Those in an advanced course learn to combine worksheets, as well as import, analyze, integrate and export data.

List of Courses

Descriptions of common courses in Excel are shown below.

Beginning Excel

In a beginning Excel course, students develop basic knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite and are introduced to Excel, specifically. Skills are developed in creating Excel spreadsheets and setting up simple calculations and formulas. Students learn how to make changes to an existing worksheet as well how to format new worksheets. A beginning Excel course also covers print set-up and techniques in working with large spreadsheets.

Intermediate Excel

In an intermediate Excel course, students expand on their basic skills in order to implement additional tools such as graphs, charts and advanced formulas. An intermediate course develops skills in graph development and modification, the addition of graphic elements, and the customization of entire workbooks (multiple worksheets that work together). Students in this course may also use PivoTables or PivotCharts, which are interactive graphic elements within the Excel program.

Advanced Excel

In this advanced course, students learn how to automate information based on the skills they have developed in the two previous courses. This course also provides information on how to combine multiple worksheets to handle larger, more complex sets of data. Additional coursework is spent on data analysis, importing (or exporting) data, and coordinating Excel documents with the Web. This course may even give students skills to develop worksheets in XML (Extensible Markup Language).

Training Programs

There are a variety of options for Excel training programs. These programs may be found at community colleges, at private training centers or as part of a continuing education course. There are also some employers, like temp agencies, that may offer Excel training to employees. Microsoft, the company that produces Excel software, also offers an exam to become a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist in Excel.

Excel training courses are typically offered in a 1-day format. Training can last anywhere from a 1-hour basic introduction to a full 8-hour day of training. Excel training programs may be broken down into different levels from beginner to advanced as well as different topics of study. As mentioned in the course list, students may learn anything from how to create tables and formulas to how to input data and share files.

Excel training programs are also offered in conjunction with the various systems and versions available. For example, a student may take an Excel for beginners class based on Excel 2000. Another student may take a similar course based on the Excel 2009 version. Each version of Excel has minor differences in how the programs operate and compute data.

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