Microsoft Excel is perhaps the most important computer software program used in the workplace today. That's why so many workers and prospective employees are required to learn Excel to enter or remain in the workplace.
From the viewpoint of the employer, particularly those in the field of information systems, the use of Excel as an end-user computing tool is essential. Not only are many business professionals using Excel to perform everyday functional tasks in the workplace, an increasing number of employers rely on Excel for decision support.
In today’s working environment, without a proficiency in Excel you could end up in the situation below:
To help prevent you ever having to experience this situation here are five of the top features and benefits of Microsoft Excel:
1) Build great charts
Excel allows business users to unlock the potential of their data, by using formulas across a grid of cells. Data is inserted into individual cells in rows or columns, allowing it to be sorted and filtered, and then displayed in a visual presentation. Using pie charts, graphs and clustered columns adds meaning to data, which otherwise may just exist as row after row of numbers. These visualisations can add extra emphasis to business reports and persuasive marketing material.
2) Use conditional formatting
Excel users can format their spreadsheets using different colours, bolds and italics, to differentiate between columns and bring the most important data to the fore. The vast number of tasks that can be achieved using this tool is impressive, here are just a few: Display simple icons which represent related data, Highlighting a row based on a single value, Comparing values, Comparing lists and Finding duplicates. Find out more about conditional formating.
3) Help identify trends
When presenting data in the form of charts or graphs, it can be helpful to include average lines, which explicitly detail the key trends emerging from the information. This may help demonstrate the key points to other users in a straightforward manner - for instance, an executive from a different department during a board meeting. Excel allows trend lines to be extended beyond the graph, to offer predictions of future activity - and such forecasts can help businesses develop their future strategy.
4) Bring data together
Excel can be used to bring information from various files and documents together, so that it exists in a single location. As well as raw data and information from other spreadsheets, it is possible to import text and images. Other objects can be added using the Insert tab, or additional spreadsheets can be added to the file.
5) Online access
Excel is available online as part of Microsoft's Office 365 productivity suite. This means business leaders and employees have access to the program from a range of devices, from almost any location. Providing they have a web-enabled PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet it should be possible to access Excel, making remote and mobile working viable.
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