How to Learn Excel Free

Free resources for learning Excel 2013 are plentiful, but it's important to pick the one most tailored to the way you learn. If you absorb information best by listening, video tutorials might be best for you. Visual learners tend to like books and website posts. However, the hands-on, or kinesthetic learner, often prefers instructor-led training where they can try concepts themselves in a classroom setting. Keep experimenting until you find the best options for you.

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Microsoft support and other free resources for Excel abound
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Tutorials and Webinars From Microsoft

Microsoft has divided their 26 tutorials for Excel 2013 into three sections: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

  • The beginner modules include skills like basic math, creating spreadsheets and charts, using Excel's autofill feature and working in Excel online.
  • Intermediate tutorials cover the switch to Excel 2013, headers and footers, conditional formatting, sorting and filtering and intermediate functions like VLOOKUP.
  • Finally, the advanced topics delve into macros, advanced IF functions, array formulas, workbook protection and pivot tables.

All of these tutorials are free at the Microsoft site.

GCF LearnFree Modules

If you prefer to break your learning down into smaller pieces with pictures, might be a better option. Their Excel 2013 series has 28 modules, along with 5 "extras" that include topics like "Customizing the Ribbon" and "Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office." There's a quiz included to test your comprehension. The GCF Excel series begins with Office and Excel basics and progresses to advanced topics like pivot tables and what-if analysis.

Watch Videos to Learn By Doing

A search for "Excel 2013 videos" on any browser will yield hundreds of results. Two instructors who are particularly clear and concise are Simon Calder of Simon Sez IT and Jeff Lenning from Excel University.

Both instructors have books and courses available that cost money and follow along with their videos, but their videos are free and easy to follow.

Read About Excel

A quick browse online at Amazon, shows the top titles For Excel 2013. Most of these guides can also be found in the book section of your local technology store.

  • Beezix Inc's Microsoft Excel 2013 Introduction Quick Reference Guide (laminated)
  • Excel 2013 Bible
  • Greg Harvey's Excel 2013 For Dummies

Finally, another resource for inexpensive Excel "quick guides" is the Nevada Learning Series.

Take a Class

Local community centers and colleges are a good place to find out about computer training. If you live in the larger markets, national computer learning centers like New Horizons offer hands on instructor-led training. If you aren't sure where to begin, get online and look for recommendations for your local area.

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