What Are the Benefits of Microsoft Excel?

I have long contended that if you could learn only one computer application, it should be Microsoft Excel. Excel provides numerous benefits to individual private users and business owners and employees. Electronic spreadsheets aren't new to business. In fact, one form or another of electronic spreadsheet application software has been available since VisiCalc was introduced in 1979. Lotus 123 (1983) and Excel (1987) followed with each, in turn, dominating the market. Today, Excel is the most widely used electronic spreadsheet application in the world.

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Benefits Not Features

The benefits of Microsoft Excel to a business are often confused with its features, functions, and formulas. While Excel is capable of performing nearly all of the computing needs of a business, at least at some level, its benefits are in how it enables business information, analysis, and reporting. The same holds true for individual home users as well.

To illustrate this point, is having the information from an analysis performed in Excel of more value to a business owner or manager than the fact that Excel can do linear regression? The information and the fact that Excel has this capability is a benefit, while the functions and formulas available in the package are features. Nice to have features, but still only features.

The capabilities of Excel are benefits to a bsiness.cept of woman business analysis - data sheet, and laptop
The capabilities of Excel are benefits to a bsiness.
credit: Jakub Jirsák/iStock/Getty Images

The Major Benefits to Business

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