Microsoft Excel is an incredible tool for data storage and analysis. Simply put, not enough people know about its capabilities. But with The Premium A to Z Microsoft Excel Bundle, you can learn Excel from scratch or tackle its most complex functions, all in one place.
This $39.99 bundle from store.cnn.com concentrates on providing something for every Excel user out there. There are 10 courses in total, adding up to more than 40 hours of lessons. Some of these courses are designed entirely for new users, such as the Microsoft Excel Essentials courses. If you’ve never even opened Excel before, this is a great place to jump in. Meanwhile, for those who already have some expertise, there are lessons that will teach you macros, DAX syntax and other advanced techniques. Even if you’re an Excel master, you’ll find something to learn from the instructors.
So whatever experience level you may be, read on to see how our hands-on experience went.
Here’s how these courses work
The introductory courses will help you get your feet wet with some of Excel’s most basic, yet useful functions. Meanwhile, expert instructors have advanced lessons that will challenge even seasoned Excel users.
We found the use of visual walkthroughs and bountiful examples to be the most appealing aspect of this bundle. For the most part, the instructors make it abundantly clear where to click and help you understand what makes a given Excel function useful.
Of course, one of the best things about this bundle is lifetime access. Once you buy it, you’ll have it forever. Skip between lessons or start from scratch wherever you are. As long as you have a device capable of streaming, you can learn 24/7, at home or on the go.
Microsoft Excel Essentials, Level 1 Basics: Excel Made Simple
This group of lessons starts with the assumption that you haven’t opened Excel before (of course, you can skip the early lessons if you have). The instructor, Alan Jarvis, takes you through the user interface in great detail. We really appreciated the detail he goes into here, zooming in to show us exactly what he’s referring to throughout the lessons. He also goes over some basic functions, like auto-filling sequences to easily make a list of dates or numbers.
From there, you’ll move on to simple formulas like averages, division and sums. Jarvis does an exceptional job at breaking down formulas and functions. He even provides a review of the order of mathematical operations, for those of us who are a little out of practice. Later, he covers somewhat advanced functions like rounding, as well as how to build a complex formula that can help you solve bigger problems.
By the end, Jarvis dedicates a large section of lessons to miscellaneous essentials, like creating a new worksheet and freezing columns and rows to make them follow your screen. You’ll also learn how to filter your data so you can take a look at specific values at a time. While there are plenty of great lessons here, our only complaint was that there weren’t even more.
These lessons are clear and concise, perfect for users just starting out with Microsoft Excel. The bundle also comes with intermediate and advanced courses, also taught by Jarvis, once you’re ready to move on.
Excel Pro Tips: Data Visualization
This course is all about specific, powerful Excel functions for visualizing and manipulating data. Chris Dutton covers shortcuts, formulas and even plug-ins built into Excel. His lessons are not in a linear order; instead, they are self-contained demos that you can learn in any order. And this lesson has what is by far our favorite downloadable course guide, organizing everything by category, topic and difficulty.
Dutton’s lessons vary greatly in complexity. But what doesn’t vary are his great demonstrations and examples of use cases. One of his first lessons covers allowing Excel charts to display data that would otherwise be hidden. In addition to showing you how to pull it off, he explains where this function would be most useful.
Finally, there are expert lessons, such as the creation of dynamic source data with named ranges. Dynamic data essentially changes, moves and continuously updates over time. Lessons like these are a little longer, requiring multiple steps to reach the ultimate goal. But Dutton lays each step out from the start and then walks you through them, providing valuable use case examples along the way.
We were very impressed with these lessons, particularly with Dutton’s use of concrete examples throughout each demonstration.
Advanced Microsoft Excel Training
Like the data visualization course, this one focuses on specific functions of Excel that you can use for a variety of purposes. Webucator, a global training company, created this course, which is made up of a combination of text instructions and presentations. At the start, you will download some class files for trying out various activities on your own and along with the instructors. After some brief instructions on how to download the files, they dive right in.
The first section of lessons goes over the creation of a pivot table. This is an essential Excel tool that allows you to analyze, organize and rearrange a large amount of data with ease. We followed along the lessons, at first reading through written instructions and viewing screenshots of different Excel interfaces. This wasn’t the easiest to follow along with — it felt visually disorganized. However, the review lessons in video form cleared up most of our uncertainties. Later in these lessons, you’ll find ways to get more out of your pivot tables, such as inserting charts. At the end is a very short quiz to test your vocabulary and knowledge. These quizzes could have done with a few more questions.
A later section of this course deals with creating macros, which will run step-by-step instructions to perform advanced functions you’d otherwise have to do manually. These lessons take the same form as the rest — text instructions with visuals, interspersed with review videos. There are exercises throughout to help you better conceptualize the tools you’re using.
Overall, we enjoyed these lessons for their use of exercises and review videos. It would have been nice if the text sections were structured better, but this was a minor weakness compared to the strength of these lessons.
Despite the variation in teaching styles in each course, we found this bundle to be an invaluable resource of Excel knowledge. We really appreciated how well the instructors walked us through the Excel interface. Along with examples of real use cases, be they in theoretical or exercise form, we found it easy to understand the concepts we were learning.
All-in-all, we think the Premium A to Z Microsoft Excel Bundle ($39.99; store.cnn.com) should be your go-to guide to Excel, especially since it’s available for life upon your purchase.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.