How to Create an Excel Spreadsheet: 5 Excel Skills You Should Know

excel skills

Did you know that there are an estimated 750 million Excel users worldwide? That number is no surprise, considering that Excel is a handy tool that can optimize how you view and analyze data. However, becoming proficient in Excel can take a lot of time and practice, taking that it is a tool that can be challenging to understand.  

Even if you know how to navigate it, there’s a lot to know about the program that can make you a more efficient and successful user. So, if you’ve been looking to learn some Excel skills that can help you justify adding that you know the program to your resume, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here are five Excel skills that are helpful to know when creating a spreadsheet.

1. Creating a Spreadsheet 

Creating a spreadsheet is the most basic Excel skill anyone can learn, but the most crucial one since it’s the first step to being able to do anything on the program. The good news is that creating a spreadsheet is very easy, and there are a few ways to do it. 

The first and most common approach to creating a spreadsheet is this: 

  • Open the program
  • Double-click on “create blank workbook” 

Another way to create a spreadsheet is to: 

  • Open the program 
  • Click “file” 
  • Click “new” 

With both of these approaches, a blank worksheet will appear. To change the name of your spreadsheet, go to file, save as, and assign a name and location where you want to keep it. 

2. Editing and Formatting Cells

In Excel, “cells” refers to the little rectangles you can use to add data. Each cell has a different code name based on its location on the spreadsheet concerning rows and columns. Each column in a spreadsheet is labeled with a letter, while each row is marked with a number. 

So, the first cell in the spreadsheet will be called “A1,” the one next to it will be named “B2,” and so on. Similarly, the cell below A1 will be called “A2,” the one below that “A3,” and so on.

To add information to any of the cells, all you have to do is select it and start typing or adding your data. At the top of the spreadsheet, you’ll find helpful tools under the “home” menu that will allow you to fill cells with colors, underline, bold, and italicize text, change the font, etc. 

Furthermore, if you need to format your cells, you can select all of them (or just the ones you wish to edit), right-click, and select “format cells.” A menu will pop up, allowing you to change things like cell alignment, numeric values, and borders. 

If you need to make your cells larger to fit more data, you can do so by finding the “format” drop-down list on the “home” menu. Clicking on it will allow you to customize your cell’s height and width, making it easier to fit all the data you want. 

3. Inserting Formulas and Functions

There are many different formulas and functions that you can use to optimize your spreadsheets and save you some time. To use Excel formulas and functions, you’ll need to be familiar with the program’s code names. The most basic ones include: 

  • SUM, which is used to add values
  • COUNT, which is used to count a specific amount of numbers in a section
  • AVERAGE, which takes the mean of a range of numbers 
  • TRIM, which eliminates empty spaces
  • MAX & MIN, which helps you find the biggest and smaller number in a range

Luckily, memorizing them is unnecessary, considering that the program can help you find them when working on a spreadsheet.

If you want to find these functions within the program, go to the “formulas” menu, click on “insert function,” and pick out the one you need. Then, add the names of the cells inside the parentheses, and click enter. Excel will do the math for you!

If you don’t want to use the quick-add option to add a formula, add a “=” inside a cell and manually type in your formula or function. 

4. Creating Charts and Graphs

Another skill that will make your Excel spreadsheets look professional is adding charts and graphs to represent data. To do so, all you have to do is: 

  • Select the data you want to show in your graph 
  • Go to the “Insert” menu at the top of the spreadsheet
  • Click on “recommended charts” and pick the one you like

Once the program creates your desired chart, click on the “chart elements” drop-down menu to edit axis titles, data labels, etc. 

To create pivot tables, you can use the same steps mentioned above, but instead of choosing “recommended charts,” click on “recommended pivot tables.” 

5. Filtering Data 

Finally, another important Excel skill that you should learn is how to filter your data. Filtering your numbers can be very helpful if you are trying to find a specific value.

To do this, start by selecting the cells you want to filter. Then, click on the “Data” menu at the top of the spreadsheet. Within the menu, you’ll find a button labeled “sort” and another one labeled “filter.”

Both of these buttons will be crucial to help you better analyze your data. Once you click on them, all you have to do is specify what you are looking for and/or how you want your data sorted. 

Putting These Excel Skills to Good Use

Now that you know about these important Excel skills, you’ll have a much easier time navigating the program. Excel can be a fantastic tool for analyzing data, creating a budget spreadsheet, and much more. 

So, what are you waiting for? Open the program, and start applying these skills today!