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What is Microsoft Excel?

Versions of MS Excel

    • Version 1 (1985)
    • Excel 2.0 (1987)
    • Excel 3.0 (1990)
    • Excel 4.0 (1992)
    • Excel 5.0 (1993)
    • Excel 95 (v7.0)
    • Excel 97 (v8.0)
    • Excel 2000 (v9.0)
    • Excel 2002 (v10.0)
    • Excel 2003 (v11.0)
    • Excel 2007 (v12.0)
    • Excel 2010 (v14.0)
    • Excel 2013 (v15.0)
    • Excel 2016 (v16.0)

Versions of Apple Macintosh

    • 1985 Excel 1.0
    • 1988 Excel 1.5
    • 1989 Excel 2.2
    • 1990 Excel 3.0
    • 1992 Excel 4.0
    • 1993 Excel 5.0
    • 1998 Excel 8.0
    • 2000 Excel 9.0
    • 2001 Excel 10.0
    • 2004 Excel 11.0
    • 2008 Excel 12.0
    • 2010 Excel 14.0
    • 2015 Excel 15.0


What is Microsoft Excel used for?

What is Microsoft Excel used for

Data Analysis

Data analysis is important for an online business or website owner (eCommerce, blog, forums, etc.). It helps in tracking website visitors, product sell, customer reviews, marketing campaigns, user behaviour, and events. Microsoft Excel helps in filtering users data by country, filtering users by age, adding conditional formulas in big data, etc. smartly in excel.

Report Generation

Both online and offline companies and clients making it mandatory for the staff to maintain their daily progress reports. So they can easily create a table with Date, Time, Client, Task, Duration, and status according to clients or managers. Even companies can use it to track down daily progress reports.

Data upload/download through CSV

Many organisations keep valuable data in Excel and CSV files. Hence, by using MS Excel one can easily upload or download a file through CSV.

  1. Entrepreneurs & Business Owners – can analyse team and individual performance, business progress & payout details. They can store and present extensive data using multiple tables, pivot tables, data highlighters, sorters, sheets etc.
  2. Students & Teachers – can use excel to educate students in the classrooms by using table styles, charts, shapes, data tools, and other formulas. Also, students can learn to solve fundamental and logical statistical & mathematical problems in excel.
  3. Goal Setting & Planning – With the use of MS Excel, setting up goals and planning becomes efficient, quick and easy.
  4. Excel for Housewives – To manage monthly expenses & save money, excel becomes a useful tool for homemakers. They can track down and control the spending habits of each member of the family.
  5. Developing Future Strategies – MS excel can be used to anticipate investments and significant expenses for a future date and present in the form of charts and graphs. It will help to identify the trends and compare each possibility easily.
  6. Create a Calendar or Schedule – Excel can help track a weekly, monthly or yearly calendar or a personal appointment. You can schedule it for managing bill payments, homework, etc., the excel can easily compile, filter, search, organise and simplify your data.
how ms excel work

How does Microsoft Excel work?

MS Excel is also known as a Workbook. A workbook has at least one Worksheet where you can store and calculate data. There can be many worksheets stored inside a workbook. Each worksheet can have a unique name.

Worksheets contain columns and rows. You can enter a large amount of text, or you can enter a date, number, or formula in a cell. Each cell can be formatted individually with distinct border, background colour, and font colour/size/type.

Excel isn’t complicated as it sounds. It is here to make your lives more comfortable in handling extensive data. There are plenty of shortcuts and tips that you can utilise whether you’re a total newbie or a professional expert.

  • Sorting Data – Spreadsheets help sort data. Let’s say if you want to sort a list of 1000 people whom you want to invite for an office party. Now if you want them listed in alphabetical order by the first name or want to group them together by city, it becomes comfortable with excel. You just have to select the entire data by dragging the cursor and hit the ‘DATA’ tab on top. Now click the “Sort’ button and decide how you want your data to be sorted and hit the “OK” button. Your data will be sorted accordingly.
  • Remove duplicates – You can remove duplicate data easily with just a click. Just highlight the entire data set and click the “Data” tab. Now hit the “Remove Duplicates” button and select what columns you want to find the duplicates and then hit “OK”.
  • MS Excel Format Painter – Just select the cell you wish to replicate. Now in the Home menu click Format Painter. A paintbrush will be displayed next to the cursor. Click on the brush to apply all of the attributes from that cell to any other.
  • Import Data Into Excel – You can combine different types of data from all kinds of sources. Under the Data tab use the options from the Get External Data option. Check and use the appropriate option for your data.
  • Freeze Excel Rows And Columns – when it comes to viewing lengthy spreadsheets Freeze Panes feature under the View menu is very helpful. It will help you to keep a track of how the data was organised.

Similarly, there are many other features like entering Data Patterns, Hiding Spreadsheet Rows and Columns, Excel Charts, Copying Formulas Or Data Between Worksheets, etc., that makes working with raw data possible.

What are some basic MS Excel skills?

ms excel skill

Developing your MS Excel skills can be a great way to kick start your career. If you have plans to make a career as a data analyst or simply hone your excel skills, then these are the areas where you can improve.

      • PivotTables
      • Flash Fill
      • Sorting and Filtering
      • Slicers
      • COUNTIF
      • Sparkline
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Conditional Formatting
  • Power Pivots
  • Keyboard shortcuts
what is taught in ms excel

What is taught in an MS Excel Course?

For a beginner, the Microsoft Excel course will have essential topics. Similarly, for an intermediate and advanced learner, the course topics will be different and broad. Your tutor/trainer will drive you through the detail of each chapter to help you get a clear concept.

By the end of each course, you’ll learn-

    • The Basics of Microsoft Excel
    • Excel functions used in the office
    • How to use Microsoft Excel in your daily tasks through macros and VBA
    • How to maintain large sets of Excel data in a list or table
    • To create dynamic reports with one of the popular tools – PivotTables
    • To unlock dynamic formulas with IF, VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH functions and many more.

To enrol with the best tutor near you join an MS Excel class today and widen your knowledge of spreadsheet programmes.

Microsoft Excel Certification

ms excel certificate

Having a Microsoft Certification will boost open doors to many career opportunities. Microsoft has licensed Certiport to provide Excel certification. The two most recent tests (as of April 2019) are Excel 2016 and Excel 2016 Expert. This certification is recognised globally and gets better recognition and competitive edge over non-certified professionals.

Certification Courses

This Microsoft Excel course includes four different courses.

  • Microsoft Excel – An Introduction to Excel
  • Microsoft Excel – Intermediate Level Excel
  • Microsoft Excel – Advanced Level Excel
  • Master Microsoft Excel Macros and VBA in 6 Simple Projects

Course Fee

There are two prices: $100 if you are taking the test for the first time and $120 for the second trial in case you don’t pass in the first shot.

Certification Exams

Microsoft Excel Certification exam is held for 90 minutes.

Exam Centre : All Microsoft Office Specialist exams are administered by Certiport. You can schedule your exam here. MOS Exams are also available in different languages

The exam results will be displayed immediately on your screen upon completion of the exam. Student’s who pass the exam will receive (by post) an official certificate within approximately 2 to 3 weeks.


MS Excel Course Fees

The MS Excel course fee depends entirely on – experience of the trainer, duration of the course, level of the course – basic, intermediate and advanced level.

In a city like Mumbai, it will easily cost you between Rs. 3000 – 5000 per month and in Bangalore, it will cost in between Rs 3000 – 5500 per month.

Similarly, different cities will have different price ranges. To know more about the costs of MS Excel courses in your area, use our UrbanPro calculator.

Best Online MS Excel Certification Courses

online certified

Microsoft Excel is a vast course. If you are planning to learn excel, then many tutors provide online certification courses for basic to advance level. Choose the right course and get started with your excel training.

These are the best online MS Excel certification courses.

    • MS Excel – Basic
    • MS Excel – Advanced
    • MS Excel – Pivot Tables
    • MS Excel – Macros and VBA
    • MS Excel – Dashboards
    • MS Excel – Power Query
    • MS Excel – Power Pivot
    • MS Excel – Power BI

Advantages of



There are many advantages of learning MS Excel. By learning the necessary excel skills, you save a good amount of time. Whether you are a businessman, teacher, freelancer, accountant or student, it’s going to be very beneficial in saving time and efforts.

Some of the advantages of knowing Excel are:

    • It helps in analysing and storing data
    • Makes your work easier by using excel tools
    • It helps in data recovery and spreadsheets
    • MS Excel formulas make things easier
    • It can add sophistication to data presentations
    • It will boost career opportunities for employment
    • It keeps the data combined at one place
    • It helps in managing expense easily

Frequently used Excel Formula/Features

Keeping excel formula handy can be of great help, particularly while handling extensive data. It will help you complete your work faster and give relevant results at the same time.

Given below are some of the commonly used yet important Excel formulas that every excel user must know:

  • INDEX MATCH - This function is the combination of two functions in Excel. Formula =INDEX(list of values, MATCH(what you want to lookup, lookup column, sorting identifier)
  • IF with AND / OR - To test more than one condition with IF function. Formula – IF(OR(Logical1,Logical2),value_if_true,value_if_false)
  • CHOOSE - Formula =CHOOSE(choice, option1, option2, option3). This function will help you to get a value from a list by specifying the position of that value.
  • XNPV and XIRR - Formula : XNPV(discount rate, cash flows, dates). This function is used in discounting cash flows.
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF - Formula: =SUMIF(range, criteria, [sum range]). This will return the sum of the values within a desired range of cells that all meet one criterion.
  • PMT, PPMT, IPMT - Formula: PMT(interest rate, # of periods, present value). PMT is used to calculate the termly payment amount, including Interest Amount and Principal Amount excluding the Tax amount. PPMT – Use to calculate only the Principal Amount that you need to pay per term to the Bank. IPMT is used to calculate only the Interest Amount that you need to pay per term to the Bank.
  • LEN and TRIM - The Len function is used to get how many characters a string has, and TRIM would remove all spaces except single space in between words. Formula: =LEN(text) and =TRIM(text)
  • CONCATENATE - This function will help you to combine data into one cell. For example, you had a first and last name, given in cells A1 and B2 then you would type =CONCATENATE(A1,” “, B2) to get required data below.
  • LEFT, MID and RIGHT functions - The LEFT function can return text from the beginning of a cell (left to right), MID returns the text from any start point of the cell (left to right), and RIGHT returns the text from the end of the cell (right to left).
  • Max & Min - To find the minimum and maximum values in the rows. Example: =MAX(A1:A10) to get the maximum value and =MIN(A1:A9) to get the minimum amount.
  • VLOOKUP - This function lets you find something in the leftmost column of a spreadsheet and return it as a value. Example =VLOOKUP(lookup value, the table being searched, index number, sorting identifier).

Cost of MS Excel

excel cost

MS Excel is a part of Microsoft Office. You can buy Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal as a package.

Office 365 Home

Office 365 Personal

₹ 5,299.00/year

₹ 4,199.00/year

Rs 530 per month

Rs 420 per month

Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How to split full name into separate cells?

To split full names into separate cells, use Data>Text to Columns and specify the comma as a delimiter.

⭐ Can I format a cell to blink or flash when a condition is met

No, you can not. To change the cell colour use conditional formatting.

⭐ How can I add a bar above a character?

Change the font to Symbol before you type the character for which you want the overbar. Type ` character to create the bar. You can stay or switch to a different font, and type the character that has the overbar.

⭐ How to return the name of a sheet in a cell without using code?

To return the name of a sheet use CELL, FIND and the MID FUNCTION. The formula is =MID(CELL(“filename”,A1),FIND(“]”,CELL(“filename”,A1))+1,255)

⭐ Can we write a SUMIF worksheet formula to sum visible cells only?

Yes, you can. Use the SUBTOTAL function if the cells are hidden as a result of AutoFiltering with nine as the first argument.

⭐ How to use shortcut keys?

Press the ALT key on the keyboard. You will see a letter on each tab of the ribbon.  After pressing the letter with the ribbon tab each function will display a letter, letter combination or number keystroke. It will be displayed in upper case letters but not case sensitive if a combination of letters is shown press the first one followed by the second one.

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