Excel Crash Course:
Learn Excel in Just 30 Minutes (Free)

If you’re looking for the quickest way to learn Excel, this crash course is all you need 🙂

I’ve taken what I learned from teaching Excel for 7 years and designed a 7-part free crash course that teaches you Excel in 30 minutes.

In short: If you want to be more productive at work, land your dream job, do basic data analysis and not fall behind your colleagues, this is the guide to read.

Scroll down and get started now!

Topic #1: Getting started with Excel

One of the great things about Excel is that the structure of an Excel file is great for data-geeks (like me!).

Not a data-geek? 🤓

Let me fill you in.

Any spreadsheet consists of rows (horizontal) and columns (vertical).

The intersection between a row and a column forms a cell.

If you left-click on a cell and start typing, you can store information like text or numbers in a cell.

Rows columns and cells in Excel

This is the foundation of everything in Excel.

This row/column grid is used to store information in thousands (even millions) of cells at once.

Using this for keeping track of information is fine…

But the true power of Excel lies within its capabilities to work with the cells and give meaning to them.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

The next topic covers a very fundamental part of Excel: how to do calculations with cells.

But before diving into that, you need to know how to use the Excel ribbon, sheets, saving files, and how to copy/paste.

If you want a quick tour of this, read my guide on ‘How to use Excel’ here.

Note: this guide is written in Excel 2019 for Windows. But you can follow along if you have Excel 2010 or newer.

Already got that covered?

Great!

Then let’s move on to doing calculations with cells using formulas.

Topic #2: Calculating with ‘Formulas’

So, you’ve got the basics of the basics covered…

Now, I’m going to blow your mind 💣

Have you met those people who store numbers in Excel and then pull out an actual calculator to add or subtract?

Maybe you do that yourself?

You’re breaking my heart 💔

I promise you: You don’t have to do that ever again.

Excel does everything your calculator does – only a gazillion times faster!

Just type an equal sign in a cell and start calculating.

Formula in a cell

Type your formula, hit ‘Enter’ and the result will show in the cell.

Easy-peasy, right?

Now, go burn all your calculators 🔥

Of course, you can do many types of calculations within Excel. And they all have their own symbol, called an ‘operator’.

For instance:

Use + for addition and – for subtraction (makes sense, right?)

Use / for division

Use * for multiplication

Read my guide to all specific calculations within Excel here.

“Kasper, you told me formulas was going to blow my mind… But they don’t seem much better than a normal calculator?”

You

Oh yeah, sorry…

A formula, on its own, is no miracle.

But it will be in a few seconds!

Topic#3: Put your formulas on steroids with ‘References’

Formulas themselves are not real game-changers – because they’re basically big calculators.

But when you use the cells in a spreadsheet inside the formulas, that’s when it takes off!

A reference is a cell address, that you put in a formula like this:

=100/E5

What’s the result of this formula?

I don’t know… 🤷

It depends on whatever is in cell E5.

The E5 part of the formula is a reference to cell E5, that mirrors the value in the cell.

If you type 20 in cell E5, the result of the formula is 5, as illustrated here:

Example of reference inside a formula

This is huge!

That means you can calculate things at a much bigger scale, much faster than you ever could.

Here, I’ve found the differences between start and end values by typing =B2-A2 in cell C2 and copying it down to the cells below.

Example of subtracting using references in a formula

Cool, right?

That’s the sort of things you can do with references. And much more.

References are an integral part of working with Excel.

But there’s more to it than this.

Read my guide here to learn everything you need to know about references.

Topic#4: Standing on the shoulders of giants with ‘Functions’

Until now, you’ve learned most of the crucial building blocks of working with Excel and not against it.

But there are still a few left.

Functions are one of these fundamental Excel-features you absolutely need to use.

Functions are small snippets of pre-made formula that does something specific 🔨

The SUM function sums up numbers.

The MIN function finds the lowest number in a bunch of cells.

Guess what the MAX function does?

Many of the simple (but useful) functions are almost identical.

So, when you know how to use one, you know how to use them all 👍

In the image below, I use the SUM function to sum up the values in cell D2 through D6.

How to use the SUM function

Want to find the lowest value in column D?

Replace ‘SUM’ with ‘MIN’:

=MIN(D2:D6)

Formulas vs. functions – what’s the difference?

A formula and a function are not the same.

A function is always a part of a formula, but a formula is never a part of a function.

Difference between formula and function

Cool, right?

And there are functions for all your needs and wants in Excel.

You can use functions to find averagescount stuffwork with dates, and much more!

Oh, and here are my guides to the SUM and MIN/MAX functions, if you want to dive deeper.

Topic#5: Making sense of data with ‘Filters’

Eventually, you’re going to face a spreadsheet that’s too big to make any sense.

I coped with this by going to the bathroom to cry 😢

Until a friend told me a better way…

A filter turns your big dataset into a smaller dataset that shows you exactly what you’re looking for.

  1. Select a cell in your dataset
  2. Go to the ‘Data’ tab
  3. Click the ‘Filter’ button
  4. Click the small arrow next to the column you want to filter
  5. Filter away the stuff you don’t want to see and click ‘OK’.
Set filter in spreadsheet

Here, I’ve filtered the dataset, so it only shows orders made by Aubrey.

In a big spreadsheet, this would’ve taken me forever to find.

Filters are great for data analysis!

Excel contains more great tools for data analysis like sorting, advanced filters, and freezing panes. Learn all this (+ much more) in my premium Excel-training, Zero to Hero.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Topic#6: Put your make up on with ‘Formatting’

Spreadsheets look inherently boring…

But they don’t have to!

With a few tricks, you can make your spreadsheet easy on the eyes in less than 60 seconds ⏱️

Follow these steps:

  1. Put borders around headers
  2. Change cell color in header cells
  3. Insert a thousand separator in big numbers

And it’ll look like this:

Formatting a spreadsheet with fill color, borders and number formatting

Looks pretty good for a standard spreadsheet, right?

You do the coloring and the borders by selecting cells and using the formatting tools in the ‘Home’ tab.

You insert the thousand separators with number formatting, making the numbers more readable 👀

Pro-tip: Format painter

If you see any formatting you like, you can easily copy it to your own sheet with the format painter.

Read all about it here.

Topic#7: Taking it to the next step with advanced functions

Oh, you’re in for a treat 🍭

Excel contains functions that do much more than finding totals or minimum values.

The IF function enables your formula to react to what’s in other cells and change accordingly.

Let’s use the IF function to calculate the commission for our staff.

If the price of an order is above 100,000 the commission is 5% of the price.

If the price is 100,000 or below, the commission is 3%.

The formula to calculate that is:

=IF(C2>100000,C2*0.05,C2*0.03)

In Excel, it looks like this:

IF function in Excel formula

Pretty cool, right?

IF brings logic to your cells. And this logic is used in many other functions as well.

Among some of the most powerful are: SUMIF, COUNTIF, and nested IF functions.

About the author

Author Kasper Langmann

I’m Kasper Langmann, co-founder of Spreadsheeto, and a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (cool, huh?).

I’ve worked with everything Excel for 10 years and have more than 7 years of experience teaching it online.

You can learn more about me here.

2019-10-06T08:24:14+00:00