How to Excel at Excel

What is the most disruptive corporate app of all time? Most people will concede that it’s probably Microsoft Excel. Since it’s introduction in the 1980s, it quickly became the leading corporate productivity tool. Whether you want to be an investment banker, a data guru, or even work in marketing (the links will take you to jobs), being adept at MS Excel is often a critical skill. Being really good at it can often be a massive advantage regardless of the job you do.

A Handy Excel Tutorial

We were really excited when one of our favorite bloggers, Joel Spolsky, CEO of Fog Creek Software, and former program manager of the Excel team when he worked at Microsoft, recently uploaded a video tutorial on how to be good at Excel. It’s on YouTube and we have embedded it below. It’s nearly an hour long and designed for beginner and intermediate Excel users, but we found that it contained lots of handy tips and reminders for more advanced users as well. Moreover, in his usual style, he makes it fun and engaging and makes you forget that it’s a tutorial. Check out the whole thing below.

The Origins of Excel and the Spreadsheet

NPR’s popular podcast, Planet Money, recently had an entire episode dedicated to Excel today. We often take such software tools for granted today, and it’s easy to forget that spreadsheets were a real thing. They were massive sheets of paper, spread out often across an entire room, so accountants could do calculations and prepare financial statements. A simple change often meant weeks of work and recalculation. It’s a hilarious, engaging episode, and even discusses the Financial Modeling World Championships (yes, there is such a thing!). Check it out on the Planet Money site

Keyboard Shortcuts for Advanced Users

If you are gunning for a financial career at Wall Street, and especially if you want to be an investment banking analyst or investment management analyst (click the links for jobs), you will need to get used to using excel without a mouse or trackpad. In fact, at investment banks, they often disconnect the mouse for interns and new hires so they get used to using Excel’s powerful keyboard shortcuts.

Our favorite keyboard shortcut? We are torn between ctrl+c, Alt+E S which let’s you “paste special”, and ctrl+[ which lets you audit the precedent cells in the formula.

Here is an infographic with some other handy excel tricks:

Infographic on how to use MS Excel

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Chris the Climber is a team of Tapwage writers who write about the specific skills that are needed in rapidly evolving careers