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How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

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    How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Hello,

    New member here. I have been a casual excel user for many years. Even when I was using excel on a more regular basis it was never in an advanced situation. As such, I did not have the best excel know-how or skill. I am very aware that experience is the best way to learn something however throughout my career I did not have that opportunity.

    I have had several job interviews that resulted in requiring someone with advanced excel skills. Unfortunately, not having those skills cost me. During the current period I have been watching tutorials, reading materials and even taking excel courses online to better learn excel. However the problem is always that I am a deer in the headlights when it comes to trying to figure out what to do when faced with a task or how to do it. Even with the courses I am taking, I will understand the topic but then when it is time to practice using practice questions I get stuck and have to use the answer sheet to understand what to do or help guide me - which is cheating essentially.

    Some of my problems are not knowing what function to use based on the case, how best to use it, what other functions are required to combine it, how they all work together, what does it mean, etc etc. I feel as if it will be impossible for me to learn at an advanced level (not even counting VBA here just formulas and such) because I might not have "it".

    So my silly question to you gurus out here is what did you do to learn excel at an advanced level, tips, tricks, etc. How did u understand to combine formulas, and what goes together and improving your skills. I know there is no one answer but i am trying my best and yet still feel like I am coming up really short. It's pretty demotivating to the point that I sometimes feel like I won't be able to do it.

    Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated!

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    Forum Moderator AliGW's Avatar
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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Itís not a silly question, but it is one without any definitive answer. I have learnt almost everything I know from these forums, but I do know that having a project to work on myself accelerates the learning process, so it hasnít been a simply passive process. We all learn differently. I suppose it might help to know the nature of the problems you might have to solve in one of these jobs youíve gone for.
    Ali


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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Sounds like you're doing the right things. Best way, as Ali has said, is to work on a project. Maybe something at home or at work that will add some value, save time, whatever. If you don't want to put yourself under too much pressure, don't tell anyone until you have something to demonstrate. However, without the pressure/commitment, it's easy to give up.

    I read lots of books and asked questions on forums. I worked on a project to automate a process for my HR team ... I played with it for weeks before I felt confident enough to demonstrate it and hand it over ... and even then it needed a lot of nursing.

    It's a good idea to monitor these forums. See what questions are asked and what solutions are offered. Hopefully, some of it will sink in with repetition.

    There are maybe 350 to 400 functions so just focus on a dozen or so frequently used ones.
    Trevor Shuttleworth - Excel Aid

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Appreciate the feedback from both of you. In the end practice makes perfect. At the moment I am trying to do just that, find little excel projects to work on even if it's for myself and try to find solutions. I actually tried to do something but it was out of my realm - so I actually started a thread in the formulas area to try and get an answer from someone more knowledgeable (finger's crossed). Backwards engineering is also something I need to use. But in the end it is repetition on a continual basis.

    By the way TMS - United or City?

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    My advice here is to follow the replies of the super users Like AliGW & TMS and the other Guru's. Follow the threads and Download the solution worksheets, and/or test the formulas on your own spreadsheet.

    And by the way City or United - how about the Mighty Burnley F.C?

    or Canadians or Leafs
    Uploading an attachment will assist Forum Members in finding the correct Solution for you. Create a dummy worksheet if necessary, add your start data and show where / what your expected results should be. TO ADD A FILE:

    Go to 'Advanced. click on 'Manage Attachments. Select 'Browse & Choose your file, Select 'Upload and then close the Attachment window.

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    Forum Guru TMS's Avatar
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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Once upon a time, a long time ago, I supported City, and I still favour them but I haven't been to a match in many years.

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMS View Post
    Once upon a time, a long time ago, I supported City, and I still favour them but I haven't been to a match in many years.
    I was back in the UK last December and my brother had bought tickets for Burnley v Man City - we lost big time 1 - 4 but it was great seeing the players up close again and not on the TV.

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    A premier league game - distant memories :-(

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Another option might be to take some the resolved questions and try to come up with your own answer to them. Then compare your answer with the given one and try to see which 1 might be simpler or more efficient.
    1. Use code tags for VBA. [code] Your Code [/code] (or use the # button)
    2. If your question is resolved, mark it SOLVED using the thread tools
    3. Click on the star if you think someone helped you

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    At the moment I am backwards engineering formulas where I can by trying to see how answers are developed and using the evaluate formula button to see how the formulas work within excel. I am doing this with a project I have received some help with from this very forum. Some stuff is still too advanced for me to understand like the bold area here -> COUNTIFS($A$2:$A$21,$A$2:$A$21,$C$2:$C$21,{"","in"}&"Complete")>0),{1;1})=2) which is a small piece of a larger formula that I got from someone in this forum in the other thread - even the other larger pieces advanced but I can grasp a certain degree. One of the hard parts for me know is trying to figure out what formulas can be used for certain situations, what combinations of formulas need to be used, how to nest them, etc. It's the starting part that is hard but I hope as I practice it will make more sense. Practice makes perfect.

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    Donít forget that you can always ask the person here who provides a formula to explain it to you - go back to the thread and ask for an explanation if that section of it.

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    Re: How to become better at excel (yes, silly question)?

    I am just passionate about Excel and I love doing it. You need to do a lot of research and should have knowledge of each functions independently to use them to carry out bigger results. You need to have Analytical and Problem Solving mindset. For learning large formulas you can split the large formulas and study its function to know the larger/combined results these are bringing on the table.

    One more thing which I have noted is that once you succeed in even something small now you get motivated and wants to solve and further advance in the areas which ultimately leads to learning new things and facing larger problems and finding solutions on the same.
    Asha Kanta Sharma
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