Four Tips to Improve Your Spreadsheet Skills

Michele Warg
Posted by

If you are an administrative assistant, office manager, or executive assistant, spreadsheet skills are essential for your success. Administrative professionals use spreadsheets to track expenses, prepare financial reports, and create charts and graphs, making spreadsheet software an important part of your job. If you don't have the spreadsheet skills you need, there are several good ways to learn Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs. Use these tips to improve your current skills or learn new skills to help you advance your career.

Sign up for a spreadsheet course at your local community college. What you will learn depends on the course you take, but most courses include content on sorting data and performing calculations using basic formulas. If you need advanced spreadsheet skills, look for a course that covers macros or data manipulation. Ask your human resources representative if tuition reimbursement is available once you complete the course.

When it comes to spreadsheet skills, practice really does make perfect. If you are committed to learning new skills, purchase a book or an instruction manual that corresponds to the version you use. Work through the book one chapter at a time, but don't move to the next chapter until you master the skills covered in the previous one. Write down any questions you have about the material so that you can search for answers online or ask a coworker to help you. If you use LibreOffice or OpenOffice at work, look for books specifically about these programs.

Microsoft offers three different e-learning modules for people interested in learning Excel. These modules were developed to help people prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification test, but you can access the free content without registering for the exam. Beginner Skills in Microsoft Excel 2010 covers creating a new workbook, adding data to a worksheet, formatting cells, creating charts, and inserting shapes. The intermediate skills module contains information on editing worksheets, editing cells, performing calculations, creating charts, and sharing workbooks. Finally, the advanced module covers topics such as data manipulation, running a macro, and working with external data.

If the first three tips won't work for you, try asking a colleague to help you learn some basic spreadsheet skills. This works best if you have just one or two questions. If you need any more help than that, your coworker might not have time to help you. If possible, give your coworker your questions in advance. This will save time when the two of you start working at the computer.

Learning Excel and other spreadsheet programs will benefit you in several ways. If you can take on additional responsibilities, your employer may reward you with a raise or a promotion. If you plan to move up through the ranks of the administrative field, you'll need your spreadsheet skills to work for executives and perform high-level tasks. Try one of these four methods to learn more about spreadsheets and how they work.


(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • You Might Also Be Interested In

Jobs to Watch