Microsoft Excel is another main Office application. It is the spreadsheet program most widely used, working both with Windows and Apple Macintosh operating system. With this program, tables set up in cells, rows and columns can be created, where operations with numeric and alphanumeric data are carried out. Different calculations can be done through formulas and functions, and different types of graphics can also be created. The program includes different functions to make operations: logical, statistical, mathematical, financial and dating functions.
Given its popularity and widespread use, it is very important to learn to use Microsoft Excel in depth. It is a basic and very useful tool, specially in the administrative, financial and data handling field. Online courses designed to teach this application offer basic theoretical contents to understand how it works and multiple exercises to create Excel spreadsheets. The purpose of the training, in this case, is that students have a command of the program and are able to make complex calculations and tables used to optimize data handling. This online training on spreadsheets has several aims. Once the students complete this type of course, they will be able to:
be familiar with the Microsoft Excel environment
have a good command of the concepts of spreadsheet, workbook, cell, row, column and range
be familiar with and use the basic spreadsheet formats
be familiar with the elements composing the spreadsheet
be familiar with and make basic operations to use the spreadsheet
open and save workbooks
edit a spreadsheet cut, copy, paste, fill, select, move, stretch
format cells, rows and columns
insert cells, rows and columns
make logical and mathematical operations through formulas and functions
be familiar with the elements of a formula
use the different Excel functions (mathematical, statistical, dating, searching, etc)
draw up graphics
use the help
change the spreadsheet
customize the spreadsheet
print the spreadsheet, taking into account margins, paper orientation and size
access the spreadsheet through the internet
create dynamic tables for databases
use tools for business analysis and forecasts
These are the main contents of Excel courses on its different versions (’95, ’97, 2000, 2002 XP and 2003), from a lower to a higher difficulty level. Education centers usually organize knowledge into three levels, since this program is more complex. Students can complete all levels or just some of them. The basic level is a first approach to Excel elements and basic operations to create spreadsheets. It is targeted at people without previous knowledge. Intermediate level will allow the student to create statistical graphics and be familiar with more complex functions. It is targeted at people who have already completed an introductory course or have a basic knowledge given by everyday practice. The advanced level is more business-oriented, allowing the students to draw up complex budgets, forecasts and data management. In this case, the target students are those people with a sound expertise of Excel, given by previous courses or intensive practice.
Excel courses emphasize practice, since practising the creation of tables and the use of functions and formulas is essential to develop an actual command of the program. The average duration of each level is between 12 and 15 hours, and the total duration between 36 and 45 hours, depending on the education center and the specific syllabus organization. Given the amount of mathematical and logical expertise used on a spreadsheet and the difficulty of the operations, online courses with tutors are highly recommendable. In case of choosing training with no tutoring, the exercise answers allow to test the progress made on the knowledge acquired.
The testing method varies depending on the training institutions. In some cases, the student needs to take partial tests and a final exam for each level, while in others he needs to take the partial tests and one final global exam. Anyway, final exams generally consist of two sections: a theoretical and a practical one, where a hypothetical case of a company is presented. On passing the final tests, students are awarded the certificate proving the Microsoft Excel expertise. The training cost is usually affordable since this program is very popular, although fees vary depending on the institution involved (and on whether it grants authenticated certificates or not). The education with no tutors is usually more affordable. Besides, there is a wide offer of free courses on the Web, specially introductory.
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