• Claudia Oradan

Uses of Microsoft Excel

(Photo: microsoft.com)

Microsoft Excel is a program part of the Microsoft Office Suite. It helps its users create spreadsheets, tables, charts, trends, and many other things. MS Excel is mostly used by companies all around the world in nearly every department (mostly accounting and data entry and analysis), but it can be used at home as well for multiple tasks.

One of the things we can use MS Excel for is managing school duties. This program can help students in creating a neat looking course schedule with added elements for when are assignments, homework, and discussion board replies due; and they can also plan when to study for which classes and track it on an Excel sheet. The program can also be useful if students are working on a team project, this way they can share a sheet and add and track who contributed what to the project, so they sort of know where they are standing with it and what else needs to be done.

Another field to use MS Excel is budgeting home expenses. This includes all the living expenses, such as food, utilities, rent/mortgage/on campus fees, school supplies and textbooks, car loan, student loan, clothing, entertainment, and anything else needed for a fulfilling and responsible life. We can also calculate ways to pay out loans faster to save money on the interest rates. People can also track for instance when they had an oil change or tire alignment last time, or when did they have the air ducts cleaned or the air conditioning filters changed. Another example I can think of is when someone has a lot of different potted plants at home and let’s say each one of them needs to be watered at different time intervals, he or she can track that in an Excel sheet as well.

An instance I like to use Excel is when a bunch of us (15-20 people) go camping or on holiday together, so we set up a spreadsheet of what is needed and everyone can add what they will bring. This way the list is in one place and it is accessible to everyone, and we can also track the expenses for the trip and divide the costs accordingly.

MS Excel is also good for tracking all the expenses and figuring out where we can save some money in case we want to save up for something more expensive. For instance let’s say I want to buy a new phone, but it’s not too urgent. I can use Excel to calculate how much it would cost me if I bought it on monthly payments. I then would see that it is way more expensive that way and I don’t want to pay more than the original price, so I can plan a way to save up for that phone and pay it off at once.

(Photo: Carol Price - www.youtube.com)

An interesting example I found is how a lot of people use Excel for knitting. They create charts with knitting patterns and use those as a guide. Years ago they used to draw the patterns on pieces of actual paper, which took more time and used up paper and ink, and it wasn’t as easy to imagine how it would look. Now it can be done in a greener way without using paper, and pattern-cells can be filled in with a color to see what the complete masterpiece will look like. These sheets can also easily be shared with anyone online.

Lastly, the most important use of MS Excel is at work. When looking for a job, Excel proficiency is nearly always there at the requirements. Most offices use Excel because it is so useful and versatile. Thanks to the many functions and options, such as SUM, sorting, IF, trend forecasting, sharing of documents, using reference cells that can be updated, colourful tables and charts for presentation of data in a neat and organized way, and others, Excel is a widely used program for data analysis, finance and accounting, risk analysis, software development, HR, and nearly every department and field.

These are some of the more common examples Microsoft Excel is used for, but there are countless other things that can be written on a spreadsheet. If it has a name and some data about it, it can be included on an Excel sheet. It is a green and time efficient program that can be mastered by anyone in a course like this one.