Knowing how to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is an essential work skill at this point. However, if you still struggle with it and don't know who to ask for help, these free websites and online tutors will take you from an Excel beginner to a spreadsheet master.
Using spreadsheets efficiently can be the difference between manually doing some task repeatedly or letting the software do the heavy lifting for you. Whether you prefer to learn through YouTube videos, university-backed online courses, or free tutorials made by regular netizens, these free Excel trainers will teach you everything you need to know.
1. Leila Gharani (YouTube): Best YouTube Channel to Learn Excel for Free
For years now, Leila Gharani has been making easy-to-understand videos on her YouTube channel that deal almost exclusively with how to do something in Microsoft Excel. She also often covers Google Sheets and MS Word or Powerpoint, but largely the focus is on Excel. So if you prefer to learn through videos than read articles, Gharani's channel has your every query covered.
As a beginner, you might want to go through her Excel Introduction playlist, which teaches the basics of Excel in simple terms. Gharani switches between talking to the camera and showing live demonstrations on screen in a conversational style that doesn't overwhelm you with too much information. It has 27 videos totaling up to four hours and 15 minutes of material. You could go through this as this is a free and private online learning course on YouTube.
If you're not an Excel beginner, you can look through several of her other Excel playlists like power query, charts, LOOKUP formulas, VBA, and Macros. The channel usually has two new videos weekly, often sharing tips and tricks to gradually make you a better Excel user.
2. Excel Campus (Web, YouTube): Tutorials, Free Webinar, and Free Excel Add-Ins
It's astounding how many free resources Excel Campus offers for anyone to get better at Microsoft Excel. Jon Acampora's site is filled with tools and templates to add superpowers to Excel, and he also teaches tips and tricks on his YouTube channel.
If you sign up for the newsletter, you'll get a free ebook on 10 Excel Pro Tips, a VLOOKUP essentials guide, a printable Excel shortcuts list, and much more. Acampora has also written his own Excel Add-Ins to add shortcut tools to the Ribbon bar, making adding filtered ranges, pivot tables, chart alignments, and custom shortcuts easier. Excel Campus also has an extensive list of templates, tables, formulas, and functions that you can download, each with its own blog post to explain how to use it. All of this is available on the Excel Campus Tools page for free.
Acampora also hosts a free webinar in which he shares his "5-Step Blueprint for Excel," which explains formulas, pivot tables, and macros & VBA. The YouTube channel also has detailed videos for each of these, if you don't want to attend the webinar and simply watch the tutorials at your preferred time.
3. Sheet Hacks (Web): Searchable Database of Best Excel Tutorials and How-Tos
Sheet Hacks is a collection of over 500 of the best resources to learn how to do anything in Excel or Google Sheets. The focus is on the database being easy to search, as it's powered by Polymer Search, a tool to make spreadsheets searchable.
The collection includes videos, article tutorials, and short guides sourced from various places on the internet, including some of the best sites for Excel formulas. You'll find everything from LOOKUP and statistical functions to JSON and VBA. You can browse the site by categories or topics, but the focus here is on how well the search function works, so simply try searching for whatever you're looking for.
Each tutorial in Sheet Hacks is assigned a difficulty level, going from 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult). Many of the posts rank at 4 or 5 difficulty, which is great when you're looking for the best resource to learn how to do a specific spreadsheet task at an advanced level. You can also sort your results by difficulty or topic to make it easier to find what you want.
4. Excel Skills for Business (Coursera): Online Course to Learn How to Use Excel for Work
Free online learning platform Coursera, in association with Macquarie University, offers an extensive course to teach anyone how to use Excel for business needs. The full course is broken into four parts, covering different skill levels of Excel:
- Essentials: The Excel Essentials course familiarises students with the interface and terminology in Excel over six weeks, with a different module in each.
- Intermediate I: The first part of the Intermediate course is a 6-week course to learn multiple workbooks, functions, ranges, and summarizing data.
- Intermediate II: The second part of the Intermediate course is another six weeks, covering conditional logic, macros, LOOKUP, data modeling, and formula auditing.
- Advanced: The final course covers spreadsheet design, advanced formulas, advanced LOOKUP, data prep, financial functions, and building dashboards.
At the end of each six-week course, you can take a one-hour Final Assessment test to see how much you have learned. It's a comprehensive and thoroughly detailed course and one of those Coursera certificates that matter for a resume. But even if you don't do it for the resume, the Excel skills taught in this online learning course are essential for businesses and workplaces.
5. Excel Exposure (Web): Reddit's Free Guide to Learn Excel
The University of Reddit, a crowd-sourced open-source learning center, has shut down. But some of its popular courses are still available online in different forms. Ben Currier taught the Introduction to Microsoft Excel course on the University of Reddit and has since turned it into an independent website at Excel Exposure.
The site's main page shows you all the lessons available in different categories like basic formatting techniques or introduction to pivot tables. In that, you'll simply be choosing what you want to learn and watch the corresponding video. However, go by Currier's recommended learning course for a step-by-step guide. You will learn how to use Excel starting with beginner lessons, moving on to intermediate skills, and finally graduate to advanced tasks like macros or VBA.
Excel Exposure also gives you a handy "master workbook" that you can download for free. This is like a mega cheatsheet for every Excel formula or function, including explanation, syntax, category, and shortcut. So whenever you're wondering what to type in the formula bar, you can quickly find out through the workbook.
The Best Excel Shortcut or Hack: Templates
All of these courses and tutorials require you to spend time and effort. And they're worth it in the long run, as you'll be able to make custom Excel spreadsheets that work exactly the way you want them to.
But if you're in a rush right now, the best Excel hack is to look through free Excel templates and find one that fits what you need to do. These are several sites where people share various templates for different purposes. When in a pinch, you can get started with one of these templates instead of creating your own sheet.