4 free courses for students to master Microsoft Excel

free excel courses
Microsoft Excel is becoming a popular tool among educators. Consider signing up for these free courses to learn the ins and outs of this productivity software. Source: Robyn Beck/AFP

With free Excel courses, say goodbye to sorting through large datasets and making complex calculations on your own. You’re set to make full use of the “industry-leading spreadsheet software programme.”

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool with a lot to offer, especially data visualisation and analysis. Master it and you’ll reap many benefits. These include being more efficient, productive and organised.

Employers value someone with good Excel skills. A study in 2017 found that 82% of the middle-skill position required applicants to use Microsoft Excel. So much so that those proficient in using this software could stand a chance to secure higher-paying jobs even without a college degree.

Learning Excel, however, can be tough. It takes time and money to pay for classes — both of which you may not have. If that’s the case, check out these Free Excel courses. You can even complete some of these classes in 36 minutes

microsoft excel courses

Those studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will benefit most free Excel courses. Source: Eduardo Munoz/Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd./Microsoft Japan

4 free Excel courses to transform you into a data wizard

1. Excel Skills for Business: Essentials (Coursera)

This course is offered by Macquarie University, one of Australia’s best universities. There are four components to this course that will teach you the following:

  • How to navigate the Excel user interface
  • Perform basic calculations with formulas and functions
  • Professionally format spreadsheets
  • Create visualisations of data through charts and graphs

Taking things into the real world, you’ll learn how to use Excel to solve various business problems by applying the skills and techniques introduced in the course. You can also download Excel workbooks and complete data sets with applied examples — allowing you to practice your Excel skills and discover new and helpful productivity features.

We recommend you apply for financial aid to enrol in this course for free. Alternatively, you can audit the course for free if you only want to read and view the course content. Upon completion, you can get a certificate to display on your LinkedIn profile.

2. Easy Excel Basics for Beginners — Get Started with Excel (Udemy)

Udemy is another good option to search for lessons that teach you the basics of Excel from scratch. Steve McDonald, the creator of many other best-selling Udemy courses on Microsoft Excel, offers this free class for beginners to join.

In 40 minutes, you will learn how to:

  • Quickly navigate through Excel
  • Create simple and effective spreadsheets
  • Use Excel formulas to automate repetitive math calculations
  • Format numbers into currencies
  • Adjust column and row size quickly and easily
  • Use shortcuts and keystrokes
microsoft excel courses

Dennis Yang (pictured on the right) is the brains behind Udemy, an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 204000 courses and 54 million students. Source: Steve Jennings/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

3. Useful Excel for Beginners (Udemy)

The great thing about this course is that you gain access to 9.5 hours of free content, which is way better than most paid Microsoft Excel courses on Udemy. Created by Dinesh Natarajan Mohan, this course, like the other courses on our list, teaches you the basics of Excel.

However, they do this by working with data related to a bookstore. You can download the files, watch the videos, and practice at your own pace. Through this course, you’ll learn the basics of Excel, how to format your data, and use formulas to automate calculations, among others.

Wonder what other users think about this course? On average, it has 4.5 ratings from close to 52,004 participants. Catherine B., a Udemy user, wrote: “The course is very helpful for excel beginners. The course instructor explained everything specifically without unnecessary detail. The course design and materials are very good as well.”

4. Excel Quick Start Tutorial: 36 Minutes to Learn the Basics

As the title suggests, you’ll learn the most useful Excel features like rows, columns, workbooks, worksheets, formulas, and shortcuts in 36 minutes.

Don’t let the duration of the course fool you. Here, you’ll learn how to:

  • Enter and edit Excel data
  • Format numbers, fonts, and alignments
  • Make simple pivot tables and charts
  • Create simple Excel formulas
  • Use standard Excel functions like IF and VLOOKUP
  • Use a filter and sort lists of data like finding the “Top 10” values
  • Use Excel table functions to de-duplicate data and make totals
  • Understand how Excel is used in a business context to analyse data
  • Create a simple sales analysis report

The instructor delivering this course, Jeff Knowlton, is a senior business executive, a data scientist, and a former university instructor. Thanks to his background, he has used the tool for over 30 years.