What is the best way for a college student to learn Excel?

<p>I have been told by professionals in my daughter's field of interest that it is important for new hires to be proficient in Excel. Her major doesn't require any courses in which she would learn Excel. Is a summer community college course the way to go? Or an adult ed course? Online?</p>

<p>Is missyD inclined to self teaching? I would go with something like this:<br>
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Excel-2010-All---One-Dummies/dp/0470489596/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329323877&sr=1-1%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.amazon.com/Excel-2010-All---One-Dummies/dp/0470489596/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329323877&sr=1-1&lt;/a>
In fact I might get one of those myself ;)</p>

<p>I think the best way to learn Excel is to take a data set and practice doing things with it, using a book or online tutorial. There are probably practice data sets online. She could take an intro course at a CC or adult ed if she likes (just to get started, although it probably isn't necessary). But practice is the only way you get comfortable with it.</p>

<p>Don't worry, if she is at all computer savvy Excel isn't really that tough (at least IMO).</p>

<p>I just looked online and our local CC has a couple of adult ed classes, including several all day "workshops." That might be the way to go, then get a book. Thanks.</p>

<p>It depends on what is meant by proficient. I'm self taught as are most people I would think. I googled 'how to learn excel' and found a number of free online tutorials. Once you get the basics it's pretty easy to use the help or google to find out how to do more advanced things.</p>

<p>And keep in mind these young'uns are way better at kind of noodling around and figuring stuff out on their own than, say, 54-year-olds. (I think something free on-line or a one-day seminar is probably fine to get her going.)</p>

<p>We as a family do not have the kind of brains that can just figure out things on the computer. "Intuitive" is not intuitive for us. I think some kind of a class would be good to start.</p>

<p>At my local community college the intro to computing course covers the whole MS Office Suite. There are others that target individual applications.</p>

<p>Before you sign her up for any class you should find out what her level of proficiency is. For example, I'm pretty handy with Excel being able to write somewhat complex formulas and sheets that auto-fill a bunch of things, but if you ask me to make a pivot table I'm going to be hitting the help file pretty hard. If you asked me to sit in on a multi-day Excel tutorial I'd probably leave before lunch on the first day since, likely, I'd be much better served taking a more "power user" class than a generic one at a CC.</p>

<p>Non-credit classes (sometimes called adult ed) at the local CC are great, imo. They're short, cheap, and often offered in a sequence. You can do a day of beginner, then intermediate, then advanced. </p>

<p>I don't know if I'd spend the money on a for-credit class if a student didn't need the credits.</p>

<p>@Racinreaver: There is a really excellent Excel book out there. I forget the name of it, but it would be useful to physicists and engineers. It's not basic.</p>

<p>To the OP: You probably could get some very rudimentary instruction from youtube. I'm sure they have plent of mini-seminars on the basics of excel there.</p>

<p>I learned Microsoft Excel and Access from on-line tutorials. It worked great. A book as a back up reference is handy.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Excel-2010-All---One-Dummies/dp/0470489596/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329342153&sr=1-1%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.amazon.com/Excel-2010-All---One-Dummies/dp/0470489596/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329342153&sr=1-1&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>If she is the kind who will actually read the manual/book...</p>

<p>No. She will not read the manual, she will not go online to teach herself. If I sign her up for a class, however, she will go. One fo the one day adult ed workshops sounds like the best bet.</p>

<p>One thing which may make it stick more is to have a case which pertains to her field of study. Back when I learned Visicalc (!!) and Lotus 123, I needed to know how to do spreadsheets for my job, so I was able to see how it really applied. I am never very good at software courses which aren't immediately applicable to what I need to do. Maybe her professors can help her get something which is in her field of study.</p>

<p>missy - research within her college - very often organizations such as Training the Street and others will be offering intensive weekend classes. I dont know if you would go into student activities, or if her college offers business or finance track, but that would be the department I would approach first. And those courses are generally free to all the students in the college.</p>

<p>My suggestion is to (a) learn the basics from a class, i.e. what a spreadsheet is and what it can do - then spend some time playing with Excel to see what it can do for you. THEN, if needed, take an advanced class that teaches the uber-geek Excel stuff (like how to pull data from databases, publish to Sharepoint, and other geeky activities).</p>

<p>As much as people dislike Microsoft, Excel is a pretty amazing application...</p>

<p>My daughter learned it from using it to keep track of stuff for a girl scout project. I taught her a few basics to get her going. Excel for Dummies is probably pretty good, too. Honestly, the basics of Excel are not that hard to learn. And it is hugely useful to know (just last night D1 was writing a cover letter to a job that wanted her to know Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Visio). She doesn't know Visio, but I told her I could tutor her for a couple of hours to get her started, and a day or so with a book like Visio for Dummies would tell her all she needed to know for a decent baseline of knowledge.</p>

<p>I'm self taught, but did feel a bit of satisfaction some years back when a smart 20ish analyst told me you couldn't highlight non-contiguous cells or ranges and I showed him that you could. (I was surprised that he thought that.) </p>

<p>Courses might be good. I do think that if you have a good sense of math, and logic, then you will learn easily. If you avoid math and physics or other logic-based courses, you'll be challenged. </p>

<p>The biggest impetus to learning is to have something you're trying to do, and to simply work through it step by step......using the help function. Over time, that will get you there. But if you don't understand the underlying calculation that you are attempting to have the spreadsheet perform, you'll have difficulty. There are a lot of nuances or details that come into play. You have to do some exercises that will involve the differences in copying cells using the normal relative value formulas, and those that require absolute value formulas. Anyone who doesn't understand these situations and when its necessary to use absolute values will quickly mess things up. </p>

<p>It might be useful to understand what is the level of the typical application she might be using. There are a lot of different levels of excel spreadsheets and they range from pretty simplistic to stunningly complicated. Also, the formatting of the sheets is completely different from the underlying logic process.</p>

<p>Based on what you've said, I'd suggest a course, and perhaps a very good external reference book that didn't force you into the help section.</p>

<p>Our local library offers free computer classes in several software applications - might be another resource.</p>