Excel Quick Start Tutorial: 36 Minutes to Learn the Basics

Spark your skills in Excel! Go from a blank worksheet to pivot tables in 36 minutes. Great for interview prep!
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (19,816 ratings)
147,280 students
36min of on-demand video

Enter and edit Excel data. Format numbers, fonts and alignment.
Make simple pivot tables and charts
Create simple Excel formulas.
Use Excel Functions IF and VLOOKUP
Filter and sort lists of data. Find 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 analyze data.
Create a simple sales analysis report.


  • Students should have a copy of Excel 2010, or Excel 2013 or Excel 2016, already installed.
  • Students should be familiar with working with files: opening, closing and saving files.


Here's what some students are saying about the course in the Reviews!

"Really concise quick summary and foundation in Excel" - Clare B.

"Instruction was very easy to follow. It was like having a friend show you what to do." - Patrick M.

"Very clear and easy to understand" - Fiona M

 "Great introduction to pivot tables and good examples too."  - John P. 

"Needed this to get ready for a new job, feeling more confident already!" - Daniel H.

"I have been using Excel for years but only in very specific ways. This course gave a good overview of major functions I have never used and didn't know existed. Will be making some accounting pivot charts right away." - Kyrie

The course is just 36 minutes - you can finish it over a lunch break! That’s how long it takes to complete the videos in this course, and come away with a strong understanding of the use of Excel in business. You’ll learn many of the important Excel functions: IF, VLOOKUP, pivot tables and charts, including line charts, column charts and 3D column charts. You’ll learn how to enter and edit data and formulas. How to format text and numbers. How to filter and sort large tables of data and calculate totals.

Only 36 minutes! How is this possible? I work through two business case studies on sales reporting and analysis, showing you how to use Excel to analyze data and answer questions, highlighting each step, and clearly explaining what I’m doing and why. You’ll learn how the functions work, and you’ll learn when, and why, to use them in business analytics. Full disclosure: plan for another 45 minutes or so to work through the case studies yourself. I provide all of the files. 

And it’s free! Even though free, it includes all of the features of the standard course: downloadable files, closed captions and quizzes, to help you learn and make it stick. 

This course is designed for people who are preparing for an interview. Starting a new office job. Looking to jump-start their career. And even for those people who are thinking about a longer Excel course, but who aren't sure that Excel is right for them. 

But let’s make something clear: you won’t be an expert. This course is a starting point, the first step on your journey to learn business analytics. It may be as far as you need to go. Let’s find out! Click the button “TAKE THIS COURSE” and get started. 

Who this course is for:

  • This course is for absolute beginners, who would like to get the "gist" of Excel, and how it's used to analyze data.
  • Take this course before an interview. Be prepared!
  • Take this course before starting an office job. Before taking an accounting course. Be prepared!
  • This course does NOT provide detailed examples of complex functions - it moves quickly to show the "context". It's to get you started.


Senior Executive. Data Scientist. Teacher.
Jeff Knowlton
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 19,816 Reviews
  • 150,649 Students
  • 1 Course

                   I am a senior business executive, a data scientist, and a former university instructor. And I've been using Excel, and tools like it, for more than 30 years! 

         In addition to my current role as VP Information Business Services, I've been a global project manager for the deployment of very large IT systems, a senior statistician/data scientist, a university instructor and a corporate trainer. 

         I bring a unique perspective to Excel and business analytics. I know how Excel is used in business, and I know what hiring managers are looking for. All of my courses are built on authentic case studies, using real data to show how Excel functions are used today in business. I can help you prepare for interviews, and excel in your first job as a business analyst.

      I have two degrees from Stanford University, one in English with Honors in Humanities, and a graduate degree in Statistics (now called data science). I explain technical concepts in non-technical terms.

                   You can see more detail on my linked in page. Send me a connection request! 

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