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How to Quickly Excel in the Basics of Excel 2013

All videos less than 5 minutes! You will learn from the ground up to become a confident user of Microsoft Excel 2013.
4.0 (68 ratings)
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1,929 students enrolled
Created by Paul Barton
Last updated 10/2014
English English
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Confidently use basic functions and calculations in Excel.
Successfully create professional looking and effective Excel spreadsheets from scratch.
Create eye-catching charts and graphs to better visually represent your spreadsheet data.
Be familiar with Excel spreadsheet terminology, layout and formatting.
View Curriculum
  • Students will need a working copy of Microsoft Excel 2013 software (although Excel 2010 will also work just fine).
  • No prior knowledge is required to commence this course. Just the desire to improve your own skills.

*** All videos are under 5 minutes in duration and are straight to the point to help maintain your concentration ***

This course in Excel 2013 will allow a novice user to quickly become a confident spreadsheet user. Highly practical, you can be applying your new skills within minutes of learning a concept.

Having taught IT for over 20 years I've identified the key aspects and you will benefit from my experience. You will find my videos straight to the point and that I explain all concepts in simple terms rather than getting too technical or using IT jargon. Wherever possible I provide practical examples to demonstrate where the concept being explored can be applied. I have taught these concepts to 1000s of students during my career and now would like to give you the opportunity to also learn some new, valuable and employable workplace skills

The course consists of a brief overview of each concept and short, sharp videos covering the key points for all topics. Additionally, there is a practical, self-marked activity for you to complete and three videos showing me completing the task should you encounter difficulties.

Major topics include:

  • Basics of Excel 2013 - simple arithmetics, formatting, shortcuts and tricks of the trade.
  • Additional features to better utilise the power of Excel - absolute referencing and using cells in multiple ways.
  • Using Common Formulas - sum, average, if, lookup, rank, countif, plus some more advanced functions available to assist you to create professional, efficient spreadsheets.
  • A Challenge Activity - self-marked series of examples to try your new skills. Videos of solutions to all activities are also provided.
  • Adding Charts / Graphs to improve the visual effectiveness of highlighting your information.
  • Some additional concepts to further develop your spreadsheeting skills including using conditional formatting, generating random numbers and probability.

I look forward to assisting you in becoming a confident user of Excel 2013.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone from complete beginners to those who have done some work with spreadsheets so they can expand their skills.
  • People who want to add these critical IT skills to their computing expertise. Spreadsheets are used in most professions in some form and are highly desirable to employers.
  • As it is an introductory course, not recommended for those with a thorough knowledge of speadsheets.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 26 Lectures Collapse All 26 Lectures 01:09:26
Basic parts of an Excel spreadsheet
6 Lectures 12:23

Microsoft Excel 2013 is a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets have been used commonly in business and other workplaces since the early years of computing. Microsoft Excel is the most used spreadsheet in the world but all other spreadsheets have many of the same features. Spreadsheets are occasionally called flat file databases.

Preview 01:04

The main task of any spreadsheet is to perform calculations, potentially thousands of them at a time. Let's learn the basic principles involved to make use of the 17,179,869,184 cells available in each sheet of an Excel spreadsheet.

Preview 02:37

Time to modify the format of cells, columns and rows in our spreadsheet.

Preview 03:25

This lecture will show you many shortcuts which will make your spreadsheeting experience more enjoyable and also save you time.

Some tricks to save you time.

Often it is necessary to rearrange an existing spreadsheet because of additional data or the need to remove some values. In this lecture we will look at moving cells and learn how to insert or delete columns and rows.

Moving Data & Inserting Extra Columns and Rows

While you generally work within one spreadsheet at a time, it is possible to have multiple sheets or pages operating together on the same task. This can be helpful when dealing with large volumes of values to better organise your data within the single spreadsheet. Each separate sheet can have its own name and coloured tab.

Multiple Sheets in the one spreadsheet
Absolute Referencing
2 Lectures 06:08

Once you have mastered Absolute Referencing the spreadsheeting world will be at your feet. While it can be a little confusing to begin with, you will quickly see the value of being able to "lock in" a cell's value when using it in formulas. A crucial skill that is used extensively throughout Excel.

What is Absolute Referencing?

Feeling old? Here's why.

In this lecture we will use our new understanding of Absolute Referencing to calculate how many days old you are. Basically, we'll be finding the number of days between two entered dates.

Just to make you feel even more ancient (or experienced at living), we then find how long you have lived in hours, minutes and seconds. Did you realise that on you're 100th birthday that you are 36,525 days old or roughly 3.15 billion seconds old!

Are you feeling old? We calculate your age in days, hours, minutes and seconds.
Common Formulas in Excel 2013
9 Lectures 17:42

Sum() is probably the most common function used in Excel. Sum is the fancy mathematical word for adding or getting a total. We can add cells horizontally, vertically or from any group of cells in our spreadsheet.


Average() allows us to find the mean average (all values added and then divided by how many values that had been highlghted). It is possible to calcualte the mode and median averages and while this will not be covered here, the same concept applies.


Max() and Min() are used to find the maximum and minimum respectively for a range of values.

Max() & Min()

If() is used to check whether a value is true or false. We would use it to check perhaps if the value of a cell is greater than a certain number eg if a person's age is greater than 17 then we might fill a cell with a message stating whether they are eligible to vote. For those with some coding experience, this is an IF..THEN..ELSE statement common is many programming languages.

Preview 03:23

Rank(), as the name suggests, allows us to calculate ranking based on a range of values. Values can be ranked in either ascending or descending order.


Lookup() is an extremely useful function for breaking values into categories. For example, it could be used to allocate a student a result such as A, B or C dependent on their performance in a test.


CountIf() allows us to count how many cells fulfil a condition we set. As an example, it will let us count how many males there are in a column or how many times a number between 1 and 10 appears in a group of cells .


AverageIf() and SumIf() are very similar and will be both covered in this lecture. Calculates the average, or sum, of a range of values dependent of a criteria set by you. A couple of examples could be: finding the average height of females or the total (sum) income for males from the spreadsheet data.

AverageIf() & SumIf()

In addition to the most common formulas that you have already learnt, Excel has hundreds of others to assist you with various tasks. In this lecture we will explore where these are found and how to commence working with any of them.

Other Formulas Galore

Let's see if you've been listening. Just kidding!

We'll now test how well you can remember the various formulas we have learnt.

Basic Formula Quiz
10 questions
Challenge Activity for Practising Using Formulas
5 Lectures 18:06

Please watch this video prior to undertaking the challenge in the next lecture. Important information to help you successfully complete the challenge.

Explanation of Challenge

Please open the Spreadsheet Challenge file below to practise your new skills. The spreadsheet is self-marking so you'll instantly know whether you are correct. Good luck!

Challenge Activity to Test Your New Skills

Demonstration of Task 1 & 2 from the Challenge Activity being completed.
Sample Responses for Task 1 & 2

Demonstration of Task 3 from the Challenge Activity being completed.

Sample Responses for Task 3

Demonstration of Task 4 & 5 from the Challenge Activity being completed.

Sample Responses for Task 4 & 5
Conditional Formatting
1 Lecture 03:07

We will now learn how to modify the formatting of cells depending on certain criteria that we assign to them. We can change the font and background colour as well as adding visual items to show similarities and differences within our data. Very useful when working with large sets of data.

Conditional Formatting
Adding Charts / Graphs
1 Lecture 04:42

Being able to visual represent data is one of the greatest features available in Excel 2013. Often these charts, also called graphs, let us notice trends or changes in data that wouldn't otherwise be noticed if data remained solely listed in the cells.

Creating a Basic Chart
Probability in Excel
2 Lectures 07:04

Rand() and Randbetween() are useful tools when you are required to generate some random numbers.

Rand() & Randbetween()

To extend our use of Rand() and Randbetween(), this lecture that demonstrates a practical use of a spreadsheet to generate large numbers of random numbers. Very useful if you plan heading to a casino to try and win your fortune!

Using Probabilty in Excel
About the Instructor
4.0 Average rating
152 Reviews
3,161 Students
5 Courses
IT Teacher for 23 years. Google Certified Trainer.

Hi, I'm Paul and I've been a full time teacher of Information Technology (IT) for over 20 years. I am the Head of Information Technology at my secondary school and have a Bachelor of Information Technology and a Master of Educational Leadership specialising in IT.

I am also a Google Certified Trainer and have completed the Google Certified Education Level 1 & 2 qualifications so you know that my courses are well developed and include all aspects of the software.

I deliver real-world, highly practical courses drawn from my experience of having taught thousands of students over the last 20+ years of teaching. I cut through the jargon emphasising the key points and tell you what you need to know as quickly as possible while not missing any critical skills.

I gain great pleasure teaching people how to better utilise technology in their life and work environment. The tools and skills explored in my courses are applicable in any workplace or for those just looking to improve their own IT skills.

I look forward to working with you as you develop into confident IT users. Enjoy.

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