Excel: Basic Excel and Business Analytics

Via an authentic case study, learn the basics, starting with entering data & formulas, up to pivot tables and charts.
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  • Lectures 27
  • Length 3 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 6/2014 English

Course Description

This course provides a basic introduction to Excel via a case study. In the case study, you will analyze the product sales from a business, Cowboy Business Machines. Like other Excel courses, you'll learn the basics: data and number formats, formulas, copy/paste, insert/delete, printing, data filtering, pivot tables and charts.

This course is different from most other Excel courses because it focuses on the use of Excel to answer real business questions like "Who were the top customers for the year?" "What were the top-selling products?" "Did sales increase or decrease?" So you'll also learn about business topics like invoicing and sales.

At the end of the course, there is a lesson on how to write a basic business report to summarize the results from the product sales analysis: what topics to include, and some formatting tricks in Microsoft Word. So this course is not just about Excel: it's about how to analyze business data and communicate the results with clarity.

I provide all of the scripts from the lessons. I provide all of the worksheets, with detailed answers to the practice questions. At the end of the course, there is an additional practice worksheet so that you can master the topics covered in this course. I also provide the full text from the sample business report, so that you can use it as a template in your job.

The course has three hours of video content. Expect to spend about 8 - 12 hours altogether, over four or five days, to complete the course.

The course is recommended by the Oregon Business Education Association.

What are the requirements?

  • A copy of Excel. Excel 2010, 2013, or Office 365 are preferred.
  • No math required!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course, you will be able to use Excel to analyze the sales results for a business, by making a pivot table and chart. You will also be able to explain the results in a written report.
  • In this course, you will learn basic Excel functions, and be introduced to same intermediate ones, like pivot tables and charts.
  • Watch the first video to learn more!

Who is the target audience?

  • Recent graduates looking for work, especially those from non-business majors.
  • College students, especially those starting a program in business. The course is recommended by the Oregon Business Education Association.
  • People starting their career, who wish to accelerate their promotion path.
  • People returning to work in the business world, after an extended absence.
  • Anyone curious about using Excel to summarize data to find valuable information.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Course Introduction

In this lesson, I answer three questions:

    1.Why should you learn Excel?

    2.What is business analytics?

    3.And of the many courses in Excel, why should you take this one?

Watch the video and find out!


In this lesson, I introduce myself. I am the VP of Global Services at a mid-size manufacturing firm. Previously, I was a vice-president of Information Technology, with 15+ years of experience. Earlier in my career, I was a corporate trainer and a university professor, so I have relevant teaching experience. And I've been using spreadsheet tools like Excel since 1983.

Look me up on Linked In!


This lesson covers the pre-requisites (you need a copy of Excel you can use - that's it), and provides the course map. I also provide you with some strategies so that you can learn the most from this course.

Let’s get started!

Section 2: Business Basics

The examples in this course are based on a fictitious company, Cowboy Business Machines. This lesson introduces the company and their products. By the end of this course, you will be able to answer these questions about the sales for Cowboy Business Machines:

  1. Who are the top customers?
  2. What are the best selling products?
  3. Through the year, did sales trend up, trend down, or stay about the same?

These are the types of real questions that businesses ask everyday.


The examples in this course are based on sales reporting for Cowboy Business Machines. Each sale is documented in an invoice. This lesson introduces the main elements of a business invoice, the basis of sales reporting.


This lesson shows conceptually how the data from an invoice is mapped into a spreadsheet for analysis.

1 page

This lesson shows you how to download the script for the lecture, the homework assignment accompanying the lectures, and the practice Excel files.

Section 3: Excel Basics

It's time to open Excel! This lesson begins the introduction to Excel. It provides a tour of the screen, naming the key elements.


This lesson covers basic file management: creating new files, opening files, and saving files. If you’ve used other computer applications, then this lesson should be very easy for you, since Excel uses the same basic commands as most every other computer desktop application.


In this lesson, I explain how to enter data into the spreadsheet and move around from cell to cell. I also explain some of the different data formats, like texts, numbers, accounting/currency, and dates. Finally, I introduce basic cell formatting, like centering, wrapping texts, and aligning the data to the left, right, or center.


This lesson introduces formulas, one of the most powerful Excel features.


In this lesson, I show you how to copy /paste data and formulas, and insert / delete columns and rows. These are some of the most commonly used functions in Excel. They help you work faster and more accurately.


In this lesson, I introduce some tips and tricks for working faster and smarter, like using the "context-sensitive menu" and the undo command to correct errors.

Section 4: Summarizing Data with Pivot Tables

Now the fun begins! In this section, I provide the list of all invoice line items from Cowboy Business Machines for the year 2013. By the end of this section, you will be able to make pivot tables to answer three important questions:

  1. Who are the top customers?
  2. What are the top-selling products?
  3. Are sales trending upward or downward?

In this lesson, I provide the file with the un-formatted data (often called raw data). Your job is to format it and prepare it for the pivot table.


In this lesson, I show you how to convert the data into an Excel table, providing filters on each of the columns, so that you can quickly find data and sort data.


Time to make the pivot table to summarize the data!


This lesson provides a few tips and tricks for formatting pivot tables.


In this lesson, I review what we've learned so far about pivot tables.

Section 5: Charting Data with Pivot Tables

In this lesson, I provide an overview of the main elements of a chart in Excel, like the title, axes, and legends.


In this lesson, I show you how to make a chart based on the data in the pivot tables. We'll make a chart of the top customers and top products. I also show you how to perform a top 10 analysis, showing only the top 10 (or top 12) customers and products.

Section 6: Presenting the Results - Printing and Reporting

The analysis is complete, but the job is not yet done. The results of the analysis must be clearly explained, and it's best done in writing. In this section, the lessons will cover how to print from Excel, and some tips on writing a good business and sales report.


In this lesson, I show you how to format the data in the workbook to prepare it for printing. Some examples include the orientation of the output (portrait or landscape) and how to scale the output so that it fits on one page wide.


In the last lesson, I showed you how to format the worksheet to print it. In this lesson, I show you how to print.


This lesson provides several printing examples, primarily focusing on setting the print area in a spreadsheet to print a chart, print a pivot table, or print any region of a spreadsheet.


This is not just an Excel course. It's important to be able to explain the results of your analysis in writing and with clarity. This lesson covers these topics:

    ·Some suggestions for topics to include in a written business report.

    ·Techniques for copying pivot tables and charts from Excel to Word.

    ·Some formatting tips and tricks for Microsoft Word.

Section 7: Course Review

Congratulations! You've worked very hard and finished this course.

This lesson provides a course review, and also provides a practice file of rawdata, so you can work from start to finish. I recommend that you work through the practice file, making the pivot tables and charts, to ensure that you've mastered the concepts and techniques from this course.

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Instructor Biography

Jeff Knowlton, Senior Executive. Data Scientist. Teacher.

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 Global Services, I've been a VP of Information Technology, 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 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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