Excel Quick Start Tutorial: 36 Minutes to Learn the Basics

Spark your skills in Excel! Go from a blank worksheet to pivot tables and charts in 36 minutes. Let's get started!
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  • Lectures 8
  • Length 36 mins
  • 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 8/2016 English

Course Description

36 minutes!?! For an Excel course?

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. 

What are the requirements?

  • 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.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Enter and edit Excel data. Format numbers, fonts and alignment.
  • Create simple Excel formulas.
  • Use Excel functions IF and VLOOKUP, and make pivot tables and charts.
  • 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.

Who is the target audience?

  • 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.

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

Learn what to expect and how to get the most from this course. 

Section 2: First Case Study: Just the Basics!

Starting from a blank worksheet, I show you how to enter data to make a table. I show you how to format the data and enter formulas as well. The data is based on the sales from a small flower shop. Let's get going!


Once all of the data's entered, I'll show you how to add a basic filter to sort and filter the results. I'll also show you how to sum up the sales of the bouquets. It's easy!

3 questions

In this quiz, you'll answer some questions about the bouquets sold. Please download the file from the previous lecture.

Section 3: Sales Reporting Case Study - Including Pivot Tables, Charts, IF and VLOOKUP

In this lecture, we move to a more authentic, realistic case study, showing the sales data for an entire year for a printing company. The lesson introduces some basic business concepts, like how sales data from individual invoices are mapped to Excel, and critical elements of sales analysis, like identifying the top customers, the top products, trends in the data, and reporting by product line and by region.


This lesson introduces the data for the sales analysis, and uses the Excel functions for IF and VLOOKUP, along with table formatting, to prepare the data for further analysis. 


We'll create pivot tables to summarize the sales by customer, by product, and by product line by month, to answer some of the key questions


A picture is worth a thousand words! I'll show you how to make charts from the pivot tables, including line charts, column charts, and a 3D column chart. I'll also show you some cool tricks for adding a data table to a chart. 

3 questions

In this quiz, you will use the pivot table function to answer some standard sales questions. Please download the Excel file from Lecture 5, and use the pivot table to answer these questions. Good luck!


Congratulations! You finished the course. Let's review what you've learned, and review next steps. Discounts are available for other more advanced Excel courses.

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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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