There are very, very few people on planet Earth who could ever say they’ve completely mastered every intricate little thing about Microsoft Excel. It’s the world’s premiere spreadsheet application, and has been the industry standard for almost 35 years, replacing the once-venerable Lotus 1-2-3, the first killer app for PCs in the 1980s.
Microsoft Excel’s dominance as a spreadsheet has yet to be truly tested, certainly not by Corel’s Quattro Pro (still sold today in WordPerfect Office Pro), the open source tools from Apache or LibreOffice, or even by Google’s Sheets (the spreadsheet part of Google Drive).
There’s a reason for that. Excel is more than a brand everyone knows: it is powerful. It does just about everything one could ask for in a spreadsheet. The current Excel 2019 version, available in Microsoft Office 2019 as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription and other methods, is a PCMag Editors’ Choice.
It’s not just for numbers. Plenty of people populate Excel’s seemingly infinite grids with data, using it as a flat-file database. It can make a relatively effective contact manager or full-blown customer relationship manager. It’s not all that shocking to see people using it as their word processor, despite Microsoft Word typically sitting right next to it.
One thing almost every Excel user has in common: not knowing enough. There are so many ways to slice and dice numbers, give that data a new look, and more, it’s impossible to recount them all. Entire books are written on the topic. But it’s easy to master some of the more interesting and intricate tips that will make your time using the program a little easier, and will make you look like your office’s guru of high-tech spreadsheetery. So bone up on any or all of these tricks to excel at Excel.