Below you will find Excel learner guides that have been broken down into specific tasks, you can also find the learner files to help you work through examples.

We have split these into three levels, level one is for the more basic features of Excel moving up to level three for more advanced learning, you can also search this page by using the box below.



Level One    




Getting to know Excel
(PDF, 18 page, 1.8MB) 

Excel is a tool used to perform calculations with numbers so virtually any task that requires calculation and number crunching can be setup and performed in Excel.

Creating a new workbook
(PDF, 15 pages, 915KB)

The data you enter and use in Microsoft Excel will be stored in a file that is referred to as a workbook. It is into a workbook that you type data such as text, numbers, and even dates.

Working with workbooks
(PDF, 11 pages, 675KB)

Workbooks and their pages (worksheets) can hold an enormous amount of data. To work effectively with your workbooks you need firstly to be able to locate them on your computer, and then be able to locate the data contained within them.

Selecting ranges
(PDF, 10 pages, 565KB)

Excel works on a select and then do concept - you select a cell or range of cells and then you do something with or to the selected cell(s). Telling Excel which cell or cells to work with is referred to as selecting.

Formulas and functions
(PDF, 15 pages, 830KB)

Excel allows you to process numbers with formulas that are used to perform calculations. Excel also contains several hundred pre-programmed formulas for performing complex operations – these are known as functions.

Copying data
(PDF, 10 pages, 520KB)

There will be many occasions when working with workbooks where you will need to duplicate data such as text, numbers, and even formulas. Excel does have some quirky aspects that you will need to become comfortable and familiar with.

Formula referencing
(PDF, 8 pages, 450KB)

Formulas provide the key to working successfully with Microsoft Excel. When you create a formula you write it using cell references rather than actual hard-coded values – this is how spreadsheeting works.

Font formatting
(PDF, 14 pages, 780KB)

You can greatly improve the readability of your worksheets, emphasising key data and perhaps downplaying less-than-glamorous data, by formatting the cells in the worksheet and changing the look, feel, colour, and size of the fonts.

Cell alignment
(PDF, 9 pages, 420KB)

Microsoft Excel provides you with a great number of options for placing your data within a cell. These options determine how the data within a cell will be aligned.

Row and column formatting
(PDF, 10 pages, 501KB)

In Microsoft Excel you can perform a number of formatting operations on entire rows and columns, including increasing width and height, decreasing width and height, and also hiding columns and rows that may contain sensitive data.

Number formatting
(PDF, 10 pages, 500KB)

In Excel, number formatting refers to making the numbers appear with a specific number of decimal places, with percentage or currency signs, and even as dates or times. It's one of the key aspects of ensuring that your data is easy to read and comprehend.

(PDF, 10 pages, 1MB)

Despite the “paperless” office there is still a great deal of printing going on from applications like Excel. Being able to convert what you have on your screen into a format and presentation that is suitable for paper is an important skill to have.

Creating charts
(PDF, 16 pages, 1.7MB)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a chart in a worksheet can be worth a thousand numbers! Charts are used to summarise data, reflecting proportions, trends, and anomalies in your data far more effectively.

Learner Files
(ZIP, 660KB)

If you want to try out the exercises in the learning guides above you'll need to unzip these files into your My Documents area on your desktop.



Level Two




Filling data
(PDF, 10 page, 580KB) 

Filling refers to the process of filling cells with data. It is very much like copying the contents of one cell to another, and in some cases does exactly that. In other situations, filling can create a series of data items in consecutive cells.

Moving data
(PDF, 6 pages, 380KB)

When a worksheet is first created, it may be difficult to envisage exactly where all the data should appear. Similarly, over time, spreadsheets may grow and as a result data may need to be moved to another location.

Logical functions
(PDF, 10 pages, 565KB)

Logical functions are used in spreadsheets to test whether a situation is true or false. Depending on the result of that test, you can then elect to do one thing or another such as display information, perform calculations, or to perform further tests.

Formula techniques
(PDF, 10 pages, 650KB)

Most people are familiar with simple formulas such as =B2+B3 and simple functions such as SUM, but there is so much more that you can do with formulas and functions. Most functions require parameters – extra bits of information – to perform their task.

Number formatting techniques
(PDF, 6 pages, 450KB)

Having selected a format for your numbers, be it currency, date, time, etc you are then able to select from a range of formats within each category. For instance, format dates to appear in a short 01/02/08 format, or longer Friday 01 February, 2008.

Conditional formatting
(PDF, 14 pages, 1.1MB)

Formatting allows you to change the way that the data in cells in a worksheet appear on the screen. For example, numbers can be made to appear as currency values or percentages by formatting them accordingly.

Applying borders
(PDF, 10 pages, 570KB)

Border in a spreadsheet is a term that refers to lines placed around the edges of cells or ranges. Borders can be used to provide structure to a spreadsheet, to indicate where data should be entered or just for decoration.

Page setup
(PDF, 14 pages, 780KB)

Page setup refers to the way we position the spreadsheet on the printed page and what additional information we include, if any.

Working with a worksheet
(PDF, 10 pages, 925KB)

To help you make the best use of worksheets it helps if you have a complete understanding of how they are structured and how you can work with them.

Worksheet techniques
(PDF, 16 pages, 780KB)

Excel workbooks are three-dimensional. They have rows, columns and worksheets. The rows and columns that form a worksheet are the two core dimensions. A workbook can be made up of multiple worksheets – forming a third dimension.

Finding and replacing
(PDF, 12 pages, 843KB)

As the names imply, finding involves looking for particular information or data in a worksheet and replacing means replacing the data you’ve found with a new value.

Sorting data
(PDF, 8 pages, 1MB)

Microsoft Excel allows you to sort worksheet data alphabetically, numerically or chronologically. You can sort your data by columns, starting from the highest value working down to the lowest or from the lowest value working up to the highest.

Filtering data
(PDF, 8 pages, 680KB)

You can use a spreadsheet to collect information, organising it into a table of columns and rows. This table can also be referred to as a database, and shares database terminology. Each row in the list is called a record and is one unit of information.

Charting techniques
(PDF, 14 pages, 850KB)

When you create a chart in Excel, it’s produced with a default layout and appearance. You can modify the layout, by adding labels and other features, to improve its appearance and readability.

Chart text formatting
(PDF, 8 pages, 560KB)

Text is used in charts to provide titles, units of measure, category names and as part of legends. You can accept the default text format that is created with a chart or apply your own formatting.

Learner Files
(ZIP, 2.2MB)

If you want to try out the exercises in the learning guides above you'll need to unzip these files into your My Documents area on your desktop.


Level Three




Lookup functions
(PDF, 14 page, 750KB) 

Excel provides a number of functions that allow you to look up and extract data from a list or table. These are known as Lookup functions and they can be used for a variety of purposes.

Setting Excel options
(PDF, 6 pages, 380KB)

All of Microsoft Excel’s settings are located in the Excel Options dialog box. The Excel Options control the behaviour and appearance of Excel, enabling you to adjust the operation of the spreadsheet package to suit the way you work.

Chart object formatting
(PDF, 14 pages, 985KB)

While charts are created with a default appearance, you can change the formatting of each object that comprises the chart to create a fully customised version.

Labels and names
(PDF, 14 pages, 826KB)

Labels and names are used to identify cells and ranges using a tag that is more meaningful than ordinary cell references such as B6 or C5:D11. These names and labels can be used in formulas to make them easier to understand.

Protecting Data
(PDF, 10 pages, 715KB)

Data in worksheets can be protected, for instance, to prevent accidental erasure or modification of key values or complex formulas, or even to prevent users from entering data anywhere else in the worksheet or workbook other than specific input cells.

Summarising and subtotalling
(PDF, 8 pages, 690KB)

Spreadsheets are often used to store data in a list – in rows and columns. Often there is a need to provide grand totals at the bottom and subtotals throughout the data – as a summary.

Data linking
(PDF, 6 pages, 430KB)

The process of displaying or using data that resides in another cell, perhaps even in another workbook, is known as data linking. Excel enables you to link the data in your worksheet with data in other sheets, other workbooks and even other applications.

Data consolidation
(PDF, 6 pages, 560KB)

Data Consolidation refers to the process of combining the data from separate worksheets into one. Excel recognises that this is the sort of process that could be performed frequently, and so provides a feature that will create the consolidation for you.

(PDF, 10 pages, 750KB)

PivotTables provide a very easy and convenient way of analysing data in lists and external databases.

PivotTable techniques
(PDF, 16 pages, 1MB)

PivotTables provide a very easy and convenient way of analysing data in lists and external databases. Once you have mastered the basics of how they work, you are ready to begin to learn some of the more intricate and advanced aspects of PivotTables.

Pivot Charts
(PDF, 6 pages, 560KB)

PivotTables create a very convenient and efficient way of analysing and interpreting data from internal lists and external databases. However, the data is presented in a tabular format.

Goal seeking
(PDF, 4 pages, 284KB)

Many of the calculations we perform in Excel take existing values and use them to determine the result. However, sometimes we know the result, but don’t know the values that are required to achieve that result.

Grouping and outlining
(PDF, 6 pages, 430KB)

Grouping and outlining is the process of creating a hierarchy within your worksheet. By grouping various cells together you can create levels of information that can be hidden or displayed as required.

(PDF, 14 pages, 850KB)

If you have a result that you are trying to reach, multiple values that can change, and multiple constraints for each of these values, then Solver is exactly what you need to solve your problem.

Recorded macros
(PDF, 16 pages, 1.2MB)

Macros provide a way of automating operations in Microsoft Excel. One of the easiest ways to create a macro is to use the macro recorder. The macro recorder records the actions that you perform through the keyboard and mouse.

Recorder workshop
(PDF, 8 pages, 715KB)

The Macro Recorder can be used to create macros to automate your work, or to make a worksheet more user-friendly for colleagues. Complex calculations can be recorded by an experienced Excel operator and then linked to objects on the worksheet.

Learner Files
(ZIP, 3.2MB)

If you want to try out the exercises in the learning guides above you'll need to unzip these files into your My Documents area on your desktop.