Excel University Sparkline

A newsletter designed to help you learn Excel and work faster

Excel University Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 3 © excel-university.com - all rights reserved


Message from Jeff

Jeff LenningIf you've ever sat down to update an Excel workbook and thought to yourself I have no idea what I'm doing, you are not alone. This feeling is common with Excel because it is a big place. Next time you feel this way, don't be discouraged! Instead, let this feeling motivate you to continue learning Excel. You see, NOT knowing Excel is probably why your Excel reports take longer than they should. And, probably why errors pop up.

I know, because this is what happened to me. My lack of Excel knowledge caused me to waste a lot of time preparing reports manually and spending more time than was needed. Plus, I had to constantly rewrite formulas and correct errors.

However, once I committed to figuring out how Excel works ... I mean, how it really works ... updating my workbooks took only a tiny fraction of the time they used to. So, this week, I just want to speak encouragement into you, and tell you that you can do it!

Excel Topic of the Week

If you haven't explored Power Query yet, it is one of Excel's biggest time-savings features.

It is designed to get and transform data. That is, to automate the process of retrieving external data into your workbook and cleaning it up.

If you often bring data into your workbooks via Copy/Paste, or spend time manually preparing the data for use, then Power Query is going to really help you out.

I wrote an article about Power Query for the California Society of CPAs called Get & Transform, and it provides a great overview for getting started.

Student Success

I'd like to highlight one of our students. Bob is a senior accountant and works in New Mexico.

He said that he enjoyed learning about Pivot Tables "which were like magic" and he now uses them all the time.

He said workbooks that used to take 4 hours now take 5 minutes! Wow ... way to go Bob!

We have free resources that can help you get started with PivotTables.

Weekly Challenge

Ready for the weekly challenge? This week, I challenge you to pay attention to the time you spend in Excel. You could create a log if you'd like, but this challenge is really about creating a general sense of awareness.

Specifically, be aware of how often you open Excel, how many hours you spend in Excel, how much time is spent performing manual updates, locating errors, and fixing errors.

Next, identify which of the manual tasks truly need to be done by you, a human, and which could be done by Excel. The time you spend doing manual tasks is the opportunity.

This is the amount of time you can save by learning how to get Excel to do these tasks.

Excel Shortcut

Open a workbook:

  • Windows: Ctrl O
  • Mac: ⌘ O

Closing Thought

When you think about where you want to be in the future with your Excel skills and the reality of where you are today ... the gap may feel large. Bridging that gap may not be easy. In fact, it will take effort and hard work as noted in this quote:


"Effort and hard work construct the bridge that connects your dreams to reality." 

-Daisaku Ikeda


In my experience, this effort is rewarded with tremendous efficiency gains. The time you spend learning Excel will produce far more time savings. It does take effort ... but it is worth it 🙂

Excel University Info

Excel University helps you learn Excel and work faster. We have tons of free resources as well as structured training programs.


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