Excel University Sparkline

A newsletter designed to help you learn Excel and work faster

Excel University Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 4 © excel-university.com - all rights reserved


Message from Jeff

Jeff LenningThe satisfaction of Excel competence is completely captured by that little dude's expression in the image above. The feeling of being good at something is such a boost to a person's confidence.

Growing up, I wasn't good at sports. I mean, I'm not all that coordinated or athletic. But, I was good at playing trumpet.

I played in marching bands, jazz bands, was accepted to all-state band, played in the Rose Parade, and was even able to earn money at it. Having just one thing I was good at helped my confidence.

In today's business climate, being good at Excel will absolutely boost your confidence. Excel competence enables you to do things your peers are unable to do. It is like having a super power that enables you to get your work done faster and with fewer errors.

I remember after I had developed a certain level of Excel skill, my peers would look at me quizzically when I would leave work at 5pm. They had to work late during budget season. They were like "Jeff, aren't you going to work on your budgets?" I was like "They are already done!"

This story is NOT designed to highlight my Excel skills ... it is to help motivate you to get good at Excel. It is to let you know you don't have to work late nights or weekends when you understand how to delegate your manual tasks to Excel. Part of my mission at Excel University is to teach you the technical Excel skills, yes ... but another part of my job is to inspire and motivate you to learn ūüôā

Excel Topic of the Week

If you haven't learned how to use Power Pivot, it is a feature that will help you efficiently develop PivotTables from multiple data tables.

I hear you thinking "Wait up Jeff ... PivotTables can only summarize data from ONE table. Not multiple tables!" That USED to be true, back in the old days. This limitation is no longer the case now that we have Power Pivot and the data model.

If you build reports from multiple data tables, you'll probably be able to do them faster each month after learning Power Pivot.

The good news is that I wrote an intro to Power Pivot and the Data Model for the California Society of CPAs called Data Model Walkthrough.

Student Success

I'd like to highlight one of our students. Lacey recently completed Masters 1, which shows how to use Power Query and Power Pivot to create a process that automates recurring reports.

She said "Creating the process, rather than the report, makes so much more sense and can definitely save so much time! I'm amazed by what Excel can do!"

Congratulations on completing Masters 1 Lacey!


Note: we have free resources that can help you get started with Power Query and Power Pivot.

Weekly Challenge

What are you good at? Is there a special talent, hobby, interest, sport, activity, craft, musical ability, or other skill you've developed over the years? When you think about this activity or skill, you probably feel good.

Think about what it would mean for you to be extremely competent in Excel. Improved confidence? Greater opportunity? Fewer hours in the office? Less stress?

The reality is that we are all at different places on our Excel journey. We often learn Excel skills based on our workbooks. Depending on what we work on, some Excel topics are more useful to us than others.

Having said that, I've organized Excel topics in a suggested order. If you take this short Skills Survey, I'll email you a custom learning plan. It will include the topics I'd recommend next, along with links to free resources to help you learn them.

Excel Shortcut

Open the Format Cells dialog:

  • Windows:¬†Ctrl 1
  • Mac:¬†‚Ćė 1

Closing Thought

Being great at Excel doesn't mean we start off that way. It isn't like we open Excel the first time and instinctively just know how it works. We start our learning journey and develop skills along the way. I love this quote by Zig Ziglar:


"You don't have to be great to start; but you have to start to be great." 

-Zig Ziglar


This is so true for Excel users. We do not have to possess some natural Excel talent. We simply need to be willing to get started just as we are. The competence will come as we proceed through the journey.

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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