Excel How To Get Help with ChatGPT

Microsoft Excel can feel overwhelming with its vast array of features, commands, and tools. When you are trying to do something in Excel, and aren’t sure how … what do you do? Traditionally, this is where a Google search happens. And, we can certainly continue using online search. However, we now have another option available in ChatGPT. In this post, we’ll learn how to get general Excel help from ChatGPT.

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Step-by-step

Let’s begin by heading to the free ChatGPT website chat.openai.com. Now let’s explore a few different prompts.

Exercise 1

Let’s say we are trying to build a summary report, but we’re not familiar with all the different features and commands within Excel. So, let’s ask ChatGPT. We start a new chat and use the following prompt.

ChatGPT prompt: “Tell me in one sentence which excel feature can help build a report fast.”

ChatGPT responds with:

And, yes, I would have to agree … a PivotTable would be the feature that would help quickly summarize data.

Exercise 2

Now, let’s say that the data we need for our report, which will be a PivotTable, is stored in a csv file. And, we aren’t sure about the best feature to help us get the data from the csv and format it it for our report. Let’s ask ChatGPT.

ChatGPT prompt: “Which excel feature can help me get data from a csv and format it for a pivot table?”

ChatGPT response:

To get data from a CSV file and format it for a pivot table in Excel, you can use the “Get & Transform” feature, also known as Power Query. This feature allows you to import, transform, and load data from various sources, including CSV files.

Here’s how you can use Power Query to import and format data for a pivot table:

  1. Open Excel and go to the “Data” tab in the ribbon.
  2. Click on “Get Data” or “Get & Transform Data” (depending on your Excel version).
  3. Select “From Text/CSV” from the available options. This will open a file explorer window.
  4. Navigate to the location where your CSV file is stored, select the file, and click “Import.”
  5. In the “Text Import Wizard” dialog box, you can specify the delimiter (usually a comma for CSV files) and preview the data.
  6. Click “Load” to import the data into Excel.

At this point, the data from the CSV file will be imported into a new worksheet in Excel. Now, you can format the data for your pivot table:

  1. Select the imported data in Excel.
  2. Go to the “Insert” tab in the ribbon and click on “PivotTable.” This will open the “Create PivotTable” dialog box.
  3. In the dialog box, select the range of data you want to use for your pivot table. Make sure to check the box that says “Add this data to the Data Model.”
  4. Choose where you want to place your pivot table (either in a new worksheet or an existing one) and click “OK.”

Now, you can start building your pivot table by dragging and dropping the desired fields into the “Rows,” “Columns,” and “Values” areas of the PivotTable Field List. Power Query automatically refreshes the data in the pivot table whenever the original CSV file is updated.

And the response is excellent (although not perfect). It love that it recommends Power Query and also attempts to provide detailed steps. It also shows how to create a PivotTable from the imported data. However, Power Query won’t automatically refresh the data in a PivotTable whenever the original CSV file is updated by default … but it is easy to refresh it by clicking the Refresh All button.

In the grand scheme of things, the overall response is helpful and probably quicker than doing an online search and navigating through several blog posts. And, it would certainly be sufficient to help someone understand that Power Query exists, that it can retrieve csv data, and that you can summarize that data with a PivotTable. Even if the user needs additional assistance, it certainly points them in the right direction. So, overall, I’d say the response is really helpful.

Exercise 3

This one is just for fun!

ChatGPT prompt: “Write a short love poem about excel”

ChatGPT response:

Oh my beloved spreadsheet
So many cells to fill and edit
Your formulas and functions
Make my heart skip and jump like percussion


You organize my life with ease
With graphs and charts you aim to please
Your conditional formatting is nothing short of enchanting
I can’t help but stare at your rows and columns so fair


You make my data so neat, my love for you oh so sweet
Oh my love for you will never cease
You bring order to my chaos with such ease
My heart sings with joy thanks to you, my precious spreadsheet oh boy!

Conclusion

So if you want to get help with Microsoft Excel, consider asking ChatGPT. While its responses may not be 100% accurate all the time, it is certainly a quick place to start.

If I can provide any additional information, or if you have any other ChatGPT suggestions or uses, please share by posting a comment below … thanks!

Sample File

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Jeff Lenning

I love sharing the things I've learned about Excel, and I built Excel University to help me do that. My motto is: Learn Excel. Work Faster.

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