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Where Is Microsoft Excel Used?
If you work in an accounting firm, marketing company, auto dealership, school attendance office, human resources department of a manufacturing plant, or an office related to city, county, state, or federal government, chances are you’ll be called. To use and learn Excel.
Excel, the most widely used software program in the computing world, is in demand for comparative data analysis in almost every workplace. Excel has been available in various incarnations for over a decade. Each subsequent release takes the program into new territory.
Popular as the best spreadsheet program on the market, Excel is powerful, easy to use and remarkably efficient. Excel is highly interactive. Its spreadsheet cells are organized into collections of rows and columns, each of which holds a number, text string, or formula that performs a function, such as a calculation. It’s easy to copy and move cells as well as modify formulas. A spreadsheet is displayed on a computer screen in a scrollable window that allows the document to be as deep or wide as needed.
While working for a major newspaper in Northern California, I was one of several reporters involved in an annual assessment of our county’s economy. The work involves collecting data that will be punched into Excel spreadsheets that will ultimately sort the information according to the category of statistics being reviewed.
The beauty of Excel, from the point of view of newspaper research projects, is that you can use formulas to recalculate results by changing any cells you use. With this model, you can use the same spreadsheet data to achieve different results by simply defining and changing the formulas as desired. It is this feature that makes Excel so useful in so many different arenas.
With a click of the mouse, we reporters were able to get answers to various questions. Which employer had the most workers? Which of the following had the highest total annual income? Which ones seem to have increased and which ones have decreased sales? What was the amount of real estate loans and did it decrease or increase compared to the previous year?
We looked at local and national retail, services, financial institutions, government agencies, agriculture, the wine industry, tourism and hospitality, construction, residential and commercial real estate, everything imaginable.
Excel allowed us to check ratios, percentages, and anything else we wanted to investigate. Finally, we were able to use Excel to compare the results with data from previous years.
Because the reporters were former English majors, most of those working on this annual project were more familiar with Microsoft Word than with other software programs. Therefore, most of them needed to take Excel training. For some, learning Excel was easy for others. Some rely on guides like the Microsoft Excel Bible. Some reporters went through an Excel tutorial while others learned.
Not only were the Excel spreadsheets important to the research, the format of each was published in the newspaper. Here’s where some additional Excel functions come into play. Editors were able to make spreadsheets more visually appealing by using colors and shading, borders and lines, and other features that made it easier for readers to understand.
Wearing another of my many hats in the newsroom, I mostly wrote articles about the local job market. I found that proficiency in Excel was a requirement for many different job positions and that recruiting firms in that field offered opportunities for their clients to take free or low-cost Excel tutorials in preparation for the workplace. Most employers expect job candidates to know the software they need for the job and don’t want to train new hires.
Don’t kid yourself. If you are looking for any kind of office work, you need to know not only Microsoft Word but also Excel.
Excel and Microsoft are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation, registered in the US and other countries.
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