12 Steps to become awesome in Excel (and your work) in 2012

Posted on January 6th, 2012 in Learn Excel - 12 comments

12 Steps to become awesome in Excel (and your work) in 2012Obviously, everywhere you look this week, you find advice on how to do better in 2012.

While you don’t have to wait for a new year to become awesome at your work, You might use the occasion.

So, today I want to share 12 ways to become awesome in Excel. But first I have secret to confess…,

I think becoming awesome in Excel useless.

What we really want is, to become awesome in our work. Since we spend a lot of time using Excel (and other office software), knowing how to use these better can have a huge impact on how we do our work.

In that spirit, lets look at 12 steps to become awesome in your work using Excel.

1. Learn everyday

Curiosity, humbleness & open mind can go a long way in making you awesome. So in order to become awesome in our work, we need to learn everyday. There is a wealth of free, useful & well designed information on net on almost any topic. For Excel, I suggest going thru our archives, category pages on Excel, Charting, Quick Tips, or the Learn any area of Excel page.

2. Volunteer & Improve something at your work

With economy in bad shape, many companies are not investing on new processes & systems. I am sure you have similar situation at your work. So pick up any single process, report, model or procedure & improve it using readily available tools like Excel. For example, you could improve the sales dashboard that gets emailed every month or manage projects better.

3. Help a colleague

The funny thing with knowledge is that, the more you share it, the more you gain. No wonder, when we think of very knowledgeable persons, we imagine teachers & authors. And in any workplace, your knowledge determines how awesome you can be.

So go ahead and help a colleague in need. Share what you know and see the magic.

4. Join a forum & solve a problem

Forums are a great place to find new problems & challenge yourself. Go ahead and contribute in a forum that focuses on your area of work. For Excel, I suggest checking out our Forums.

You will learn new things & the best part is, you are going to help a total stranger. The sense of satisfaction you get is unmatched.

5. Get a book

Despite the amount of information & variety available online, books continue to have a sense of magic. The moment you open a book, your mind opens a new world. So go ahead and indulge in a book or two this year. Learn something & then apply it to your work. See how far you can go.

For Excel & related books, check out my recommendations.

6. Participate in a Contest

Contests are a great way to learn new things, experiment & win something cool. While finding a contest for your exact work area might be difficult, you can find several contests on Excel & other common office software. I am planning to run a few contests this year and I encourage you to participate in at least one of them.

Check out past contests & Excel challenges.

7. Play with an unknown feature

Many of us continue to use software, tools without questioning our practices. For example, despite using Excel quite a bit, I rarely use Review Ribbon. I don’t know many of the things in there. I am sure you too have such gaps. This year, pick one such thing and play with it. Learn what you can do with that feature, do a bit of research, and if possible share your knowledge with people in your work life.

8. Replicate an idea from other industry to your work

Despite all the negativity in the world, we continue to see shining examples of innovation, hope & prosperity. Often, these are simple ideas implemented with finesse. You too can watch elsewhere for inspiration & copy the ideas to your work. For example, you can watch New York Times for interesting visualizations and copy the ideas for your weekly report. Or you can subscribe to blogs in a different industry so that you can get fresh ideas.

Related: Visualization projects.

9. Join a Newsletter or Subscribe to a Blog

While learning from other industries can give you new ideas, learning about your own industry increases your knowledge. So go ahead and join a newsletter or subscribe to a blog. Consume their content regularly and apply these ideas to your work.

For Excel users, I recommend joining our newsletter, Francis’ newsletter, Debra’s blog or any site featured in our Excel links.

10. Jump to YouTube

YouTube continues to be a great way to learn new things. You can find instructional videos on any topic & learn from bite-sized clips.

For Excel users, check out our YouTube channel, ExcelisFun, MrExcel Podcast, Debra’s channel

11. Join a Training Program

One of the best ways to learn & become awesome is to join a class. So this year, invest in a training program that helps you in your work.

To learn Excel & how to use it for your work, I recommend our Excel School, VBA Class programs.

12. Believe that you are Awesome

One of my favorite quotes is,

Whatever human mind can conceive, it can achieve.

Napoleon Hill (in his book Think & Grow Rich)

So the most important aspect of becoming awesome is to believe you are awesome. No books, videos, blogs or contests can make you awesome if you don’t believe that you can be awesome.

Those are my 12 ways to become awesome, what about yours?

So those are my 12 ways to become awesome. What about yours? How are you planning to be awesome this year? Please share using comments.

More Resources to learn

If you want to learn Excel, Dashboards etc., check out these articles too.

Written by Chandoo
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Home: Chandoo.org Main Page
? Doubt: Ask an Excel Question

12 Responses to “12 Steps to become awesome in Excel (and your work) in 2012”

  1. rob says:

    I think this is all very good advice.

    While Excel is a cool program, it pays to be the go-to-guy in a bunch of other technologies/programs as well. Being proficient in Word, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and etc, all add to your skill set. If you know your way around these other technologies you can carve yourself a pretty good niche in your workplace. Breadth, as well as depth, is a key to success.

  2. Gino says:

    I really enjoyed this post! It's rewarding to see how steps I've taken recently are confirmed. I used to use perhaps .005% of Excel's capabilities for years. Then slowly, through a whole lot of help from great resources like this one, I branched out and really started to explore Excel.

    While I'm not too familiar with all the ruckus around FaceTube or whatever you call it, I've managed to move through pivot tables and VBA and more. I truly enjoy exploring Excel and learning more and more every day.

    Thank you for such a wonderful resource!


  3. Lori says:

    I read the book Think and Grow rich this year also. The book was only $10 at Barnes & Noble. Although the book was written many years ago, the advice holds true today. I recommend that everyone take the time to read this book. I would advise re-reading it over and over again too. It has valuable information in it. You can look up Napolean Hill and listen to him on YouTube.
    Thanks for all you do Chandoo!

  4. Anar says:

    Chandoo, your second point is so true nowadays.
    Today, many organizations, including mine, have to devise tools using internally available resources. I have personally authored several reports using Excel and still improving them. Initially, however there was a decision to buy a new tool (software) for the same reporting purposes.

  5. Nyx says:

    Okay you have inspired me to take on number 3 initially which will more that likely move on to 2 and 4. 7 is a given once I find out about something I haven't used before on your site which goes hand in hand with number 1. In fact the only thing that not on my done or to do list is 6 so maybe that can be my goal for this year.
    Thanks Chandoo for your inspiration

  6. Jimhemm says:

    At this very moment I am doing step #2 but am having difficulties. Maybe someone here can help me.

    I am looking for a financial formula with a little twist. Let say I want to Deposit a sum of money ($500K) into an account that earns a guaranteed interest rate that veries(GIR increases every 5 years by .5% Starting with a 1.5%) This account will pay out a level amount for a stated number of years till the account = $0 (Lets say 21 years). Question... What is the level amount?

    A typical formula with a fixed GIR would be:
    As you can see I am not sure how to add a rate that changes every 5 years. Can someone help me with this?

  7. Ravi P says:

    These are some of the most practical ways of learning excel.Learning through Youtube and your website is quite easier than others.

    I was a novice in excel,about 12 months ago.But now I have learnt many things, especially from this website.

  8. Chandoo,
    What a great post! Doing a few simple things can really make a huge difference, either by just reading a book, taking an hour to post an answer on a blog, or even taking a little extra time at work to make a process better.

    I really enjoyed your 7th point, play with an unknown feature. I know recently I have been given a lot of exposure to the Data Ribbon in Excel, and even though I have just skimmed the surface, what a powerful tool that can be! I am looking forward to learn more about this year!

  9. Juan says:

    Chandoo: Thanks a lot for this wonderful and inspiring post that's unmatched, I really admire your humbleness and willingness to share your knowledge without selfishness. The #3 recipe surprised and touched me very much, it's completely true and amazing, "give to get" as the quote says.Your ways to learn Excel are unquestionable true and valuable life lessons.

  10. youssf says:

    Hii need to learn office 2010 because I'm not good about from office because i need him from my business pleas tell me OK.
                              youssf Matty
    this is number (2) may e-mail (youssfmaaty@hotmail.com)
    THINK YOU ...

  11. david says:

    I recommend you learn :

    1/ [Online Course] – Microsoft Excel 2010 Course Beginners/ Intermediate Training


    23017+ users are already taking this course

    2/ [Online Course] – Advanced Excel 2010 Training – Online Excel Course


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  12. Excel Training Courses says:

    Many thanks for this informative piece. It provided me extra knowledge on how to make excel more presentable. I will share these steps to my friends... Thanks a lot and more power! 🙂

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