Knowing your way around Microsoft excel in this day and age is an important skill that people can possess. It can set you different from other candidates that have applied for a job, and it also looks great on your resume.
Advanced skills in Microsoft excel means understanding and possessing the ability to use graphing, tables, spreadsheets, calculations, and automation efficiently to process vast quantities of data and compile and present them.
Using excel cell references, keyboard shortcuts, ranges with data, and style are all basic skills of excel. Zooming out or in and showing formulas and basic spreadsheet formatting belong to Excel’s basic skill set.
Using more advanced formulas like SUM, AVERAGE, and SUMPRODUCT can be used for spreadsheets to calculate different things. This is usually said as the Intermediate level of mastery over excel.
Advanced excel skills are about VBA programming and various tasks. It is used for things like data analytics and simulation.
We will go through some examples of what can be considered advanced excel skills and make you the ideal candidate for a job.
ADVANCED SKILLS CHECKLIST:
1. VLOOKUP (Vertical Lookup)
Vertical Lookup or VLOOKUP is used to retrieve the column’s data by looking up a value in that table. It retrieves the data from the column vertically using a lookup value.
The function consists of four parts.
- First is the value that you want to look up.
- The second is the range between which you want to find the return value and the value.
- The column numbers that contain the return value within the particular range.
- True or One for an approximate match. False or Zero for an exact match you’re looking for with the value.
Syntax: VLOOKUP([value],[range],[column number],[false or true])
It acts like a merger that merges various information sets into one. It is beneficial as it comes up with the corresponding interest rate flow with a financial model’s debt schedule. It is also used for looking up the quantity sold of a specific item. Sales bonuses can also be calculated with this.
However, the function is considered a vulnerable function since it is not automatically updated when something is updated, like a column being added. That is why a combination of INDEX and MATCH is used to get the same results.
2. INDEX MATCH
This tool comprises two functions; MATCH and INDEX. A cell’s value at a given location is returned in a list or table by the INDEX function. By MATCH function, the position of a cell is returned in a column or a row.
When combined, this allows the formula to become more dynamic, like in a two-way lookup. It is similar to VLOOKUP, but INDEX MATCH is considered more flexible.
- INDEX needs numeric positions.
- MATCH finds those positions.
- MATCH is nested inside INDEX.
The specific uses are like returning the sales figure for a particular month for a particular agent. It is also used to create a financial summary. It also helps in making a purchase order along with a price list.
3. ADVANCED CONDITIONAL FORMATTING
Conditional formatting gives the user a quick way to design a spreadsheet and add a visual analysis layer to a data set. It also creates advanced tools like Harvey bubbles and heat maps.
A heat map represents data to show the smaller or larger values than the others, with values represented as colors, generally a spectrum of warm-to-cool color.
Harvey balls are qualitative information represented graphically to indicate the degree to which an item meets a particular criterion.
More functions that Advanced Conditional Formatting has are to flag data entry problems. The function also shows duplicates. It also highlights rows that have maximum sales.
4. PIVOT TABLES AND REPORTING
Large sets of data can be made into reports by using the pivot table function. The pivot table is like a report table, but you will view similar data from different perspectives. It can be used to filter data to include or exclude categories, group data into categories and make charts with pivot tables.
Pivot tables are mainly used to build employee databases, product databases, and project sales records. It can count the number of items and group items in each category. The function can also help sum the item’s value or compute the average, find minimal and maximal value, etc.
5. MACROS AND VBA
VBA Macros or Visual Basic Application in Excel are used to speed up manual tasks and customize user-generated functions by creating automation processes. Its basic use and function are to customize and change the user interface by creating personalized menus, toolbars, forms, and dialogue boxes.
It is also utilized for cleaning up and formatting data quickly. It can also list out data on all the sheets. The function can automate actions and properties in pivot tables. User forms can be created and modified using this, as well. It can also be applied to create systems to make, update or change excel files.
Macros are written using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) language, which is stored in modules. Using a macro requires an in-depth knowledge of VBA. It helps automate tasks, but because of its complexity, not every user can use it.
6. DATA SIMULATIONS
A simulation is defined as an imitation of a situation or process. This is used to create a mathematical model that shows the features and other characteristics of a system.
The model shows how the system will react in specific scenarios that can analyze or forecast outcomes of a situation. There are many advanced software programs available today for simulations that can be used by someone with advanced Excel tools simulation skills.
A user must know features like generating random number functions to do a simulation on excel. They should know different statistical functions, what-if analysis tools, and data tables.
Data simulations can simulate online ad activities to determine possible average sales for a period in terms of application. It can find patterns based on recent data and model customer lifetime value based on their product-purchasing trajectory.