How to Learn Excel for Free: Your Ultimate Guide

How to Learn Excel for Free Your Ultimate Guide

How to Learn Excel for Free: Your Ultimate Guide

Learning Excel is an incredibly useful skill that can boost your productivity and enhance your career opportunities. With the right dedication and strategy, you can become an Excel power user without spending a dime. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know to learn Excel for free.

Use Free Online Tutorials and Courses

The internet is full of high-quality Excel tutorials and courses that you can access entirely for free. Video hosting sites like YouTube have countless Excel tutorial videos that walk you through everything from basic functions to advanced formulas.

Large online course platforms also have free Excel courses that you can audit. While you won’t get a certificate, you will get access to video lectures, assignments, and forums where you can engage with other learners. These structured courses allow you to learn Excel in an organized way and test your knowledge along the way.

Download Practice Datasets

Practicing real Excel skills on actual datasets is one of the best ways to cement your learning. Luckily, there are many free sample Excel files and datasets available online that you can download and use for practice.

Good resources include practice workbooks, sample files for testing, Excel exercises, and sample data. Downloading diverse Excel files will allow you to practice everything from formatting to formulas to visualizations. Repeated hands-on application of skills is key to becoming fluent in Excel.

Learn from Excel Support Resources

As the maker of Excel, Microsoft offers a wealth of free official resources to help you learn the software. Make use of the Excel support section of Microsoft’s website to get training courses, quickstarts, tutorials, and more.

Some particularly helpful free offerings include skills checklists, beginner tutorials, step-by-step courses, how-to videos, and template galleries. With Microsoft’s official training, you can be confident you are learning proper Excel techniques and best practices.

Join Online Excel Communities

One of the best ways to accelerate your Excel learning is to join an online Excel community. Here you can get answers to your specific questions, share tips and tricks, and learn from more advanced users.

There are active Excel communities on popular discussion platforms like Reddit and web forums. In these communities, you can post any Excel issue you’re struggling with and get input from experienced users. Learning from others who have more experience can help you pick up new skills much faster.

Follow Excel Experts

In addition to communities, you can follow Excel power users, trainers, and experts on blogs and social media. By watching their tutorial videos, reading their blogs, and absorbing their social media tips, you can absorb a wealth of advanced Excel knowledge for free.

Use the Excel Help System

Don’t overlook the detailed help available right within Excel! The Excel help system provides a full user guide, training courses, how-to articles, and searchable help for any Excel topic or error message you encounter. Spend time clicking through the various help sections to deeply familiarize yourself with all of Excel’s capabilities and functions without having to scour the internet.

Unlock Free Trial Versions

Many paid Excel courses and subscription services offer free trials that you can take advantage of. For example, some platforms give you 1 month of free access to all their beginner, intermediate, and advanced Excel courses. Sign up for these free trials to squeeze out as much high-quality training as you can in a short period of time.

Learn Basic Excel Skills First

Before jumping into more complex Excel functionality, take the time to build a strong foundation in basic Excel skills. This includes:

  • Knowing your way around the Excel interface
  • Entering data into cells and ranges
  • Resizing rows and columns
  • Styling cells and ranges with formatting
  • Writing basic formulas
  • Using relative and absolute cell references
  • Copying formulas
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Creating basic charts

Having these core skills will make learning more advanced Excel features much faster and easier.

Learn Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard shortcuts will allow you to use Excel much more efficiently. Start memorizing the most common shortcuts like copy, paste, undo and save.

Then begin learning shortcuts for navigation like jumping to the edge of a dataset. Finally, master shortcuts for formatting, formulas, and more. Printable cheat sheets can help you memorize shortcuts.

Take Notes and Document Your Learning

As you learn Excel, take notes on important concepts, handy tips, and key techniques. Save your notes in a Word doc, Evernote notebook, or OneNote. You can also start your own Excel wiki or knowledge base where you document formulas, chart types, pivot table steps, and more. This documentation will serve as a handy reference guide and refresher as you use Excel.

Learn Excel with Practice Projects

One of the most effective ways to learn Excel is to work hands-on with practice projects relevant to your work or interests. Some ideas:

  • Build a budget tracker
  • Make a savings plan with projections
  • Track your health and fitness routine
  • Analyze your fantasy sports league’s stats
  • Create an inventory management sheet
  • Build a sales pipeline report
  • Make a data dashboard

Learning Excel through practical real-world projects gives context and meaning to the knowledge, ensuring you develop functional skills.

Take Free Excel Assessment Tests

Taking free online Excel assessment tests can help you benchmark your skills, identify weak areas, and practice for technical interviews. Helpful sites offer practice tests for basic and advanced Excel skills. Use these tests to find skill gaps you need to focus your learning on. Then retake them later to measure your improvement over time.

Watch Excel Conference Videos

Large tech conferences often have hours of free Excel sessions from experts. You can watch recordings covering tips, tricks, and advanced functionality across Excel and related Microsoft products.

Explore Excel Templates

Microsoft’s large selection of Excel templates can also further your learning for free. Downloading templates for budgets, trackers, calendars, forms and more will let you reverse-engineer how they work. See how formulas, formatting, macros, and data validation are used in real-world scenarios. Trying out templates is a great way to develop functional Excel skills.

Volunteer to Use Excel

Find opportunities to use Excel in a volunteer capacity for a company or non-profit organization. Offer to help them solve problems, improve processes, and analyze data with Excel. You may also be able to help friends, family, or community members with Excel projects they need assistance with. Nothing accelerates learning like using Excel for actual projects where you apply your skills.


Whether you’re a student, office worker, entrepreneur, or job seeker, becoming proficient in Excel is a worthy investment of time that can really pay off. With this comprehensive set of tips and resources, you have everything you need to go from Excel novice to expert entirely through free online tutorials, practice files, help documentation, and engaging with Excel communities.

If you commit to consistently improving your Excel skills, one day you’ll find yourself as one of the “Excel gurus” that others rely on. With the right strategy, you can learn Excel quickly, thoroughly, and entirely for free. The key is to be focused on finding quality free resources, practicing your skills, and applying Excel to real-world tasks and projects. By doing so, anyone can go from beginner to expert for free.

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