5 Benefits of Microsoft Excel

Improving productivity with Microsoft Excel

Lady studying Microsoft Excel chart.

Microsoft Excel gives businesses the tools they need to make the most of their data. And when it comes to making the most of resources, and maximising return on investment, this is becoming increasingly important. Firms are collecting ever-greater volumes of data from multiple sources, including in-store-transactions, online sales and social media. They need to be able to collate and analyse this information quickly and effectively.

Excel spreadsheets are commonly used across business to display financial information and other data relevant to the running of the business. This could be information relevant to the customer relationship management department, sales, marketing or HR. With so many business functions now reliant on IT and the internet, Excel continues to be seen as a vital tool for administration and the effective running of a business.

Here are five of the top features and benefits of Microsoft Excel:

Build great charts

Excel allows business users to unlock the potential of their data, by using formulas across a grid of cells. Data is inserted into individual cells in rows or columns, allowing it to be sorted and filtered, and then displayed in a visual presentation. Using pie charts, graphs and clustered columns adds meaning to data, which otherwise may just exist as row after row of numbers. These visualisations can add extra emphasis to business reports and persuasive marketing material. Excel recommends charts most suitable for the type of data being presented on the X and Y axis.

Use conditional formatting

Excel users can format their spreadsheets using different colour shades, bolds and italics, to differentiate between columns and bring the most important data to the fore. This function could be useful when presenting accounting information, such as the pre-tax profit and the balance being carried forward by the company. Users can select an appropriate colouring scheme via the Quick Analysis button, and then by utilising the Formatting tab.

Help identify trends

When presenting data in the form of charts or graphs, it can be helpful to include average lines, which explicitly detail the key trends emerging from the information. This may help demonstrate the key points to other users in a straightforward manner – for instance, an executive from a different department during a board meeting. Excel allows trend lines to be extended beyond the graph, to offer predictions of future activity – and such forecasts can help businesses develop their future strategy.

Bring data together

Excel can be used to bring information from various files and documents together, so that it exists in a single location. As well as raw data and information from other spreadsheets, it is possible to import text and images. Other objects can be added using the Insert tab, or additional spreadsheets can be added to the file.

Online access

Excel is available as part of Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium. This means business leaders and employees have access to the program from a range of devices, from almost any location. Providing they have a web-enabled PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet it should be possible to access Excel, making remote and mobile working viable.

Posted by Steve Williams

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