Advantages of MS Excel You Should Be Aware Of
Microsoft Excel has been an inherent part of the Microsoft Office suite since the very beginning. Excel is a powerful tool for business users, helping with basic accounting as well as complex calculations. Considering its popularity, investing your resources and time to improve your accounting skills is always a good move.
Not to mention that proficient Excel skills are an excellent addition to your resume. This article will cover important advantages of using Excel and how it can benefit your workflow. And if you’re still a beginner, don’t worry – the tips we will share are easy to adapt if you want to learn MS Excel. With this in mind, here’s some theory first.
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What is Microsoft Excel?
Microsoft Excel is a versatile software program for data analysis and spreadsheet editing. According to Statista, it’s used by over a million companies worldwide, with over 800 000 companies in the US. Those experienced in using Excel know it’s a very powerful tool for calculating data. And since the pandemic, the world has been more data-driven than ever, making Excel an invaluable spreadsheet application.
The program lets you create charts and manipulate data with basically an unlimited amount of rows and columns. Microsoft revolutionized the Office suite and brought it to the masses in the early 90s. Accountants started to appreciate the spreadsheet software's ability to automate repetitive tasks and point out any calculation errors. As it began to gain traction, the rest is history.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is an outstanding tool for analyzing data with its advanced functions. From basic arithmetics to complex tasks with advanced formulas and calculations, it’s suitable for every student, business professional, or beginner spreadsheet maker. Microsoft’s Office suite is packed to the brim with functions ideal for every business type, and many companies wouldn’t exist without Excel spreadsheets.
However, every rose has its thorns, and even such a versatile tool has its disadvantages and limitations. Excel has some alternatives with similar calculation features like Xero, Freshbooks, or Quickbooks. So to be completely objective, we’ll cover the pros and cons of using Microsoft Excel so you can decide if it suits your needs.
Advantages of Using Microsoft Excel
In this section, we’ll cover eight advantages of using Microsoft Excel. It has a lot of built in features, but some are more important than others. It also shows why Excel is far superior when compared to other Office applications.
1. Data Storage and Accessibility
Excel is used by 750 million people worldwide, which means it’s an ideal application for storing data. Excel files are one of the most commonly used spreadsheet formats; other users will open them with no problem.
Furthermore, even non-Excel users can open these files since the .xml format is supported by almost every other office suite. Overall, if you’re looking for great data storage and want your files to be easily accessible by others, Excel is a perfect choice for you.
2. Macros and Templates
Macros and Templates are a real-time-saver when it comes to working with Excel. Macros are a flagship Excel function where you can automate repetitive calculations and save a lot of time. Templates, on the other hand, are premade spreadsheets designed for different tasks and placeholder data for easy use.
Here are some examples when using free templates combined with macros is very convenient:
- Budgeting spreadsheet. Ideal for preparing budgets by company or department.
- Expense report template. Great for organizing receipts from trips or work meetings.
- Vacation planner. This template provides you with tabs for months and days and special notes section for plans, packing lists, activities, etc.
Prospect list template. Companies use these when meeting new clients who may not have heard of their services.
3. Calculations of any Kind
The core function of Excel is to make calculations of any kind. Given the number of functions it has, the possibilities are endless. ExcelChamps has provided a list of top 100 Excel functions with examples and sample files if you want to dive deeper into technicalities.
Each Excel function is a predefined formula that returns a specific result based on your specified values. Not only that, but you can also combine different functions to create formulas which are even more advanced tools.
What you can do with formulas:
- Calculate the time difference
- Count cells with text
- Count unique values
- Quarter formula
These are only a few examples of formulas available in Excel and only the basic ones. Most companies use their original formulas, which are way more advanced and usually unavailable to the public.
4. Data Analysis
Apart from advanced calculations and original formulas, you need something to analyze that data and get insights out of it. With a spreadsheet containing thousands of rows, it’s hard to summarize everything on your own.
Now imagine that you can create a pivot table out of that data and create a summary table. Pivot tables can be used for grouping dates, ranking columns, conditional formatting, and many more.
You can visually present your data with charts, making it clean and intuitive. These charts are already preinstalled, and you can insert them with a single click. Simply go to the Insert tab, and in the Charts group, you’ll find all available charts. If you’re not sure which one is suitable for your data, Excel will recommend the best possible chart for your worksheet.
Default charts are usually sufficient, but there’s an option to create custom charts for more advanced users. Anyway, charts are excellent for data organization and making everything easily understandable for everyone.
6. Plenty of Printing Options
The ability to print your document is nothing special, but several options regarding this obvious feature are. Here, you can change the margin, paper size, orientation, and much more. Those options are not available in free alternatives, so it’s worth pointing that out.
7. Coding Capabilities
Excel has its own coding language called VBA (visual basic for applications). It means you can code nearly all activities you perform manually in Excel. Want to automate things like bold text or insert a pivot table? With VBA, all of that is possible. If you want to learn the basics of VBA, check the Excel VBA tutorial by ExcelChamps. More advanced users can even create a custom function to help their workflow.
8. Excel Web App and Mobile Version
Many developers have mobile versions of their flagship apps, and Microsoft is no different in this regard. The entire Office suite is available as a mobile or web app. It has a similar user interface and functions known from the desktop version like pivot tables, macros, functions, etc. Sometimes you don’t have access to your PC, so it’s a perfect way to show a certain spreadsheet from your phone's screen or other portable devices.
Disadvantages of Using Microsoft Excel
There isn’t one perfect Office application, and Excel is no exception. It has some flaws that you should be aware of if you’re using Excel for professional work. We’ve covered five disadvantages you’ll stumble upon when using the most popular spreadsheet editor.
1. Data Growth and File Size
We previously mentioned that Excel has unlimited capabilities in terms of creating spreadsheets and graphs. Technically, it’s true, but when you have a few thousand rows in one application, it can slow down significantly due to your hardware limitations and the software itself. However, you can always use built-in tools like charts to analyze data and free some resources.
2. Steep Learning Curve
This disadvantage is purely subjective since everyone learns at a different pace. However, the number of features Excel provides overwhelms with its functions, formulas, and keyboard shortcuts. Learning Excel takes a lot of time and dedication, but luckily, there are a lot of tutorials teaching you from the very fundamentals to advanced formulas.
The latest Microsoft Office for Home & Business costs up to $249.99 as a one-time purchase. There’s also a subscription plan for Office 365, ranging between $8.25 and $12.50 per month. There’s an option to upgrade from the previous Office version, which is a bit cheaper.
If you use other programs in the Office package, such as Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook, it’s always a good investment. You can also buy MS Excel alone, but considering the retail price of each program, it’s better to spend a bit more on the entire Office package. Businesses are willing to pay the retail price, but many regular customers can’t afford the software, unfortunately.
Luckily, at RoyalCDKeys, you can buy Microsoft Office 2021 Pro Plus Key Retail Global for less than $11, which is a bargain. It’s a legitimate, fully working software that can be activated through official methods.
4. System Compatibility
Microsoft Office is only available on Windows and macOS systems, so every Linux or Ubuntu user must look elsewhere. Also, newer versions of Office have increased hardware requirements, so owners of old computers are stuck with using outdated software versions.
5. Calculation Errors
Even the almighty Excel has some imperfections. The most problematic one is that there are errors in calculations. For example, when working with fractions or percentages, Excel may misplace the decimal point resulting in an error. For someone inexperienced, it’s a big problem that cannot be solved without help from an expert. The worst part is that you have to invest time and money to fix issues that aren’t your fault.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Excel Really That Useful?
Excel gained its status thanks to its ability to perform mass arithmetic computations. Despite some flaws, its still one of the most powerful tools for data analysis on the market.
Why is it Important to Learn Microsoft Excel?
Excel can help you in everyday life, especially if you want to manage personal finances. Besides, developed Excel skills are a fine addition to your resume and may help you get a better job or advance in your career.
Why is Excel so Expensive?
Excel is used by 750 million people worldwide and has been the most recognizable datasheet program since the early 90s. It’s used by large companies, governments, and regular users. Due to its popularity and legendary status, Microsoft has all the rights to set a high retail price for its Office suite.
Can I Buy Microsoft Excel For Cheap?
Yes, you can buy Microsoft Office 2021 Pro Plus Key Retail Global for only a fraction of the retail price on RoyalCDKeys. Microsoft Excel is a part of the Office package but it can be bought separately. However, our offer is a real bargain when you compare the official prices of Excel alone.
Are There Free Alternatives to Microsoft Excel?
Yes, free spreadsheet applications like Google Sheets or LibreOffice are capable of data calculations. However, they have several limitations that may not affect the average user, but they fall short in more advanced calculations.