Excel classes online: best options in 2021

Why take Excel online classes? Since its release in 1985, Microsoft Excel has become an inseparable part of many businesses. It’s estimated that around 800 million people actively use it today, so it comes as no surprise if I tell you it’s considered the most important computer program[1] in workplaces around the world.

Perhaps it’s due to Excel’s unbeatable practicality. Many established companies use it to calculate, organize and evaluate data for all kinds of purposes, such as organizing sales, accounting, budgeting, data collection and analysis, reporting, forecasting - the list goes on.

Whatever field you’re in, chances are Excel skills will benefit your career (and even time management). It’s an extremely useful tool. Of course, it does have its own set of strengths and weaknesses but given its popularity, it’s not going away anytime soon. With Excel classes online, now you can easily acquire those skills that will make you an (even more) marketable employee and a more efficient human altogether.

In this article, you’ll find the best online Excel courses to take right now on top e-learning platforms, organized by well-known universities like the University of British Columbia, Macquire University, and other experts. I’ll also include an option for a professional certificate, and free courses available at any time.

Excel Classes Online: Are They Worth It?

If you’re looking to expand your skillset in the existing field, advance your career or simply become more marketable as an employee - taking Excel classes online is actually a good idea. You gain a highly marketable skill at a minimal amount of time and money

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I mean technically, you could develop certain Excel skills on the job too, however, learning it this way can be a lot more tricky since you’ll have to take in a lot of information at once, given that most companies will already have developed their own way of operating, which means no clean (and clear) spreadsheets to practice with.

Plus, chances of getting hired in a workplace that utilizes this program are higher if you already have this skill on your CV. It shows employers that you’re already familiar with at least the basics and that you’re motivated to do your job well. Most office-based jobs use Excel at some point

All in all, it all comes down to whether you already have some experience in working with Excel. If you don’t have any work experience to prove you know how to work with this software - go for it!

By the way, you can access most of the Excel courses in this article for free, so there’s no risk involved whatsoever. You can always enroll in a course, see if you like it or not - and then decide whether you need to upgrade to the full program with a certificate or not. 

As I mentioned earlier, Excel software is used for many purposes in various companies. Let’s take a look at some of those in more detail.

Excel online classes: best courses

The following are different areas in which Excel software contributes to business operations

#1 Building charts

The structure of this software helps to sort and filter information efficiently. Excel allows to enliven dry data through pie charts, graphs, and clustered columns, which adds meaning to that data. Plus, users can apply various formulas across a grid of cells, making it a lot easier (and faster) to work with large sets of data.

#2 Financial accounting for better decisions

Excel is an electronic spreadsheet that processes data, and accounting generates a lot of data for managing financial activities. This is why financial accounting and Excel software are tied so closely together. When accounting generates data, Excel is used to process it and produce a result, which is then analyzed for making better decisions.

With regard to the interests of clients and suppliers, thanks to this tool, the administrative staff have the necessary resources for their management, storage, and consultation. The same is true in the case of inventories.

#3 Calculate ROI (Return on Investment)

Excel can be a very convenient tool to break down all the calculations line by line so you can easily which numbers come from where and so on. It allows you to have all the important information in one table (yet still organized). So starting and ending values can be easily identified and then, using cell references, determine the ROI

#4 Finding and analyzing various trends

Excel is kind of like a little brain that can analyze large amounts of data to discover trends. With the help of graphs and tables, users can sort, filter, and summarize a lot of data according to what’s needed from a certain category. It can be stored easily and accessed on-demand. Once the data is organized, it’s stored systematically and can easily be used for multiple purposes.

As you see, it’s a very versatile tool that contributes a great deal to the well-being of many organizations. Excel for a business is a bit like a swiss army knife for a hiker - you could survive without it, but it would make it a hell of a lot more difficult

Excel Software: Advantages and Disadvantages

Excel is a very versatile tool and its various uses make it an indispensable program in the workplace. However, like any other software, Excel has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's have a closer look at some of those

Excel online classes: best courses

Advantages

  • There’s a lot of help out there for Excel users

The Excel community is huge (800 million people if not more). This means that whenever you encounter a problem, chances are someone else has been in a similar situation before. You won’t have any difficulties finding support online, or even in the workplace.

  • Advanced data organization

This is the biggest Excel perk. It has one of the most complete data analysis and organization systems. Plus, it works for most business applications too. Using the power of your computer, Excel can easily handle thousands of data formulas and/or calculations without a hitch. If you have multiple sheets that are interconnected, Excel's formulas and data organization are second to none.

  • Built-in formulas

In the past, Excel had formulas for almost every imaginable application. For this reason, users immediately fell in love with the simplicity of the plug-and-play interface, as it helped them create great-looking spreadsheets in no time.

Over the years, Excel has consistently added more built-in formulas according to users’ requests. You’re free to use these formulas on other software platforms too.

Disadvantages

  • Steep(er) learning curve

Some users find the Excel system a little bit complicated at first. To use it efficiently, you must be able to navigate through the user interface, which is much more complicated than it was originally designed. In previous designs, users could simply point and click and create beautiful spreadsheets. Microsoft has added many features over the years that have made it harder to navigate. 

However, you can overcome these challenges by taking Excel classes online, which is an affordable and fast way to master Excel.

  • Emerging competitors (yep… it’s Google sheets)

Ok, maybe not a disadvantage as per se, but still an important point to mention - Google sheets, an online-only app has been gaining more attention recently. Many users prefer it for collaboration purposes. However, Excel is still winning when it comes to data processing and key functions.

  • Higher cost

Microsoft Office and Excel had never been free, but the price was much lower in the past. As Microsoft continues to spend a lot of time and effort on its Office suite, the cost has increased quite significantly. 

  • Only compatible with Windows or Macintosh

Alrighty, now that you’re aware of the strengths and weaknesses of Excel, let’s get down to business and see what Excel classes online you can take to upgrade your skillset!

Data Analysis in Excel Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: data analysis course

  • Platform: Datacamp
  • Duration: 〜 4 hours
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (statement of accomplishment)
  • Where to apply? Here

This course taught by Jen Bricker has already attracted the attention of 58,682 students worldwide, who want to learn to transform huge amounts of data into comprehensible, clear insights. Data Analysis in Excel Course is made up of free Excel classes online, divided into three main parts: exploring data, preparing data, and analyzing data.

Topics covered:

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Converting and cleaning data types (text, times, and dates)
  • Building logic functions and conditional aggregations 
  • Over 35 Excel functions (including CONCATENATE, VLOOKUP, and AVERAGEIF)
  • Working with Kickstarter datasets

After completing the course, Datacamp provides you a statement of accomplishment that you’re able to download or share on Linkedin. It can definitely make your profile look a lot more attractive to potential employers. 

Start the course NOW

Excel for Everyone Professional Certificate (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: excel for everyone professional certificate

  • Platform: edX
  • Offered by: the University of British Columbia
  • Duration: 〜 5 months
  • Price: $446 unchecked (full program experience)
  • Certificate: YES
  • Where to apply? Here

This is a combination of courses and Excel classes online designed to teach students in-demand skills. Ideally, after completing this program, you’ll be confident in your job-specific skill, in this case, Excel, and ready to face the challenges in this field head-on.

After completing all the courses and final tasks successfully, you receive a professional certificate - proof of all your hard work and newfound knowledge.

If you don’t want to purchase the whole program with a professional certificate, you can enroll in single Excel online courses that are a part of it for free (free access doesn’t include a certificate). Likewise, if you purchase a single course, you’ll get a certificate once you complete it successfully.

You can also purchase the full program at a more affordable price with these coupons. There are often great deals available that can save you tons of money, plus you can get a certificate without having to pay the full price.

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Whenever I need to make a choice, I like to know as much about each available option as possible. Chances are you feel the same way. Therefore, I want to tell you about each course in this program in detail - so you know what to expect.

All of these courses are provided by the University of British Columbia, ranked as the 51st best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2018.[2]

Courses within this program:

Core Foundations Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: core foundations course

  • Duration: 〜 6 weeks (2-4 hours/week)
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This course is perfect for you if you don’t really have much experience working with Excel. It focuses on the fundamentals of the software, including data wrangling, spreadsheet management, and basic business data analysis.

Topics covered:

  • Excel fundamentals
  • Data entry and editing using various formats
  • Performing calculations using formulas and functions
  • How to format and optimize spreadsheets
  • How to manage spreadsheets using Filter and sort table data capabilities
  • Previewing and printing
  • Effective data visualization using basic charts

Take this course to gain a solid foundation on which you can build more advanced Excel skills and excel in the workplace (pun intended). 

Start the course NOW

Data Management Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: data management course

  • Duration: 〜 6 weeks (2-4 hours/week)
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This is the second course within the Professional Certificate Program. To gain the most out of it, some basic knowledge of Excel is needed - this is an intermediate-level course. You’ll learn how to analyze and present data in Excel more effectively, using some more complex features of the software. Explore ways for error prevention, forecasting, automation, and other things in between.

Topics covered:

  • How to manage multiple worksheets and workbooks
  • Analyzing data with datasets and tables
  • How to manage data analysis using Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
  • Implementing What-If Analysis and Decision-Making Tools
  • Using Date, Logical, Statistical and Financial Functions

It’s recommended to complete this course before you move on to the more advanced Excel classes online within the Data Analysis Fundamentals Course. Of course, that doesn’t apply to you if you already have relevant experience and are confident in your capabilities. 

This course can also be a great way to brush up on those old Excel skills you’ve been waiting to bring back to life.

Start the course NOW

Data Analysis Fundamentals Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: data analysis fundamentals course

  • Duration: 〜 6 weeks (2-4 hours/week)
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

Being the final course within the program, it contains more advanced Excel classes online, designed for those who already have experience working with the software. In this course, you’ll learn to calculate and analyze data and reports to make better, well-informed decisions.

Topics covered:

  • How to manage multiple worksheets and workbooks.
  • Analyzing data with datasets and tables.
  • How to manage data analysis using Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts.
  • Implementing What-If Analysis and Decision-Making Tools.
  • Using Date, Logical, Statistical, and Financial Functions.

Users with advanced Excel skills complete the same tasks that average people would complete in a few hours - in a matter of minutes. So if you’re wondering whether advanced Excel classes online are worth it - yes, they are! You’ll not only become much more efficient in your work. You’ll also become a highly valued member of any team - these are the skills that make you stand out.

Once you complete this program, job interviews won’t be so scary anymore - you’ll always have this skill up your sleeve to impress employers. 

Start the course NOW or start the whole program HERE

Excel Skills for Business Specialization (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: excel skills for business specialization

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Offered by: Macquarie University
  • Duration: 〜 6 months (5 hours/week)
  • Certificate: YES
  • Where to apply? Here

At 4.8 stars (54,879 ratings) - it’s one of the best online Excel courses you can find. Similar to the professional certificate program by the University of British Columbia, this is a collection of courses that offer in-depth knowledge of one specific area - Excel software.

It’s suitable for beginners, because the program starts with a course that covers the essentials in Excel, and then things gradually increase in difficulty as you progress through each course. Out of all the programs and Excel classes online in this article, this is the most in-depth one (along with the professional certificate program).

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It does offer a shareable certificate upon completion, however, it’s not a professional certificate. Nevertheless, it can be a great addition to your Linkedin profile or CV. Many employers nowadays don’t care about the document proving your skills so much as long as you can prove you have the skills required for the job.

Enroll in the full program NOW

All right, let’s have a look at all four courses within this specialization:

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Excel Skills for Business: Essentials Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: essentials course

  • Duration: 〜 26 hours
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Level: Beginner
  • Where to apply? Here

This is an introductory-level course, where you’ll learn all the basics - navigate the user interface, perform basic calculations using main formulas and features, create spreadsheets, and design visual representations of data in graphs and charts. 

You won’t be able to advance in Excel without first mastering these simple tasks, which is why Excel classes online like this are ideal (if you don’t yet have experience in this software).

Topics covered:

  • Critical core of Excel
  • Performing Calculations
  • Formatting
  • Working with Data
  • Printing
  • Charts
  • Final Assessment

Teaching material in this course comes with subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, Turkish, English, Spanish, Hungarian.

One of the best things about this course is that you get to solve business problems using Excel, just like you would in a real-life scenario. This sort of practical application of the theory really deepens your learning and prepares you for the challenges you might face out there in the big wide world of business. 

Start the course NOW or join the full program HERE

Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: intermediate 1 course

  • Duration: 〜 30 hours
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Where to apply? Here

Rated at 4.9 stars, this course dives a little bit deeper and explores Excel’s functionality in more detail. This is where you’ll start to understand how you can manage larger datasets and use graphs for constructing reports by looking at the case of a fictitious company named PushPin.

It’s a highly informative course, taught by Prashant and Nicky who explain the content in a way that is easy to understand. Also, all the teaching material is very well organized. It’s divided into short videos and quizzes that make it easy to soak in all the new information and gives time for it to settle before moving on to the next thing.

Topics covered:

  • Working with Multiple Worksheets & Workbooks
  • Text and Date Functions
  • Named Ranges
  • Summarising Data
  • Tables
  • Pivot Tables, Charts, and Slicers
  • Final Assessment

It has attracted a lot of positive feedback. Some students describe it as “the best MOOC on Excel”, and “one of the most practical (I) ever passed”. The way the course is structured and taught seems to be what students love the most. 

This course has subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, Turkish, English, Spanish, Hungarian.

Start the course NOW or join the full program HERE

Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate II Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: intermediate 2 course

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 〜 29 hours
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This course builds on Excel Skills for Business: Intermediate I, and goes into more complex functions of Excel. This is where you’ll learn how to detect, correct, and prevent errors, create powerful automation in spreadsheets, apply advanced formulas and conditional logic to decision making, use spreadsheets to forecast data.

It’s relatively challenging, so if you decide to take it separately (rather than as part of the full program), make sure you have a solid foundation of the basics of Excel systems and functions.

Topics covered:

  • Data Validation
  • Conditional Logic
  • Automating Lookups
  • Formula Auditing and Protection
  • Data Modelling
  • Recording Macros
  • Final Assessment 

The course is taught by an Excel consultant who helps businesses deal with any issues they have with spreadsheets on a daily basis, so what you get is firsthand knowledge that comes from real-life situations. This is a huge plus that not all courses can offer.

Here are some reviews of students who have completed this course:

The course material and assessments were just right and very useful. The course is well structured and the instructors explain things so neatly that there are no doubts left after watching the videos.”

A rewarding experience because I have been able to learn very valuable information. It is an excellent course. It has helped me in the personal and professional field. Thank you.

Teaching material in this course comes with subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, Turkish, English, Spanish.

Start the course NOW or join the full program HERE

Pros
  • Simplistic design (no unnecessary information)
  • High-quality courses (even the free ones)
  • Variety of features
Main Features
  • Nanodegree programs
  • Suitable for enterprises
  • Paid certificates of completion
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Offers quality content
  • Very transparent with their pricing
Main Features
  • Free certificates of completion
  • Focused on data science skills
  • Flexible learning timetable
Pros
  • Huge variety of courses
  • Easy to navigate
  • No technical issues
Main Features
  • Huge variety of courses
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Free certificates of completion

Excel Skills for Business: Advanced Course (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: advanced course

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 〜 25 hours
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Where to apply? Here

This is where you take the final step in your transformation from an average Excel user to a spreadsheet guru - the final course within the Excel Skills for Business Specialization. After completing it, you’ll have gained a valuable set of professional-level skills to face even the most difficult Excel challenges.

In this course, you’ll learn how to use advanced formula techniques and sophisticated lookups, clean and prepare data for analysis, and learn how to work with dates and financial functions. In the final part, you’ll actually learn to build professional dashboards in Excel.

Topics covered:

  • Spreadsheet Design and Documentation
  • Advanced Formula Techniques
  • Data Cleaning and Preparation
  • Financial Functions and Working with Dates
  • Advanced Lookup Functions
  • Building Professional Dashboards
  • Final Assessment

Video material has subtitles in Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, Turkish, English, Spanish, Hungarian.

Start the course NOW or join the full program HERE

Perks of Coursera courses

A huge bonus to these Excel classes online on Coursera is practice quizzes that are included if you purchase the full program experience. They help you track your own progress and notice whether there are some topics you need to revise. 

Likewise, with full access, you get a shareable certificate, graded assignments, and peer feedback

You can always access individual courses for free, but you won’t receive all the benefits that come with a full subscription, including some quizzes and feedback on your work. 

The Microsoft Excel Course: Advanced Excel Training (Enroll Here)

Excel classes online: advanced training course

  • Platform: Udemy
  • Offered by: 365 Careers
  • Duration: 〜 5.5 hours of video material + other resources
  • Price: Check the description below
  • Certificate: YES (paid)
  • Level: Advanced
  • Where to apply? Here

Looking for more advanced Excel online courses? Check out this one. It’s a compact course that covers a wide range of topics, designed to prepare aspiring financial analysts, investment bankers, private equity analysts, business intelligence consultants, and anyone who wants to build complete financial models

Excel online classes within this course are not suitable for beginners, so if you want to take this course, make sure you have the skills required so you can make the most out of it. If you don’t have prior knowledge, but want to take this course, consider combining it with one of the introductory-level courses or programs, such as the Specialization on Coursera, or Data Analysis in Excel Course.

Taught and organized by the 365 Team - the #1 best-selling provider of finance courses on Udemy, it’s rated as one of the best online Excel courses on the platform. Although the course was designed using Excel 2016, it is being constantly updated and the latest functions incorporated. The last update was done in January 2021 - very recently.

Topics covered:

  • Professional-looking Excel formatting
  • Shortcuts and quick navigation tools
  • Excel mechanics - a collection of indispensable tools
  • Advanced Excel functions made easy
  • Excel tips and tricks
  • Financial modeling fundamentals
  • Forecasting future financials
  • Building a complete 3-statement model
  • Flexible model with multiple scenarios

The main focus of this course are the financial functions of Excel, there isn’t a lot of material on other Excel categories of functions, so be aware of this factor before you purchase the course. Other than that, many students' reviews show it’s certainly one of the best online Excel courses for experienced learners.

Start the course NOW

Udemy Pricing

It can be a little bit tricky when it comes to course prices if you’re new to Udemy’s platform. Each instructor decides how much they want to charge for their own courses, which is why course fees vary so greatly

The good thing is you can always use these Udemy coupons to get the best deals available. They’ll give you full access to selected courses at a much lower price than the original so you’ll save tons of money, while not missing out on any of the course material.

Udemy Deal Active Right Now:

Also, because many courses can be a little bit pricey (including this one), Udemy often announces huge sales, which is when most students make their move. During sales (which happen quite often), prices go down by up to 90%! There aren’t determined dates for those, so you just have to look out for when it happens. Or, simply use those coupons I mentioned, especially if you’re not a patient type.

Conclusions

We looked at many options for taking Excel classes online, from introductory to advanced-level courses, as well as some in-depth programs designed to prepare Excel experts. These are the best online Excel courses and programs right now:

All of these courses are high-quality courses organized by top universities such as the University of British Columbia or Macquarie University. They’ve been positively reviewed by thousands of students who have taken these Excel classes online and learned valuable skills. 

For beginners, I recommend this free Data Analysis in Excel Course or Core Foundations Course, to get a taste of what Excel is all about. If you’re serious about this skill and want to gain advanced skills that will fuel your career - consider completing Excel for Everyone Professional Certificate or Excel Skills for Business Specialization.

They’re essentially combinations of courses and online Excel classes designed to equip students with the skills necessary in the workplace. They’re also suitable for beginners because they start off with introductory-level courses and then get more difficult as you go along.

For intermediate students, Excel Skills for Business: Advanced Course or The Microsoft Excel Course: Advanced Excel Training could be good options. It’s directed towards those students who want to use Excel for financial purposes.

If you’re looking for free Excel classes online, here’s what you can do: access all the courses within the programs for free without certificates. To do that, you’ll need to click on that particular course and follow the instructions on the website. You’ll get access to most of the material, apart from quizzes and peer feedback. 

The only course that cannot be accessed for free is The Microsoft Excel Course: Advanced Excel Training, however, you can always use these coupons and save tons of money.

As you see, there are many Excel classes online to choose from, all you need to do now is enroll! You’ve come this far, don’t back down now! Step up your spreadsheet game and become a valuable part of any team


Scientific References

1. Investopedia: The Importance of Excel in Business, 2019

2. QS World University Rankings® 2018

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FAQ

What are the best Excel classes online?

There are many Excel courses online you can take, however not all of them offer top quality material. The following courses are considered some of the best courses available right now:

All of these courses are provided either by well-known universities, or by experts in their field. Many students like you have taken them before, and many of them have left positive reviews on top e-learing platforms. 

Are Excel classes online worth it?

If you’re looking to expand your skillset in the existing field, advance your career or simply become more marketable as an employee - taking Excel classes online is actually a good idea. You gain a highly marketable skill at a minimal amount of time and money

How do you choose which online course sites to review?

We pick online learning platforms according to their market size, popularity, and, most importantly, our users’ request or general interest to read genuine MOOC reviews about certain online learning platforms.

How much research do you do before writing your e-learning reviews?

Our dedicated MOOC experts carry out research for weeks – only then can they say their evaluations for different aspects are final and complete. Even though it takes a lot of time, this is the only way we can guarantee that all the essential features of online learning platforms are tried and tested, and the verdict is based on real data.

Which aspect is the most important when choosing the best online learning platforms?

It wouldn’t be right to pick just one aspect out of the selection: priorities depend on each individual person, their values, wishes, and goals. A feature that’s important to one person can be utterly irrelevant to the other. Anyhow, all users would agree that good quality of the learning material is a must for online learning platforms.

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