excellogoIt is an accepted fact that computers dominate the workplace today, and that a knowledge of computers and information technology increases your efficiency in the workplace. Since it is virtually impossible to master every aspect of computers and IT, which ones are universally important and most helpful?

Microsoft Excel is the answer. If you have ever talked to an employer in the professional world, chances are Microsoft Excel was brought up in the conversation. Employers of all sizes and types use Microsoft Excel to manage anything from employee information to monthly sales; from accounting statements to project development. Excel is a very useful tool for anyone seeking a job in the professional world. With a 90% market share, Microsoft Excel dominates the spreadsheet industry and is the “program of choice” for almost any employer.

Below are three simple, yet very useful functions that you can add to your repertoire to increase your marketability among other job applications. There will be an explanation of each function as well as a description of why you would use that function.

Calculations and Operations:
Say you have a list of numerical values in certain column. You may want to add, average, or even find the min/max of these numbers. For example, you may want to calculate the revenue figure for a year by adding the totals of each month. To tell Excel that you want to write a function, type the equal (=) symbol in the cell that you want the result to display in. (A cell is a specific box on any given worksheet). The equal sign starts the function. From here, click the dropdown arrow on the button labeled “autosum” (upper-right hand corner of the program). A variety of choices will appear, so click the specific function that you want to perform. This function should then appear in the chosen cell. To select the data that you want the function to calculate from, simply click and drag to highlight what you want. All of the data you want to be acknowledged in the function should be surrounded by a dark black line. To finish executing the function, hit the ‘enter’ key on your keyboard, and you’re done!

Inserting a hyperlink:
If you want a workbook viewer to attract his or her attention to a different sheet in the workbook from a certain cell, or if you even want the viewer to visit a webpage, you can allow them to do so by creating a hyperlink. To create the hyperlink, select the cell that contains the information that you want the user to click on. Next, click the ‘insert’ tab on the Excel navigation bar at the top of the page. A new set of options will appear, and under the ‘links’ section, click the ‘hyperlink’ button. A pop-up window will appear with different options. You can choose to send the user to a different file under the ‘existing file or web page’ option. Simply select the file that you want to send the user to. To send the user to a different place in the excel workbook, click the ‘place in this document’ tab. You can select which sheet and even the specific cell to send the user to. Lastly, you send the user to an email address, where the user can send an email that is already addressed to a specific account. Click the ‘E-mail’ address tab and type in the email address that you wish to appear. After you have entered the information you want, click ‘OK’ and you are finished! You have successfully created a hyperlink :)

Saving the file in different formats:
Different workbooks serve different purposes for different people, so how do we adjust the format in which someone views or receives the workbook? Luckily Excel 2010 allows you to save a workbook in many different formats, to ensure that virtually anyone can view the workbook.

To save the workbook in a certain format, click ‘save as’ under the ‘File tab’ at the navigation bar. Once the ‘save as’ window pops-up, type your desired file name in the ‘file name:’ field. Right below this field, is a drop down box named ‘save as type’. Click on this field, and an array of options will appear. Below is a set of options you can choose from and why you would choose each option:

Excel Workbook, .xlsx – This will enable the receiver of the workbook to view it in Microsoft Excel 2010, exactly as you view it

Excel Workbook 97-2003, .xls – Not everyone has the most recent version of Excel, so save the workbook under this type to allow viewers with an older version of excel to view the content

PDF, .pdf – If someone only needs to view the workbook and not edit it, save it as a PDF to allow anyone with Adobe Reader to view the content

Web Page, .htm;.html – Saving the workbook as a webpage allows the user to view the content through any browser that supports .htm and .html encoding. This is a good option if you want multiple people to view the website.

Hopefully these three tips helped you gain a little knowledge in Microsoft Excel! The more you are familiar with Microsoft Excel, the more marketable you are in the professional world. Practice these functions routinely to become fast and efficient with data, and impress possible employers!

What are your favorite Excel tips or tricks?  Share in the comments below.