I was the Excel Guru in our office. My colleagues came to me for help but I’d never had any formal Excel training; I just picked things up on the job and learned a trick or two from my colleagues over the years. I believed I was an expert. I could handle what I thought were advanced features like Filters, Pivot Tables, Charts and I could even record the odd Macro when pushed. I was fast too, I used my keyboard shortcuts so much I wore out the letters ‘C’, ‘V’, ‘X’ and ‘Z’. I could use VLOOKUP’s, IF statements, COUNT and more. What else was there to know?
Then we upgraded from Microsoft Office 2013 to 2016 I went on a Microsoft Office Online Training Course. Because there were so many changes from Microsoft Office 2003 to 2016 I thought it could be useful. Ideally, it was online training so it wasn’t expensive and I could watch the tutorials when it suited me and pause if I needed to attend to something urgent.
The training blew my mind. It became clear that I only knew the tip of the iceberg. Even though there were a lot of new features in Excel 2016, I discovered tips and tricks that were there in earlier versions and I’d been missing out all along.
It was exciting to learn all these new tricks that would save me hours of work, but I was sorry that I’d wasted all those years doing things the long way around when there were shortcuts available all along. It meant I could cut down the time some of my regular tasks took me by half, and I learned features and techniques that I could use to present my reports in ways that would get the message across fast. I’d spent all those years with powerful software at my fingertips but I didn’t know how I could use it to do my job better and save time. It was a classic case of ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know’.
If you’ve never had any formal training, and you use Microsoft Office programs in your day to day job then you will definitely benefit from doing some training. Don’t kick yourself as I did for spending hours of your day doing things the long way around.
Online training is very affordable compared to classroom-based courses. Plus you get the benefit of being able to watch the videos at a time that suits your workload, pause, play, and rewind when you need to 24/7.
John Abrams is a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup