Best Online Excel Classes

Udemy offers the best overall online Excel class

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The best online Excel classes allow you to learn Microsoft's popular spreadsheet program whether you are a beginner or an experienced user looking to hone your skills. Because courses are online, they allow you to learn at your own pace with video tutorials, written explanations, sample data, and more.

Courses should address key Excel tools such as pivot tables, macros, SUM, IF, INDEX, and more. Learning should be designed so students need not commit no more than a few hours per week, while still completing courses within a few months. Certification for completing a course provides students with a skill to add to their resumes.

These are the programs that we believe meet a variety of needs across a range of students.

Best Overall : Udemy’s Microsoft Excel Class for Beginner to Advanced Learners


Udemy

Udemy

Why We Chose It

Udemy offers Microsoft Excel classes for all levels and lifetime access to instruction videos and other resources. Most anyone looking to learn or hone their Excel skills should be able to find what they need.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Content for all levels

  • Lifetime access to resources

  • Certificate of completion

Cons
  • Expensive if no deal is being offered

  • The component four classes can't be purchased separately

Overview

Udemy offers a variety of online Excel classes, but this one covers everything from A-to-Z.

It spans a significant range of experience levels across four classes: Microsoft Excel 101 is appropriate for beginners, Microsoft Excel 102 provides intermediate training, and Microsoft Excel 103 covers advanced learning. Finally, there’s the Master Microsoft Excel Macros and VBA in 6 Simple Projects if you really want to dig into learning how to automate your daily to-do list. Covered topics include interactive pivot tables and charts, VLOOKUP, SUM, IF, and INDEX, and MATCH.

What makes this class a standout is that it does all this without requiring a significant time commitment of a month or more, as some other courses do. And, you’re not necessarily done when you complete the course because you’ll have lifetime access to on-demand videos and numerous other downloadable resources.

The cost is around $150, and you’ll receive a certificate of completion to add to your resume. Note that Udemy is known for occasionally slashing prices from time to time. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best for Businesses : Macquarie University’s Excel Skills for Business Certification


Coursera

Coursera

Why We Chose It

Companies that want to train employees on Microsoft Excel will find content in Macquarie University's courses that cater to business needs. Topics covered include macros, pivot tables, data forecasts, and more.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Four courses cover all levels

  • Financial aid available

Cons
  • Requires three to five hours per week for 24 weeks

Overview

Macquarie University’s Excel Skills for Business Specialization is available through Coursera, and it also includes four courses: Essentials, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced. Its focus is on addressing business problems—or rather, having Excel do so for you. Topics include macros, pivot tables, data forecasts, and building dashboards—everything your business needs to help it thrive.

You’ll have to commit to 24 weeks of learning at a pace of three to five hours a week, so this one is a serious time commitment. But you can start by taking just one class, and you can set your own deadlines. Coursera also offers financial aid and provides a free option as well if you don’t want certification. You can review the course content online at no charge.

Macquarie University, in Australia, was founded in 1964. Its graduates are among “the most sought-after professionals in the world”.

Best for Beginners : Rice University’s Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel


Rice University

Rice University

Why We Chose It

Rice designed introductory course specifically for those who have minimal knowledge of Microsoft Excel. If you want to advance beyond the basics, additional courses delve deeper into the program and its tools.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Designed with beginners in mind

  • Can complete in a month

  • Includes certification

Cons
  • Must subscribe to Coursera for access

  • May be slow for those with some Excel experience

Overview

“Introduction” says it all about Rice University’s contribution to our list. You’re not looking to immediately launch a rocket from your desktop or laptop: You just want some fundamental knowledge of and familiarity with Excel so you can move on to launching rockets later. Rice says its class is appropriate for “those who have very little functional knowledge of Excel.”

The course teaches the basic uses of spreadsheets, but if you want to learn more, you can. Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel covers almost everything from PivotTables to VLOOKUP. The class spans four lessons, and the first one—for beginners—is the one we particularly like. It’s well-paced and provides a little hand-holding.

You’ll then move on to organizing data, then to filtering, and more complex tasks. The class is a top pick for walking you through knowing almost nothing, to being fully prepared to tackle advanced options.

Plan to commit to one to three hours a week for four weeks. The class is part of the university’s Business Statistics and Analysis Specialization on Coursera which contains five courses in total. A Coursera subscription is $59 a month, but you can avoid paying if you don't care about getting a certificate.

Best for Microsoft Integration : GoSkills’ Microsoft Excel Classes—Basic and Advanced


GoSkills

GoSkills

Why We Chose It

GoSkills's courses are accessible from inside Microsoft's apps, so users can take advantage of its lessons while using Excel. For those who are hands-on learners, this is a good way to master the software.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Available inside Microsoft Office programs as an Office app

  • Both basic and advanced skills

  • Certification

Cons
  • Costly if you remain subscribed for many months

Overview

For those who prefer to learn while doing, GoSkills’ classes are ideal. Microsoft Excel Classes—Basic and Advanced makes our list because it has Microsoft Office apps that allow you to learn inside the Excel program.

This class is appropriate for beginners, but it also teaches topics like PivotTables and VLOOKUP. You can devote as much or as little time to learning as you like without adhering to a set schedule, testing yourself along the way through the use of various exams and quizzes. There are 57 lessons split into 10 sections. Each lesson is a video that's usually only five or six minutes long.

And, yes, you’ll earn a certification. You can start with a seven-day free trial before settling on one of two available subscription plans, which cost $29 per month or $17 per month, billed annually.

Best for Visual Learners : Ben Currier’s Excel Exposure


Ben Currier’s Excel Exposure

Ben Currier’s Excel Exposure

Why We Chose It

This course caters well to those who like to learn while doing—and while watching others show you how to do it. Video-based lessons shows you how to master basic skills in Microsoft Excel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Video-based lessons

  • Some free options

Cons
  • Limited offerings for advanced users

  • Premium version is expensive

Overview

Not everyone thrives on reading textbooks—even online—which is why Excel Exposure is an ideal pick when it comes to video-based learning. The course is short and self-paced, and it covers a good variety of topics. Written courses are an option, too, if you don’t wince at that type of study. The “Master Workbook” involves working directly in Excel.

Excel Exposure offers a premium course for $59 per month or lifetime access for one payment of $197, but there are many free lessons on the website as well. There is a comprehensive list of the lessons included too, giving you an idea of what you'll learn before buying.

This class is also appropriate for beginners, but many of the offerings accommodate intermediate and advanced learners as well.

Best for VBA : Purna 'Chandoo' Duggirala’s Chandoo.org VBA Classes


Chandoo.org

Chandoo.org

Why We Chose It

The programming language for working in Microsoft Excel is Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, and Chandoo's course caters to those who know VBA. Even those with limited experience with VBA, can start with the basics and move up to more advanced skills.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy-to-follow lessons

Cons
  • Expensive

Overview

Chandoo says his goal is to “make you awesome in Excel,” and his online VBA Classes go a long way toward getting you there. VBA stands for “Visual Basic for Applications” and happens to be Excel’s programming language. If you know VBA, you can make Excel sing.

It’s a complex topic, but Chandoo prevents it from feeling intimidating. He offers a blog, forums, how-to guides, and a free e-book on creating charts. The program lets you learn at a relaxed, enjoyable pace. Really, Chandoo makes learning fun.

You can get your feet wet with the basics, then soar to expert-VBA-level from there. Start with basic Excel functions and then learn to write and debug VBA code.

You can access some basic materials for free and he charges between $97 to $347 for the primary classes, depending on which plan you choose. Chandoo offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have a month to change your mind after you sign up.

Final Verdict

Microsoft Excel is a necessary tool in many business settings and a helpful one in plenty of others. Learning even just the basics can make a big difference, and online classes allow you to gain knowledge and experience with the skills that are important to you. Udemy is our top pick because it has the most well-rounded offerings and lifetime access to resources. If you have specific needs like learning VBA, Chandoo is the best option. Maybe you need a course accessible from inside Excel, then we like GoSkills' offerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Features of an Online Excel Class?

Livezey points out that the online learning option works best if you’re a self-motivator. You can set and keep your own goals and objectives. And these classes offer a variety of formats that you can tailor to your own tastes, from mobile apps and visual learning to online textbooks.

Optimal classes should explore a range of topics, from the absolute basics of working in Excel to mastering VBA and PivotTables. Udemy, Excel Exposure, and Macquarie all touch on VBA, while Chandoo provides a comprehensive, in-depth VBA study. Some classes offer ample supplemental resources that remain available to you forever, such as Udemy. 

The best classes feature at least four levels of learning, depending on the experience you go in with and acquire along the way.

What Are the Benefits of an Online Excel Class and Why Take One?

Positions that require superior and advanced digital skills have increased significantly in recent years. The Council on Foreign Relations reported in April 2018 that these positions increased from 5% to 23% by that year with the addition of approximately 32 million jobs in the United States alone. The number of jobs requiring little or no digital skills plummeted by 26%.

Of the 13 million or so new jobs created since 2010, about two-thirds require at least medium skills in this arena.

Will I Receive a Certificate for Completing a Class?

If you are doing the course to add to your resume or get a new job, it's most likely best to choose a course with a certificate. All of our choices above offer certificates, although some have a catch.

Chandoo.org requires that you specifically ask for a certificate, but this is simply a matter of clicking on the “Request Certificate” tab. The functionality isn’t available until the 12th week of enrollment, however, and this requires signing up for a membership.

Microsoft has paid courses with certificates and some free learning materials too. Likewise, Coursera allows you to take courses, such as the one from Macquarie University, for free if you're willing to forego the certificate.

How Much Do Online Excel Classes Cost?

You can take many classes for free if you’re learning for your own edification, if you’re starting your own business, or if you already own one. But again, you’ll have to pay if you want a certification to add to your resume.

GoSkills offers the least expensive option at around $29 per month. However, if you're going to subscribe for many months a one time purchase course like those at Udemy could be cheaper. Financial support is available from some providers such as Coursera. Other classes can cost in the neighborhood of roughly $150 or more.

Methodology

Seeing is believing, so we explored various websites to find out which ones appealed most to various readers’ concerns, including budgets, goals, and their level of existing experience. Then we reached out to John Livezey, an Information Systems and Aviation adjunct instructor at Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey, for his opinions. He’s taught Excel for years in “live” classrooms.

Article Sources
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  1. Macquarie University. "Why Study Here."

  2. Council on Foreign Relations. “Independent Task Force Report No. 76.”