Best MOOCs for Learning Microsoft Excel

Everybody who has worked with Microsoft Excel knows that it is a complex piece of software that takes years to master. Many professionals are still not confident in their knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

If you are a beginner in learning Excel and want to advance beyond basic operations, the best solution is to attend a course. There are plenty of those on Youtube, but if you’re aready prepared to devote time to acquiring a new skill, it would be wise to go with something that will get you a certificate. To help you look for an appropriate course, we have created a list of the best free MOOCs for learning Excel, all in one place.

Microsoft Excel

1) EX101x Data Analysis: Take it to the MAX

This course is offered by the edX platform. If you’ve missed the current session, you can wait for another one, or check their archive for an older course that you can take at your pace, but without acquiring a certificate. EX101x is really beyond excellent. After the first week, it immediately takes you to an advanced level, and you can be sure that you will learn lots of practical things. Aside from the practical, the course also offers fun, because the lectures are very interesting and entertaining. We definitely recommend it.

2) Excel for Data Analysis and Visualization

Another Excel course by the edX platform, offered in partnership with Microsoft. It shouldn’t be missed, because it offers a lot of practical excercises, and lecturers cover some unique aspects of this amazing software.

3) Introduction to Excel VBA Programming 

If you are interested in learning Excel programming, you should start here. The basic foundations of Excel programming are explained clearly. In addition, it is self-paced, which makes it perfect for busy people.

4) Udemy free courses

There are plenty of free courses on Udemy for novices and advanced users. However, bear in mind that not all of them are of great quality. Make sure to check references and comments by other users before you start.

5) Mastering Data Analysis in Excel

Coursera has recently introduced new Data Analysis Specializations, some of which include courses dedicated to Excel. Mastering Data Analysis in Excel offered by Duke University certainly looks promising.

The Best Free and Open Source Software for Statistical Analysis

We have already explained how Microsoft Excel can be used as a basic statistical analysis software. The first step in the process requires turning on the Statistical Analysis feature, after which you can perform linear regression, ANOVA and much more.

Unfortunately, for a more serious analysis users need specialized software such as SPSS, Eviews or Stata. These programs are expensive and not everyone can afford them. Luckily, there are plenty of free alternatives that can be used instead. Here we have created a list of the most popular free software for statistical analysis.

pspp software statistics

1) The R Project for Statistical Computing

R is by far the most widely used free statistical environment. It can be used for many different types of analysis. It has a large community and numerous packages are developed for it. Learning it will require a bit of programming knowledge, but there are plenty of tutorials and online courses available for that purpose. This is something we definitely recommend you learn, because it is slow-ly becoming the standard in many professional data analytics communities.

2) PSPP 

This is a free alternative for SPSS, and a pretty mature project which can be used for regression analysis, non-parametric tests, T-tests, cluster analysis and much more. It supports over 1 billion variables.

3) Gretl

Gretl is a free alternative to Eviews. It can be used for a wide range of econometric analyses, data series and regression.

4) MicrOsiris

MicrOsiris is a lightweight freeware for performing all sorts of data analysis.

5) Regressit

A completely free add-in for Excel, Regressit can be used for multivariate descriptive data analysis and multiple linear regression analysis.

6) MacAnova

MacAnova is developed at the University of Minnesota and can be used for statistical analysis and matrix algebra.

7) GNU Octave

This tool presents an excellent alternative to Matlab. Not only can it be used for multiple numerical computations, it also has great data visualization capabilities.

8) Dmelt

This tool is a successor to a couple of other statistical environments. It can be used for mathematical analysis, visualization and much more.

How to Insert or Edit a Bookmark in Your PDF File?

Bookmarks can be extremely useful. We use them to mark certain pages in a document, which helps us find what we need faster.

Numerous PDF readers support viewing bookmarks, but not many of them are able to modify them or create new ones. Usually a premium software is required for that purpose.

However, there is one PDF reader which allows just that. It is called PDF X-Change Viewer. You can use it to work with bookmarks pretty easily.

First, once you open your document in this reader, you need to make the bookmarks bar visible. Go to View – Bookmarks.

view bookmarks in PDF

After that go to the page you want to mark, and in the left sidebar click on the plus sign to create a bookmark there. You can add as many as you need.

create new bookmarks

You can also edit existing bookmarks. Right click on one, and a new menu with multiple options will appear.

By going to Bookmark Options, you can also change the default color or assign some specific actions like opening a URL, for example.

rename delete modify bookmarks

At the end, save all the changes, and that would be all. Newly created bookmarkes will be visible in any other reader.

The Best Places to Learn VBA Online

Your knowledge of Microsoft Excel is not complete until you’ve learned the VBA language. Knowing VBA can help you automate repetitive tasks easily. Furthermore, if you know how to code, you’ll be able to spend only an hour or less on things that you previously needed a whole day to do them manually. That is why the knowledge of VBA can be very useful in the business environment.

It is important to bear in mind that one can’t learn it simply by reading tutorials on the Internet. A lot of the learning process happens through practice: recording macros, reviewing code and creating and solving minor problems.

microsoft visual basic for applications

In order to help you with that, we have created a list of the best websites to use to really learn VBA.

1) Free VBA MOOC

This course is appropriate and useful for beginners. It helps you learn the most important concepts in VBA programming.

2) VBA on StackOverflow

StackOverflow has a special section dedicated to VBA, where you can post your own problems, follow questions and dilemmas by other users and also engage in helpful discussions.

3) VBAisFun

This excellent Youtube channel is a stop you shouldn’t miss in your learning. Many complex problems are explained here step by step. Kudos to the guy who created it.

4) Reddit VBA community

A subreddit dedicated solely to VBA problems and solutions. You can find a lot of useful advice by going over past threads.

5) Learn VBA programming

This is another useful Youtube channel where both basic and more advanced topics are covered.

6) Homeandlearn

This website features nicely explained VBA tutorials and useful pieces of code.

7) Excel Pratique

This is yet another useful website with downloadable exercise spreadsheets.

8) Chandoo VBA

A set of very nicely explained tutorials.

How to Debug Your VBA Code in Excel?

When code is not working as it should, it can be hard to locate the error if you have multiple lines of code. Hours can be spent searching for the mistake, without success. To avoid such situations, it can be helpful to use some of the debugging tools that come with Microsoft Excel.

Run Code Step by Step

It certainly won’t be easy to find the problem if you run your code all at once. Running each step of the process one by one can help you identify where the bottleneck is. Here’s how you can do it.
Open your code, select the first line and press F8.

vba steps one by one
The line will turn yellow. Press F8 once more and the yellow mark will move to the next line. Every time you press F8, the next line will be executed. If you have loops in your code, each step in the process will be executed one by one. For example, if you have 100 iterations, you will be able to follow each of them. This process can be extremely useful in testing and running your code.

Pause Code Execution

While testing a pretty long code, sometimes you want to pause and inspect what has been done thus far. To do that you need to select a line of code which will serve as pause, and press F9 or click on the Toggle Breakpoint.

create a pause in code
Once you click Run, the code will make a pause there and you can investigate your variables and output value. All pauses are marked with dark red color. Make sure to delete them after you have finished debugging.

Immediate Window

After you have paused your code, you can do some more experimenting before continuing. You can do that in Immediate Window. To turn it on, go to View – Immediate Window.

immediate windows in excel
Here you can print the value of all variables or perform some more commands outside the main code for your own testing.

paused code experiments

There are other advanced ways for code debugging, but for beginners this will be more than enough. The need for debugging will occur often, which is something that every developer will tell you.