Easy To Use
Just about everyone can use Excel to some extent. I've seen businesses both small and large (ranging from farmers to high tech large companies) using it to simply schedule their daily activities to planning 10-year financial plans.
And you also have personal/educational institute users; my 10-year-old daughter uses it!
It's easy to use due to the following 3 reasons
Touched on above, it is everywhere. Microsoft Office has a huge outreach - just about every business you can find will have it. Most homes will have it, even it is from a work/school laptop.
As such, you get used to it. You learn the basic layout and how to do simple functions (like average). Even if you then get your hands on software that is better designed, people inherently don't like change which means Excel will be viewed upon favorably.
It is far from perfect, but over the years Excel is still a well designed piece of software. The tab system makes it very easy to find the option you want, and the function system is very well done.
You can use the Insert Function box or simply start typing and it gives you a description of what the function does and how to use it.
This will no doubt get even better in the next few years - Google Sheets and Power BI currently have a feature where you type in a sentence and it does the analysis automatically. For example "graph monthly spend v month". Google Sheets example below:
In my opinion this is the best thing about using Excel compared to any other spreadsheet or statistical software. The community is fantastic and very friendly.
Google Sheets does have a community, but it is just lacking the user base which means less people are available to help you out - plus you don't have the 16 year plus historical question and answers to browse through (free tip - Excel users are often happy to help you figure out your Google Sheet problems as well).
A few years ago I wanted to get into Matlab to figure out Machine Learning. This is a great bit of software as it has an easy to use interface. However I struggled to find much support in learning about it as a beginner, as the community is small and the experts available weren't interested in helping beginners!
You won't have any of those problems learning Excel. Just about any problem you run into, ranging from simple average functions to creating graphic animations with VBA, there has been a question asked previously or someone happy to help you figure it out.
The best way to learn Excel is to just get started right now, and Google any problems you run across. You will figure it out and get help!
My 3 most useful Excel Communities (in order!):
- Google! Always start here.
- Excel Sub Reddit. This community is fantastic - quick to respond and can help you no matter how advanced or basic your question.
- Stack Overflow. This is a great place to go for more technical questions - however I have found to the site to not be as beginner friendly as some. Just make sure you read up on their question posting rules!
Let me know if your agree/disagree. Do you find Excel easy to use? How can it get better? What are your favorite communities?
Next I will discuss what I think is the main headache using Excel in business - it is so easy to use, everyone uses it which means data is everywhere and in a very messy state.