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The Best Free Online Excel Tutorials

written by: John Garger•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/9/2011

Learn Excel from any of this list of the Top 5 free online tutorials. All of the 5 tutorial sites listed in this article are free for anyone to use. Why pay for books or lessons when you can learn Excel for free from these online resources?

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    Unlike Microsoft Word, it is more difficult to jump right in and start using Excel. Unless you have prior experience using spreadsheets, Excel is not always intuitive and it is easy to misunderstand the convenience that Excel can add to your ability to get work done.

    As one of the core programs in the Microsoft Office Suite of productivity software, understanding how to use Excel has quickly become a necessity for business people, teachers, and students. Learn where to go online for comprehensive Excel tutorials that won’t cost you a dime.

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    #1 – Office Online Excel Courses

    Once again, Microsoft’s own Office Online Courses prove to be one of the best places to go for free Excel tutorials. Word is far more intuitive for many Office users because word processors, in general, are easier to use and much more prevalent than spreadsheets. This is where Microsoft’s lengthy yet comprehensive videos become invaluable for business people, teachers, and students to learn Excel.

    Each lesson at the site runs about 40 to 50 minutes so the time commitment on the part of the learner is significantly larger than if you choose a less comprehensive online tutorial. In fact, these tutorials run more like a complete online course than the small, individual tutorials found at other sites.

    These courses are so complete, that they could easily replace a 5 to 7 week course that would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars at a local college or at another online Excel course. Rather than spend money on costly books and courses, start with the Excel tutorials found at Microsoft’s Office Online website.

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    #2 – Florida Gulf Coast University Excel Tutorials

    As strange as it may sound, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Excel Tutorial is not only free to the general public, it rivals many online tutorials that cost a lot of money. Although the university does not provide support for those not associated with Florida Gulf Coast, the tutorials are written in such as way that there is little chance anyone would have trouble following the lessons.

    Broken up into sequential lessons, each tutorial logically builds on skills learned in previous learning sessions. Of particular note are the large screenshots and bright red arrows that draw the learner’s attention to the most important part of the screen. For rank beginners, this is a useful feature of the tutorials since there is no need to hunt around the screen looking for the parts of the program discussed in the test.

    Another nice feature of these tutorials is that they make no assumptions about the learner’s current Excel knowledge. Those learners with no prior Excel experience will find the tutorials at Gulf Coast University’s website just as useful as those who have little to moderate experience with Excel or another spreadsheet application.

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    #3 – GCF LearnFree.org Excel Tutorials

    Making the list one more time in this series on Office tutorials, GCF LearnFree.org’s Free Excel lessons are clearly aimed at those learners completely new to spreadsheets and Excel. Both the text/image and video portions of the lessons are free but they do require registration, a feature that may turn some learners to search for other free alternatives for Excel tutorials.

    Excel tutorial videos at GCF are considerably shorter than those at Microsoft’s Office Online website making them more suitable for learners with less time to devote to learning Excel or those who have at least some experience with spreadsheets in general. However, many learners will find that the free text and image lessons are adequate to get started learning Excel.

    One of the best features of the Excel tutorials at GCF is the progression of the lessons. Learners are treated to small chunks of information at a time allowing for faster learning and less emphasis on learning everything at once within a lesson. In addition, the site offers clear screenshots from Excel eliminating confusion often experienced by those new to Microsoft’s Office Ribbon interface.

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    #4 – Vertex42 Excel Tutorial

    The free Excel tutorials offered by Vertex42 are somewhat different from those discussed so far. The tutorials found there read a lot like instructions you might find in a comprehensive book. These tutorials provide far more detail than introductory websites do and are geared toward those learners who wish to know everything about what they are learning.

    Taking a real-world, experiential approach to learning Excel, Vertx42’s tutorials take you through lessons that mirror how you will actually use Excel in your business, at home, or in the classroom. The result is a learning experience that doesn’t waste time with theory and lets you jump right in and start using Excel right from lesson one.

    If you feel you want to take your Excel step-by-step, these tutorials may not be for you. Although comprehensive, these tutorials are for those who have a little bit of prior experience with Excel or some other spreadsheet. Still, they allow those with this experience to avoid the annoying initiation found at the beginning of most other online tutorials, books, and classroom courses.

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    #5 – LearnThat.com’s Free Microsoft Excel Tutorial

    Unlike the other tutorial websites discussed so far, LearnThat.com’s focus is providing tutorials on a variety of subjects from careers and jobs to budgeting to gardening. Among these tutorials is a host of lessons on the use of several of Microsoft’s programs including, of course, Excel.

    LearnThat.com’s Excel tutorials are targeted toward the beginning learner and make no assumptions about knowledge the learner may or may not have. The result is an excellent place to start for the rank amateur.

    The website is ad-supported meaning that advertisements are interspersed throughout the lessons that you are under no obligation to click. The lessons are clearly split up into smaller chunks of information, no doubt to increase the page impressions of the advertisements. However, this style of web design has a positive effect for the learner.

    While using the tutorials at LearnThat.com, you will find that you do not have to scroll up and down the page to go from concept to concept. The layout is such that the advertisements will not interfere with your learning of Excel. The ads are there if you are interested but they are in no way intrusive to the lessons. Start your learning of Excel at LearnThat.com if you prefer to learn concepts one drop at a time rather than having a whole bucket of Excel dumped over your head at once.

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    Conclusion

    Any of the Excel tutorials discussed in this article are sure to get you well on your way to learning how to incorporate spreadsheets into your daily life, your business, or in your classroom. Each tutorial takes a different approach to learning Excel. The best part is this: If one tutorial is not working for you, try another one. All of the Excel tutorials discussed here are free and there when you need them. You could never get this kind of flexibility from a book or while sitting in a classroom.

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