• The Publishing Post

Excelling with Excel

In this regular feature of The Publishing Post, we will highlight key skills recommended by publishing industry experts to help you get ahead and start upskilling yourself. From interview tips to software skills, the Upskilling feature will have something useful for you.


Today, we’re putting the spotlight on Excel. Excel is a part of MS Office you are probably familiar with and touched on at some point during your education. However, feeling confident using it is another story. Excel is well worth taking the time to learn as it is used for admin tasks in all areas of publishing and is essential in sales and marketing departments. It is used to create spreadsheets and has many practical purposes, particularly to apply formulas to data sets for calculations, graphing tools and chart creation to present data. In this article, we will break down the key skills you need and where you can learn them.


Three Key Excel Skills for Publishing


VLOOKUP Function can find and return data from a table or a range by row. V means it vertically looks down a section of data cells. XLOOKUP is an improved version that works in any direction.


A PivotTable is a table of statistics that arranges, summarises and presents your data. It also allows you to see important trends from the data. 


Programming Macros replace manual actions and automate them instead. This is very useful when there are tasks you carry out on Excel repeatedly, as it can save valuable time. 


Start, Strengthen and Perfect your Excel Skills


LinkedIn Learning offers all kinds of training, including over one hundred courses on Excel. For the basics, try Excel Essential Training by Dennis Taylor, which covers formulas and functions like VLOOKUP, creating charts and PivotTables. This course is roughly two hours long and comes with exercise files so you can follow along. The length of videos is a major advantage to using this platform. These courses can fit around the learner’s schedule and are as in-depth as you need, with videos ranging between half an hour to eight hours long.


Another benefit of LinkedIn Learning is that the certificate you receive upon course completion can be added to your LinkedIn profile, which is appealing to potential employers.


Pro Tip: If you’re a student, your institution might offer access to LinkedIn Learning for free. Otherwise, you can access this course and thousands of others with a free one-month trial. 

Skillshare is a fantastic resource designed for students and teachers, with a wide range of classes and workshops taught by people that have real-life experience applying these skills. You can start a free trial and utilise these courses, with the option of upgrading to a premium account for a membership fee. Microsoft Excel Essentials: Level 1 Basics is a fantastic starter course that takes the user step by step through each function.


There is also an abundance of free resources out there, including Microsoft’s own Excel for Windows Training and GCFLearnFree.org, which comes with videos and downloadable worksheets to practise on. You could even try the perennial favourite for learning: YouTube. Search for specific key skills like those listed above for a more tailored experience. 


We hope you find these resources useful and they boost your confidence using Excel in the future. In the next issue, we will tackle online interviews and how to ace them.