Excel. Chances are, that word alone inspires visions of lengthy spreadsheets, complicated macros, and the occasional pivot table or bar graph.
It’s true—with more than one billion Microsoft Office users globally, Excel has become the professional standard in offices across the globe for pretty much anything that requires management of large amounts of data.
But, if you think Excel is only good for making you cross-eyed while looking at a bunch of numbers and financial reports, think again. As Tomasz Tunguz points out, there are tons of uses of Excel in business (and beyond) outside of simple spreadsheets. In fact, the potential uses are seemingly endless.
However, in an effort to demonstrate the power and flexibility of everybody’s favorite spreadsheet tool, we’ve pulled together different ways that you could use Excel—both professionally, personally, and just for the fun of it.
Find yourself running the same calculations over and over again? Build yourself a totally customized calculator in Excel by programming your commonly-used formulas. That way, you just need to punch in your digits and Excel will spit the answer out for you—no elbow grease required.
Budget plans, forecasts, expense tracking, financial reports, loan calculators, and more. Excel was pretty much designed to meet these different accounting needs. And, considering that 89 percent of companies utilize Excel for its various accounting functions, it obviously fits the bill.
Excel even has numerous different spreadsheet templates to make all of those processes that much easier.
Pie charts, scatter charts, line charts, bar charts, area charts, column charts—the list goes on and on. If you need to find a way to represent data in a more visual and digestible way, Excel’s ability to transform rows and columns of digits into beautiful charts is sure to become one of your favorite things about it.
- Inventory tracking
Tracking inventory can be a headache. Fortunately, Excel can help to keep employees, business owners, or even individuals organized and on top of their inventory—before any major problems crop up.
- Calendars and schedules
Need to map out a content calendar for your blog or website? Lesson plans for your classroom? A PTO schedule for you and all of your co-workers? A daily schedule for you or your family? When it comes to various calendars, Excel can be surprisingly robust.
- Seating charts
From a large corporate luncheon to a wedding, arranging a seating chart can be a royal headache. Fortunately, Excel can make it a total breeze. If you’re a real whiz, you’ll be able to automatically create your seating chart using your spreadsheet of RSVPs.
- Goal planning worksheet
From professional goals to fitness goals to financial goals, it helps to have something to keep you focused and on track. Enter the beauty of Excel. Using the tool, you can create various worksheets, logs, and planning documents to help you monitor your progress—and, hopefully, cross the finish line.
Excel might not be the first platform you think of when it comes to design. But, believe it or not, you can use the tool to put together various mock-ups and prototypes. In fact, it’s a surprisingly popular choice for creating website wireframes and dashboards.
- Task list
Say goodbye to your standard pen and paper to-do list. With Excel, you can make a far more robust task list—and even track your progress on those larger to-dos that are currently on your plate.
Similarly, you can create a simple checklist that allows you to tick off the things you’ve purchased or accomplished—from a grocery list to a roster of to-dos for an upcoming marketing campaign.