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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sena

Top 11 Skills of Excel Experts

Excel is easy to start with but also quite vast. The title of spreadsheet specialist is often arbitrary and based on one’s preconceptions of who Excel Experts are. To gain a more diversified perspective, we asked business owners and leaders what skills make someone Excel master.

Here are 11 Excel skills of Excel Experts:

  • Formulas

  • Data Filtering and Sorting

  • PivotTables

  • Charts

  • Conditional Formatting

  • Drop-Down Lists

  • Personalized Company Templates

  • Flash Fill

  • Shortcuts

  • Power Query

  • VBA Scripts

Being a spreadsheet pro is a multidimensional achievement. It’s not enough to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all Excel features. You also have to be efficient in using them, make your work accessible to others and go beyond the manual worksheet work with VBA automation or Power Queries.

Master popular Excel functionalities

Every professional that uses Excel spends a significant amount of time using its most common features. In-depth knowledge of formulas, data organising principles and visualisation options in Excel is a must for every analyst and finance professional.


Learning formulas is definitely a way to become much more skilled in Excel. Utilizing this skill, you can create charts in which inputting data can create automatic results of a certain equation relating to the numbers in the chart. For example, you could create a formula that calculates either the sum or the average of a list of numbers within a column in a chart. This will save you a lot of time which you would otherwise need to spend on your calculator.

Mike Pasley, Famous IRL

Data Filtering and Sorting

Although data filtering and data sorting are two different terms, I think of them as a single skill. If you can use these tools, you will never face any challenges in finding data in an Excel sheet. It might sound like an average skill, but it will save you a lot of time and effort when you manage Excel sheets on a large level.

The ability to filter any data from an Excel sheet and the skill to sort it out according to your requirements goes a long way. Other skills like cell formatting and data validation are important too. However, you can still perform almost all the Excel operations without being a master of these skills.

Lynda Fairly, NumLooker


Being an expert of PivotTables is an Excel skill that true Excel masters possess. These tables are great for analyzing data from giant tables. This skill allows you to simply drag and drop the relevant data to the table format that you want.

Jim Beard, BoxGenie


One skill that makes me an expert at Excel is that I know how to do advanced charting and advanced formulas. Formulas can help you analyze information on Excel as well as get answers to difficult questions and crunch data. Advanced charting can also come in handy when working on more than one set of data.

Shaun Price, MitoQ

Keep your Excel files structured

Most often Excel files are used by more than one person. Being able to make the work easy and organised for others is a distinctive skill. You can start with colour coding and error-proofing names but the possibilities are endless. Most firms have their own Excel templates and tools.

Conditional Formatting

For those who use Excel frequently, perhaps no other overarching skill is more important than being able to efficiently and effectively segment and organize data. Specifically, conditional formatting allows you to automate the colour-coding of a cell based on its input. As a tool that changes the colour of a cell-based on specific parameters, conditional formatting allows for top-level analysts and executives alike to have a quick visual synopsis of performance, results, even data entries.

Ryan Craver, Mallary by Matthew

Drop-Down Lists

If you're at the point where you even know about drop-down lists and how to make them, you're definitely adept at creating a functional Excel spreadsheet. This function creates the ability to choose from a particular list of options within a single cell whenever necessary, which allows for less typing and saves time. Furthermore, drop-down lists are useful because they can potentially eliminate the amount of space one would otherwise need to take up in a chart.

Chris Caouette, Gorilla Bow

Personalized Company Templates

The capability to tailor solutions in Excel for your organization makes you an expert. For example, in the Army, a rifle company consists of about 151 personnel and $20-50 million dollars worth of equipment. Developing an Excel template that can be shared across the organization to manage that property, personnel, and essential tasks adds incredible value. If you can make a useful template for your organization, there is no doubt that you'll be considered an expert.

Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

Using Excel fast

Most of the time you can achieve your goal in Excel in multiple ways. Also, working on a project in a specific industry, you will tend to use some functionalities more often than others. It pays off to speed up such tasks.

Flash Fill

Flash fill is the marker of a true Excel expert. Once you master this feature, you will find filling out your charts is a breeze. Flash fill is simple. You fill out the first row, and Excel figures out what you want to do for the rest of the rows.

Daniel Patrick, Luxury Sportswear Designer


If you'll be creating a lot of Excel spreadsheets and using the data on a regular basis for your business, then it's important to be as efficient as possible. Fortunately, there is a slew of Excel shortcuts that you can use to make adding to spreadsheets a much more timely task. And the good news is that soon, using these shortcuts will come naturally.

Chris Riley, USA Rx

Automating Excel work

Excel experts should also be able to scale their solutions. That can be done with automation solutions such as Power Query and VBA. Almost every task you can explain with a set of conditional rules can be coded in Visual Basic, removing the need for mundane work.

Power Query

Power Query is an Excel revolution that has saved me hours of work. Using Power Query, I spend less time manipulating data and more time analyzing it for detailed information and making better decisions. Power Query has saved me many hours collecting and preparing data before loading it into a data model. I can connect to any data source and fetch data, define data cleansing and transformation processes, combine datasets (i.e., table joins, appends), and automate data collection and management tasks.

Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD

VBA Scripts

Having the ability to create advanced Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts sets me apart from others. VBA is the programming language of Excel and other Microsoft Office programs. It gives me the ability to achieve command over the program and get what I need when creating excel reports, analysis, and data modelling. I'm also able to make key changes without doing manual work or modifications, which helps me save a lot of time.

Abby Hao, Wiringo

This article was written with help of Terkel which creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published.



1. Lack of awareness
2. Budgeting constraints
3. Status quo
4. Case study
5. Equilibrium
6. The remedy
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