The other day I was setting up a new employee’s computer. I was configuring, VPN, loading bookmarks and macros, and mapping network drives and printers. When I was configuring Excel she looked at me and asked, what’s this program do (referring to Excel).
Well that took me back a bit. In this day of the modern office, I never considered that a new employee would not have any knowledge of spreadsheets.
Now in her defense, they came from a role that did not require computer use (yes these jobs still do exist).
So I broke out my one sentence explanation of what Excel is.
Excel is a program that is used to store, organize, manipulate and analyze data.
I then elaborated briefly….
Excel consists of a grid of cells (an intersection point) formed by columns and rows. For the most part, columns have letters and rows have numbers. A cell can be considered the basic unit for storing data in a worksheet. As there are just of 17 billion cells available for use in a worksheet, each cell has its own name (or reference). So cell C5 would be in column C row 5. Her eyes glazed over…
I continued… Data is store in these cells and Excel allows you to add, subtract, multiply and divide this data. Her eyes lit up a bit, “Like a calculator” she said.
“Exactly” I replied. Excel can be considered a fancy calculator. Most people use Excel to perform mathematical calculations ranging from the simple to complex. Excel also allows you to sort and filter your data for analysis. You can even graph your results.
When I finished setting up her computer, I wished her the best of luck in her now job and recommended that she visit my blog to learn more about Excel.
If you were in my place, how would you have answered her question and what do you think I should have included in my brief description of Excel?