During one of my first professional interviews I was asked “How good are your excel skills?”. I paused and quickly responded that they were probably a 7 out of 10. I mean during my vast career at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte I can’t even count the times I have used excel. I mean, I used this program at least once a week if not more. I felt confident in my answer, not wanting to overshoot my skills only to have the interviewee quickly follow-up with “well do you, VBA? Do you know audit?” and so he went on naming tools excel could do. At the time, I was kind of left dumbfounded and found myself confused for awhile. When I told this story to a friend of mine later he said, “Don’t worry I thought the same thing before I started working here.”
So I ask you, how well are your excel skills? Or how well do you know excel? Excel is defined by Wikipedia as “Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications”. So you know how to create spread sheets and if so I am going to assume you know how to plot these? But I am going to take a look at little bit more at EXCEL’s key features such as calculations and defining Macros.
It begs the question, why do we need a calculator when we have office? Especially when one has a hundreds of numbers to calculate. The following syntax is included and built into excel: Sum, Average, Pi, Radians, Degrees, and the list goes on and on. I know I recently used it to calculating angles of a descent of an object. Simply by starting with a cell and hitting equal then going to the formula function one can view formulas that may be used. As you now have seen excel can be powerful tool for converting most mathematical formulas. There have even been books written on it. In 1995 Willaim Orvis published a book called Excel for scientists and Engineers. (http://www.amazon.com/Excel-
So with these powerful mathematical formulas one would assume you can create a worksheet where one button can produce a variety of outputs? Excel covers this with the many Macros you can make in Visual basic. A Macro is a rule of pattern that specifies how a certain input sequence should be mapped to a replacement of an output sequence. With excel visual basic you can automate tasks creating these excels. Visual basic is simply a higher level language written using English-like words and syntax. It is developed by Microsoft for their operating system in windows.
I am not going to go into the step by step of how to open VBA into office as each version of excel has slightly changed the process and these can be found through a quick google search. But my adding the developer tool into the command list VBA offers a wide assortment of skills one can use into excel. Worksheets can now be made by incorporating the wide arrange of formulas that MS Excel can use. I suggest everyone look into it. Now documents can be made to determining wide arrange of pass/fail mathematical formulas. Ever wonder if a jump can reach a height based on a variety of different forces? VBA allows you to make this formula and simply by inserting the height you can now see the pass or fail of reaching a certain height by simple clicking a button, through its graphical interface.
Simply put, Excel is an amazing powerful device. Never look at it as a simple spreadsheet tool. It has a thousands of tools I haven’t even touched. So next time someone asks you how good are your excel skills think about it clearly. Remember these are my thoughts and thus my consequences.