What is Microsoft Excel? Definition, Uses and Features


MS Excel is very popular and is used by all kinds of businesses all over the world to perform financial analysis. This spreadsheet program was created by Microsoft and is super beneficial for analyzing data and numbers for all businesses.

What Is Microsoft Excel?

As per the definition, “Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program created by Microsoft that uses tables to record and analyze numerical and statistical data with formulas and functions”.

In simple words, MS Excel or Microsoft Excel is one of the most commonly used Microsoft Office applications. This is a software program that uses spreadsheets to organize huge numbers and data with functions and formulas.

Microsoft Excel Features

There are several rows and columns that are a part of Excel which makes entering data simple. One can use Excel for various tasks such as making payslips, calculating weekly expenses, and interactively sorting or filtering data based on various criteria and accounting.

What is Microsoft Excel used for?

Microsoft Excel is one of the best spreadsheet programs that is typically used to organize all kinds of data as well as perform analysis. MS Excel is used by companies both big and small to manage their data and perform financial analyses.

It is used to perform easy as well as complex calculations to get outputs. It is used to carry out simple as well as sophisticated computations to obtain outputs ranging from how to freeze rows and columns to how to concatenate in Excel. It is also widely used to manage expenses rather than just analyzing along with other data-based work.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that excel is used by different people for different things.

Some of the main uses of Microsoft Excel are

Data Functions, Formulas and Shortcuts

The Excel software consists of several shortcuts, functions and formulas that are great to increase and enhance the functionality.

Financial and Accounting Use

One of the most common purposes of the use of MS Excel is in finance and accounting. Several companies make use of this software to run their forecasting, accounting and budgeting functions, all on these spreadsheets.

At CFI, Excel is majorly termed as the financial software. The strongest point of Excel is its openness and robustness which makes it powerful for all kinds of analysis.

People from fields like accounting, analysts, bankers and others related to finance, all depend on Excel to perform their jobs on a daily basis.

MS Excel History and Releases

This is definitely one of the oldest spreadsheet software which has gone through many upgrades. It was released by Microsoft in the year 1985 for Macintosh-based systems. It was only later that it was released for other platforms like Windows.

Features of Microsoft Excel

Initially, when MS Excel was launched, it played a very important role in managing and performing various financial work like bookkeeping, and recording and maintaining data. But over time, the software went through multiple fixes and several upgrades which essentially boosted Excel and the many processes that could perform.

The brand new feature of Excel consists of many features that really make the work easy and hassle-free.

Some of the top and essential features of Microsoft Excel are as follows:

Header and Footer

Just like MS word, one can make use of Header and Footer in Microsoft Excel as well. It will be rightly placed on the top and at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

Password Protection

With the help of the Password protection feature, you can protect your data from any unauthorized access. Your data would be safe and secure and you would not have to worry about anything.

Find and Replace

In a spreadsheet with a mammoth of data, MS Excel makes it easier and simple for us to find the desired data like numbers or texts with the help of the Fing feature. Not just this, you can also replace the data with the new data in just a few clicks.

Data Sorting

With the help of the Data sorting feature, you can easily arrange data of worksheets in any logical order. You can sort it in many ways which include descending as well as ascending order. 

Data Filtering

If you want to find any data in your large spreadsheet, MS Excel makes it easy to find data with the help of data filtering and continue work on the selected range. This feature comes in handy and also offers Advanced Filter Options and AutoFilter.

Real-Time Data Update

When we work on Excel, we use different functions to calculate and get our desired results. You can replace any existing value with new data and Excel automatically updates the results in the cells.

Inbuilt Formulae

There is a wide range of formulas that one case used to perform easy and complex calculations on Excel. Some of the most basic formulas are sum, multiply, subtract, minimum, average etc. 

Insertion of Charts

While using MS Excel one can make use of the many charts like bar graphs, pie charts, line charts etc which would make our work more valuable. These charts can bring a great difference to your analysis.

Also Read
VLOOKUP in Excel: What do you need to know?
How to apply Round Off Formula in Excel
How to use If Formula in Excel

Important Points to Remember

Before you start to work on Excel, there are some crucial things you must know about the software. Some of the important ones are:

  • You can use a wide range of shortcuts from the keyboard that will make your work faster. To increase your productivity, you must know as well as use all the keyboard shortcuts.
  • You can use different file extensions on MS Excel. With each extension having its own uses, the XLSX is the default format for excel files when there are no VBA macros.
  • To share an excel file with someone when there is no further editing, you must save the file in a PDF format. This format makes the data secure from unauthorized inputs and no one would be able to make any edits. This format is also best known for printing purposes.
  • If you have received a file from an unauthorized source, you must open it with VBA programming as it may contain some vulnerable codes.
  • You must use the XLSB extension if the excel file is more than 10MB. This extension is compatible with VBA macros, formatting and functions and also makes the work faster. But, this format may not be supported on other spreadsheet programs. 
  • You can also activate macros in Excel, allowing you to design customized logic and automated activities.

Microsoft Excel is surely one of the best software which is popular throughout the world in businesses to manage their work and all kinds of tasks. Excel does big calculations and analyses in seconds and helps make a big difference in my comparison of data.

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Gaurav Singh Rawat

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