Excel is CRAP: How to Calculate, Record, Analyze, & Present Data

, President of Shir Consulting

Update: This is the LAST TIME I will be teaching this course in person.

#3 Rated Master Teacher on Skillshare in Ratio of Endorsements to Students

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the last place Dan wanted to be was stuck in his office working on the monthly sales report. But of course, his boss had a last minute change which absolutely had to be made by Monday morning.

"This is what I went to college for?" Dan thought to himself as he cursed Excel for robbing him of his weekend...again!

Over the past several years I have heard some variation of this story over and over again. What gets me every time is that Dan was a smart guy, capable of adding tremendous value to his organization, yet he spent most of his time doing tedious, de-humanizing work that Excel should have been doing for him.

It's not Dan's fault though, since nobody ever taught us these fundamental skills. Until now...

Just imagine how it will feel to go out for a long lunch break, and come back to find all of your reports prepared for you, with absolutely zero manual repetitive work remaining. At the end of this course you will be able to turn that dream into reality.

You will learn:

  • How to "Set it and Forget it" so you never have to do manual work...ever again!
  • How to stop making the 3 most common mistakes that can cost you hours every single day.
  • How to become a recession-proof employee and finally get that promotion you deserve.
  • The "Shir Substitution Method" as well as one-of-a-kind memory tricks for creating Tables, Pivot Tables, and Charts.

Course Content and Format:

The primary example we will be using throughout the course will be a personal finance tool which we will create together over the first 4 weeks. Once completed, it will help you pinpoint exactly where you are spending money, how much you need to earn each month to cover all your expenses, which transactions are tax-deductible, etc..

On the 5th week you will bring in your own Excel project for a capstone workshop (don't worry, I have plenty more examples to provide in case you don't have one). In this workshop, you will apply everything you have learned to turn your spreadsheet into the most impressive and useful data tool you've ever created.

For the first 4 weeks, each 2 hour class will be divided into part lecture and part hands-on workshop. You will work in pairs to complete exercises that gradually increase in difficulty and are specifically designed to teach you only the most essential Excel concepts. We then review your answers as a class and address any questions before moving on.

This course is perfect for you if:

  • You use Excel regularly, but find yourself doing a lot of manual repetitive work.
  • You know a lot of basic functions like SUM, COUNT, IF, etc., but are ready to learn more advanced ones that will save you hours every day.
  • You find yourself filtering data all the time and know there has to be a better way to analyze data (hint: there is).

This course is NOT for you if:

  • You've never used Excel before or have a very difficult time navigating around different spreadsheets.
  • You don't know how to use the SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, or IF functions.
  • If this sounds like you, I recommend watching my free online tutorials designed specifically for beginners.
  • On the other hand, if you find that the course is too easy, simply talk to me after the first session and I will refund your entire purchase.

As always, all my classes are backed by the Shir Guarantee: "You will gain at least 1 new and valuable insight/shortcut or your money back. No questions asked."*

Note: Laptops are required. Computers will NOT be provided. If you cannot bring a laptop please email me at [email protected] so I can make sure there are enough laptops to share (we will be working in pairs).

Versions of Excel that are OK for class:

  • Excel 2010 for PC (Preferred)
  • Excel 2007 for PC
  • Excel 2011 for Mac

Versions of Excel that are NOT OK for class:

  • Excel 2003 for PC or earlier
  • Excel 2008 for Mac or earlier

See the links below to download a free trial version of the latest Excel software, or purchase on Amazon.com (highly recommended and totally worth every penny!)

Free Trial for 60 days for Excel 2010 for PC: https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/try
Free Trial for 30 days for Excel 2011 for Mac: http://download.cnet.com/Microsoft-Office-2011/3000-18483_4-75305578.html

Microsoft Office 2010 for PC Home & Student 3PC /1 User: http://amzn.com/B004E9SKEQ
Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Home & Student - 1 User: http://amzn.com/B0064PFB9U
Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Home & Student -Family Pack (1 User/3 Installs): http://amzn.com/B004E9SKBO

To install a virtual PC on your Mac, please read the following post in the discussion board: http://www.skillshare.com/Excel-is-CRAP-How-to-Calculate-Record-Analyze-Present-Data/719860157/1943177622/classroom/discussions/1835

Fine Print:

  • If you absolutely have to cancel or reschedule this course, you must do so more than 4 days before the first class. Anything less than that does not provide enough time to fill your seat, and therefore is NOT ELIGIBLE for credit or a refund.
  • Cancellations more than 4 days in advance can receive refunds (minus the Skillshare and Paypal fees) or get credit towards a future course.
  • Final note: If you miss individual classes of the course you will be able to make them up only if there is space in a future course.
All students in this course MUST be able to write basic formulas, and have a working understanding of Pivot Tables. If you do not I recommend that you watch my 29 FREE videos on Howcast.com (go to http://shirconsulting.com and click on the "HOWCAST" logo on the left panel) and enroll in my Behind The Curtain class, as well as my Pivot Table class. Once you have completed these 3 things you will be ready for this course.
  • Calculate: You'll Never Look at Your Calculator the Same Way


    Coming soon...

    Calculations are the cornerstones of every spreadsheet. In this class you will learn:

    • The difference between functions & formulas.
    • The 2 kinds of operators (arithmetic & comparison) and when to use each.
    • 44 Essential functions.
    • How to learn any new function on your own (why give a person to fish when you can teach them how to fish?).
    • How to handle complex formulas & Nested IF Statements using the "Shir Substitution Method."

    Coming Soon...

  • Record: You Can't Manage What Isn't Measured


    Coming soon...

    Q: If data is recorded in a spreadsheet, but nobody is there to format it properly, does it exist?
    A: Nope. At least not as far as Excel is concerned. Who knew Excel could be so heartless?

    In this class you will learn:

    • The advantages of using a data table (vs. a standard data range).
    • The 5 simple steps to creating your own table.
    • How to turn your data table into eye candy using a few simple formatting tricks.
    • How to foolproof your table so nobody (including yourself) can ruin it!

    Coming Soon...

  • Analyze: What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You


    Coming soon...

    Did you ever wonder why some people get promoted and others don't?

    I believe the answer lies in the ability to translate raw information into meaningful conclusions. In other words, how to analyze data and then clearly communicate your findings to the right person. In this class you will learn to do just that.

    In addition, you will also learn how to:

    • Ask meaningful questions about your data, and find the answer in seconds.
    • Turn data analysis into a game (an extremely profitable one!).
    • Uncover hidden trends that might just save your company from going under (no, I am not exaggerating).
    • Acquire instant "Genius Status" and impress the pants off your boss!

    Coming Soon...

  • Present: How to be Clear, Concise, and Compelling


    Coming soon...

    Believe it or not, I can look at thousands of rows of data all day and be absolutely enthralled. It's true, I'm a huge nerd :).

    The truth is that most people require visual aids to assist in their understanding of the numbers. That's where charts come in.

    In this class you will learn:

    • The difference between the 4 basic types of charts, and when to use each.
    • How to close any deal by creating compelling & professional charts.
    • How to knock the socks off your colleagues by creating dynamic charts (a.k.a. Pivot Charts).

    Coming Soon...

  • Capstone Workshop


    Coming soon...

    Before this final capstone workshop you will receive a cheat sheet with all the Excel concepts we covered in the previous 4 weeks. In addition, you will receive a checklist with specific instructions on how to apply these concepts to your own Excel project (don't worry, I have plenty of examples to provide you in case you don't have one).

    I highly recommend that you take at least an hour or two to go through the checklist before the 5th session. That way, if you get stuck you can write down all your questions and bring them in for the workshop. Once again, you will work in pairs, but I will also be there to answer questions.

    As a final wrap-up to the course, I will let students volunteer to share their projects with the rest of the class for no more than a 2 minute presentation. This is a great opportunity to get constructive feedback from myself and the rest of the class on how to improve your specific project. If you would rather not present in front of everyone, I will be there to give feedback on an individual basis as well.


    Coming Soon...

Shir Aviv

President of Shir Consulting

Shir is the president of Shir Consulting, which helps small businesses use their existing data to uncover previously hidden insights & opportunities. He is also the former Marketing & Analytics Advisor for the New York Technology Council, has been featured as the Microsoft Excel Expert on Howcast.com, and has taught Excel classes at General Assembly.

When not tweaking spreadsheets, Shir can be found dancing Argentine Tango in NYC's vibrant Tango scene. He holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Vermont.

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