Something for those Spreadsheet people to ponder

From: Michael G

Found the following while looking for help on Excel...

Michael G


I have been asked occasionally my opinion on how to define a user's skill level with Excel. Usually the question goes something like this:

"If someone says they know MS Excel on their resume, what questions can I ask them to determine their level of expertise?"

I have prepared (what I think) is a fair list of what users should know at various levels of Excel understanding. I find that most users who claim to know Excel very well fall into the intermediate category on my scale. Also, I would say that for most degreed analytical-type positions, an intermediate level Excel user is adequate. For data entry and clerical work, a novice user is adequate.

Please keep in mind, this is STRICTLY my own opinion. Please feel free to disagree and even modify my list for your own taste, but please, don't write to me and suggest that I change my opinion. I really don't want to spend any time convincing you that I'm right. :)


Can successfully navigate and save an Excel workbook.
OK with Data Entry tasks.
If you think the cartoon paperclip is cute and useful, chances are, you fall into this category.

Novice Formulas:


Knows what a Pivot Table is and how to build one.
Knows what an addin is and how to install one.
Understands and can use the AutoFilter feature.
Can record a macro and use it later.
Can successfully edit/modify simple recorded macros.
Most users who claim to know Excel very well fall into this category.

Intermediate Formulas:


Knows what array formulas are and how to use them.
Can create and modify macros with or without the macro recorder.
Knows how to build a macro that can be triggered by events.
Familiar with most, if not all, of the functions in Excel.
Comfortable teaching or helping others with Excel.

Advanced Functions:


Can build addins for distribution and widespread use.
If you can think it, they can build it with Excel.
Most likely, a disturbed individual who spends too much time thinking about spreadsheets. :)

Expert Functions:
A true expert knows the strengths & weaknesses of every single one and has probably had to build some new ones that were not available.


The true Excel elite.
Probably just a handful of them in the world.
If you are one, you know who you are.
If you're an Expert, you probably know their names.

From time to time, you might see one posting a response on a newsgroup.
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Reply: 1
From: Simon and Julie M

Hi Michael
Well that's cleared it up for me.
I know precisely where I fit and there's only one way for me to go . Up
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Reply: 2
From: Geoff Whitfield

You haven't mentioned the term VBA- if they're any sort of expert, they will at least what it is (the macro programming language).

There's a very good forum for Excel, as well as Word, Powerpoint, Windows etc- it might be worth while making this same post there. I find it much more friendly than the newsgroups.

It's Woody's Lounge-
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Reply: 2.1
From: Asy .

Um, Geoff, if you know that there is an excel forum, does that make you an expert or a guru?? ;o)


"Don't forget what happened to the guy who suddenly got everything he ever wanted...
He lived happily ever after.
(Willy Wonka).
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Reply: 3
From: Rachel Freedman

Hee hee - I have posted to that but maybe I will get a quicker response here - what is the limit on Excel file sizes - I am having huge problems with a 12000kb file.
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Reply: 3.1
From: Duncan M

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Sounds like you're confusing Spreadsheet and Database.. what do you have in
a 12Mb Spreadsheet??

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<TITLE>RE: Something for those Spreadsheet people to ponder</TITLE>

Sounds like you're confusing Spreadsheet and Database.. what do you have in a 12Mb Spreadsheet??

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Reply: 3.1.1
From: Glenn M


I currently use up to 45Mb Excel files at work which I use for some serious financial modelling and reporting purposes. I have found that as soon as you start to exceed 10Mb files, you really need a 128MB RAM chip or higher. Otherwise, the file will take ages to load and will crawl along at a snail's pace.

So you can either split your current file into separate files (which means you will need to interlink between files) or up the RAM on your PC.

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Reply: 2.1.1
From: Geoff Whitfield

Neither I'm afraid.

I've done a lot of work programming behind Excel, but esoteric stuff, and the basic nuts and bolts is not as good.

(Read between the lines- don't ask me for expertise- I don't know!)

I'm a mod on that board, but that's because, like here, I like to hang around in a place where people help each other out.
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Reply: 3.2
From: Geoff Whitfield


You had a reply there nearly as quickly as here...

But it tends to be largely US based, so it's busiest overnight.
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