Centre for Continuing Education

Microsoft Excel Course: Level 1

Microsoft Excel. Unlock insights and tell the story in your data.

Learn Microsoft Excel the smart way with Microsoft Excel courses at the University of Sydney.

This short course will help you improve the way you manage and present information and take the legwork out of calculations and data manipulation. It provides you with the skills and knowledge necessary to create and manage workbooks. This short course covers creating a new workbook, adding data, editing data, working with formulas, printing and charting and is an ideal introduction before progressing on to Microsoft Excel Course: Level 2.


Upon completion of this short course, you should be able to:

  1. Navigate your way around.
  2. Create and work with a new workbook.
  3. Open and navigate within workbooks and worksheets.
  4. Understand and work with ranges in a worksheet.
  5. Understand, create and work with formulas and functions used to perform calculations.
  6. Copy and paste data.
  7. Understand and use formula cell referencing.
  8. Use font formatting techniques.
  9. Align the contents of cells in a number of ways.
  10. Format rows and columns in a worksheet.
  11. Understand and use the number formatting features.
  12. Print your workbook data.
  13. Create effective charts.


Getting to know Excel

  • Starting From The Desktop.
  • Understanding The Start Screen.
  • The Workbook Screen.
  • How Excel Works.
  • Using The Ribbon.
  • Showing And Collapsing The Ribbon.
  • Understanding The Backstage View.
  • Accessing The Backstage View.
  • Using Shortcut Menus.
  • Understanding Dialog Boxes.
  • Launching Dialog Boxes.
  • Understanding the Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Adding Commands To The Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Understanding The Status Bar.
  • Exiting Safely.

Creating a new workbook

  • Understanding Workbooks.
  • Using The Blank Workbook Template.
  • Typing Text.
  • Typing Numbers.
  • Typing Dates.
  • Typing Formulas.
  • Easy Formulas.
  • Saving A New Workbook On Your Computer.
  • Checking The Spelling.
  • Making Basic Changes.
  • Printing A Worksheet.
  • Safely Closing A Workbook.

Working with workbooks

  • Opening An Existing Workbook.
  • Navigating A Workbook.
  • Navigating Using The Keyboard.
  • Using Go To.
  • Recent Files And Folders.
  • Understanding Data Editing.
  • Overwriting Cell Contents.
  • Editing Longer Cells.
  • Editing Formulas.
  • Clearing Cells.
  • Deleting Data.
  • Using Undo And Redo.

Selecting ranges

  • Understanding Cells And Ranges.
  • Selecting Contiguous Ranges.
  • Selecting Non-Contiguous Ranges.
  • Using Special Selection Techniques.
  • Selecting Larger Ranges.
  • Selecting Rows.
  • Selecting Columns.
  • Viewing Range Calculations.
  • Creating An Input Range.

Formulas and functions

  • Understanding Formulas.
  • Creating Formulas That Add.
  • Creating Formulas That Subtract.
  • Formulas That Multiply And Divide.
  • Understanding Functions.
  • Using The SUM Function.
  • Summing Non-Contiguous Ranges.
  • Calculating An Average.
  • Finding A Maximum Value.
  • Finding A Minimum Value.
  • Creating More Complex Formulas.
  • What If Formulas.
  • Common Error Messages.

Copying data

  • Understanding Copying.
  • Using Fill For Quick Copying.
  • Copying From One Cell To Another.
  • Copying From One Cell To A Range.
  • Copying From One Range To Another.
  • Copying Relative Formulas.
  • Copying To A Non-Contiguous Range.
  • Copying To Another Worksheet.
  • Copying To Another Workbook.

Formula referencing

  • Absolute Versus Relative Referencing.
  • Relative Formulas.
  • Problems With Relative Formulas.
  • Creating Absolute References.
  • Creating Mixed References.

Font formatting

  • Understanding Font Formatting.
  • Working With Live Preview.
  • Changing Fonts.
  • Changing Font Size.
  • Growing And Shrinking Fonts.
  • Making Cells Bold.
  • Italicising Text.
  • Underlining Text.
  • Changing Font Colours.
  • Changing Background Colours.
  • Using The Format Painter.
  • Applying Strikethrough.
  • Subscripting Text.
  • Superscripting Text.
  • Practice Exercise.
  • Practice Exercise Sample.

Cell alignment

  • Understanding Cell Alignment.
  • Horizontal Cell Alignment.
  • Aligning Right.
  • Aligning To The Centre.
  • Aligning Left.
  • Vertical Cell Alignment.
  • Aligning Top.
  • Aligning Bottom.
  • Aligning To The Middle.
  • Rotating Text.
  • Indenting Cells.
  • Wrapping And Merging Text.
  • Merging And Centring.
  • Merging Cells.
  • Unmerging Cells.

Row and column formatting

  • Approximating Column Widths.
  • Setting Precise Columns Widths.
  • Setting The Default Column Width.
  • Approximating Row Height.
  • Setting Precise Row Heights.
  • Hiding Rows And Columns.
  • Unhiding Rows And Columns.

Number formatting

  • Understanding Number Formatting.
  • Applying General Formatting.
  • Formatting For Money.
  • Formatting Percentages.
  • Formatting As Fractions.
  • Formatting As Dates.
  • Using The Thousands Separator.
  • Increasing And Decreasing Decimals.


  • Understanding Printing.
  • Previewing Before You Print.
  • Selecting A Printer.
  • Printing A Range.
  • Printing An Entire Workbook.
  • Specifying The Number Of Copies.
  • The Print Options.

Creating charts

  • Understanding The Charting Process.
  • Choosing The Right Chart.
  • Using A Recommended Chart.
  • Creating A New Chart From Scratch.
  • Working With An Embedded Chart.
  • Resizing A Chart.
  • Repositioning A Chart.
  • Printing An Embedded Chart.
  • Creating A Chart Sheet.
  • Changing The Chart Type.
  • Changing The Chart Layout.
  • Changing The Chart Style.
  • Printing A Chart Sheet.
  • Embedding A Chart Into A Worksheet.
  • Deleting A Chart.

Delivery Style

Delivered as presenter-taught computer-based training in a Microsoft Windows environment. Please note that teaching instructions and materials are specifically tailored to Windows PC users.

Intended Audience

This short course is designed for those who have little or no understanding, knowledge of, or experience in using Excel.

You should be familiar with the basic functions of a computer operating system such as navigating the environment using a mouse and keyboard, starting applications, copying and pasting objects, formatting text, creating folders, opening files, saving files, familiarity with the accessing the Internet and use of common web browsers. If you do not have these skills, we recommend attending Basic Computer Skills Course and Effective Internet Use before attempting this course.


  • Free repeat class - Conditions apply
  • Free USB flash drive
  • Expert trainer
  • Dedicated computer for every student
  • Small class size
  • Student notes – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • This course has a fantastic instructor. The pace of the class was excellent – not too fast, not too slow, just right. The tutor was also very good at catering for special requests of learning new material, which made the class even more worthwhile. I would definitely take another short course at CCE. The lunch was great as well. We didn’t have to worry about going to buy something or bringing lunch. The experience overall was outstanding. Thank you.

  • I cannot speak highly enough of your Tutor! The manner in which the class was conducted and managed with the differing levels of knowledge was impressive. I found the tutor incredibly helpful, easy to listen to, and engaging throughout the whole class. If I do further classes I would look to see if that tutor is available. What an asset you have for your company!

  • The course was pitched beautifully to make sure we could all learn and no-one would be left behind. It was useful and engaging. I only wish I’d done it 10 years ago!

  • The tutor was so clear with the teaching and instructions. A firm 10/10 for presentation of the course and help throughout the day.

  • The trainer was amazing!! $10 parking next door was great. Lunch was very nice. The whole experience was fantastic. Will definitely recommend to friends and colleagues!

  • A knowledgeable educator, with an easy to follow teaching style. The course was very enlightening, and I picked up many new skills. Highly worthwhile.

  • This Excel Level 1 course was well-paced, with great content and resources and a tutor who knew Excel inside and out. Perfect for beginners but also for those needing a refresher or to ensure they are using the latest and best methods with MS Excel. You couldn’t ask for a better tutor – no-one was left behind in the training. Thank you!

  • Great Informative basic course in excel. Tutor was excellent and content was interesting. A lot covered in 7 hours with additional practical exercises to take home. Very impressed.

  • Wonderful tutor – made the course relevant and even fun and seemed genuinely happy to be teaching us – no question deemed silly and no answer wrong. Will be back for more!

  • Such a wonderful tutor with a depth and breadth of knowledge about Excel which was very much in evidence. Commanded a class of mixed abilities with grace and patience. I will definitely be taking the entire suite of Excel classes with this tutor.

  • The course and tutor exceeded my expectations. The class was given sufficient time to practice and was frequently offered one-on-one assistance. Our tutor constantly re-capped what was just learnt so the information stuck. The venue and facilities were wonderful. Would definitely recommend to others and will return.

  • Fantastic course with a well informed and professional tutor. A+

  • Great course and a fantastic tutor! I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who struggles with Excel or who just wants to brush up on their skills.

  • Excellent from enrolment to wonderful delivery.

  • An excellent trainer and I got plenty out of the day’s training. Appreciate how the tutor took time out to assist with questions. I’ll be recommending the training to many staff from work.

  • The tutor was very knowledgeable and approachable. Course was conducted in a format to engage participants and tailored to suit the needs of those present. Would highly recommend.

  • A fantastic course for beginners of Excel and the teacher was very accommodating to extra questions outside the curriculum.

  • A very organised and well run course. The venue was easy to get to and equipped with the latest machines and software. The tutor was a very experienced instructor, personally encouraging and patient. None of our questions were too hard to gain a response. I have already encouraged my colleagues to consider taking this course.

  • I highly recommend taking Microsoft courses at Sydney University’s CCE over your typical course at a Microsoft reseller, who has simply sent an employee through a Microsoft ‘train the trainer’ certification course. The Excel tutor had a background in Finance and was able to apply real world examples to what was taught. I’ll be registering for the next two levels, as well as other Microsoft courses.

  • I thought the way the tutor went about the training was excellent. The computers were brilliant and everything was made so easy to understand – considering I never had any prior dealing with Excel.

  • Very organised and taught very well. This course Improved confidence and knowledge in using Excel.

  • Outstanding presenter who was very thorough and systematic in her teaching. Loved it and learned so much.

  • The Excel tutor is what all teachers should be – patient, knowledgeable, gracious and in perfect control of time and pace. A great experience.

  • Had a great time and learnt a lot! The tutor went at a really great speed! Lovely teacher and lots learnt!

  • I enjoyed a course that I didn’t think I would enjoy due to the clear facilitation and helpful atmosphere created by the tutor. Thank you, I am now much more knowledgeable about Excel.

  • The course was exceptional. The tutor, was knowledgeable and a great communicator. The course was structured very well, it had a good balance between theory and practice. The course booklet is excellent! I am impressed that it even has an index, this is VERY helpful. Overall, an exceptional course!

  • It was an excellent set up, very well organised. Definitely get your monies worth. Tutor was fantastic, very thorough.

  • Course was really good – it was a good balance between content for absolute beginners and people who had used Excel without any real training but had some idea what they were doing.

  • I particularly liked the workbook and the USB with attached excel sheets to work from so I can practice what I have since learnt at home.

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