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5 Important Features of MS Excel

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The use of Excel in the workplace has been exceptionally common for many years, even though not all of the business features of Excel are used to their optimum effect, which is a shame. Excel experts online often highlight and identify many areas of the mammoth software application that are simple and quick to learn, and more importantly, can make a huge difference to employee productivity. 

Below are five important features for using Excel in the workplace that can help an employee, team, or company save time and improve efficiency. Excel is a vast software package with numerous features that can be used by those in different roles, across a wide range of industries. Not every feature is pertinent to every Excel user, but the following commonly used features will likely make a difference to the majority of business users.

Features That Make Your Life Easier

After familiarizing yourself with these features, you will be well on your way to making the most out of some of the most important aspects of Excel—and ensuring that your usage of the software package enhances and improves your way of working as well as that of your colleagues.

Password Protection

With the growing sophistication of hackers and cyber criminals, the password protection of work products is incredibly important. It can also help prevent sensitive or confidential data from being leaked and shared with employees that should not be privy to the information. Consistent use of password protection makes a company or team far more reliable and professional, as well as a trusted resource. Sometimes people shy away from password protection because passwords can be so easily forgotten. But if a password naming convention and system are put in place, this will prevent them from being lost. By using password protection in Excel you can lock up sensitive data that you don’t want to risk being exposed or stolen. 

Pivot Tables

While recording and storing data in Excel is simple, many users get excited (perhaps too much so) about being able to format a table to make it look attractive. Truthfully though, that misses a huge point of Excel. Focusing too much on formatting also means Excel is being used suboptimally because it has a feature called pivot tables that can help you manage and display data more efficiently.

Pivot tables allow users to not only record and store data, but to also easily analyze the information to make important business decisions. They can summarize vast amounts of data and drill down to key facts that might otherwise be difficult to find if the file is viewed en masse. 


Macros, when done properly, can be a fantastic way of automating a highly repetitive task. Not only do they save precious time over and over again, but they also remove the risk of human error. Macros automate and speed up processes that would typically be completed manually by a person. With the eradication of human error, time wasted trying to undo mistakes is eliminated too. 

Index Match and VLookup

A lot of Excel enthusiasts appreciate the Index Match and VLookup features in their data analysis. VLookup returns information from one column when a corresponding value is found in another column, whereas Index Math does the same with a wider dataset.

The function terms can be a little complicated at first, but after a little practice, this can be a highly effective way of understanding vast amounts of data and information.

Freezing Panes

Freezing panes may sound simple, especially to those already familiar with the feature. However, that does not diminish just how important it is, and how most users could benefit from knowing how to do it. The reason being is that freezing panes makes reading text and data much easier, and users can represent data in a visual manner that corresponds to how they want to interpret and analyze the information. The freezing pane feature is a quick win that can make all the difference in how a person interacts with Excel.

Excel and Business Usage

Excel’s built-in features will make it a valuable business tool for the foreseeable future. The world of software development is growing rapidly at a pace that even ten years ago would have been difficult to imagine. Yet, Excel, which has been around for decades, continues to be a software that companies and individuals return to time and time again. 

That’s because the above features, along with its extensive libraries of tools, make it the go-to product for sorting, analyzing, manipulating, and visualising large amounts of data. It’s also such a common software that many other apps and packages integrate well with it (particularly other Microsoft products) so that information from Excel spreadsheets can be incorporated as input to a variety of other projects and workflows. 

Perhaps the only issue with Excel is its size. It is exceptionally large with extensive features and tools, potentially making every day a school day for Excel users. But there will always be something that can be done with Excel to help improve productivity. From simple keyboard shortcuts to learning a totally new function, Excel has the ability to surprise on a frequent and consistent basis. 

Bearing that in mind, it is probably wise for business owners and human resource professionals to put Excel training at the forefront of their employee development schedules. Because Excel is such a powerful tool, the potential of a well-trained Excel workforce should never be underestimated. 

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