Excel Online Help

by Vicki Holmes

Microsoft Excel is the most widely used spreadsheet program worldwide. While the basic functions are simple to use, beginners may still need assistance to get comfortable with the software. Also, the many powerful tools in Excel can leave even longtime users at a loss. Fortunately, there are numerous online help tools available for everyone, from beginners to seasoned users.

Check Microsoft Online Help

Microsoft has online help available at Office.Microsoft.com. The site allows visitors to search for help by program and version. For example, if you are using Excel 2003 you can find help specific to that version. This is important because versions 2007 or later have a significantly different user interface. The site features graphic, video and audio tutorials to offer visitors a variety of ways to learn. However, many people who have tried to use this site to get help agree that the explanations given in the help topics are often difficult to understand or follow, leaving users confused and frustrated.

Free Online Help

There are many online sites that offer free Excel help. For example, ExcelGoodies.com has a wide variety of lessons arranged topically, making it easy to find the one you need. The site features videos and written steps, and it is very clearly presented and easily understandable for users at all levels of experience. Baycongroup.com offers another well done free help resource for Excel. The layout is in a clear, easy-to-follow list format organized into different lessons. The topics give clear, concise answers and are accompanied by helpful graphics. Ozgrid.com is a similar site to Baycongroup.com that offers longer, more detailed explanations. However, this site would benefit with the addition of graphics demonstrating the help topic they are explaining.

Paid Online Help

Many of the sites that offer free training also offer paid training, hoping that you will like the free sample trainings so much that you will invest in paid subscriptions. For example, MyDigitalWorks.com offers free samples of the online training videos they sell. Well known training company Fred Pryor/CareerTrack offers online audio and video seminars on their site Pryor.com. These scheduled classes run an hour and cover different aspects of the program which allows users to choose the class that will help answer their particular questions. If you are frustrated trying to sift through pages of help sites, you may wish to enlist the help of a live person who is an Excel expert. LivePerson.com offers this service. Excel experts are available to answer your specific questions for between $0.50 to $1.00 a minute, as of 2009. The service has a star system where users can rate an expert, allowing future users to select their helper wisely.

About the Author

Based in Connecticut, Vicki Holmes has been writing for 15 years and has a B.A. in English from The King's College. Drawing on her 20 years as a software trainer, she has authored ten software training manuals. Holmes, as an advocate/patient for sufferers of autoimmune illnesses, frequently writes about health-related topics.