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Microsoft Office comes with a host of tools for office and personal use. However, Microsoft Excel is one of the most under-utilized. Most of its users do not know about some of the tricks, options, and features that it comes with.

Even though almost every other business uses Microsoft Excel in handling some if not most tasks, most of them use its basic features. Others end up deploying expensive solutions not knowing that Excel could provide them with the solution they are looking for.

Did you know that most business decision-making actions can be derived from Excel? This means that you do not have to deploy complex and expensive third-party applications or even programming languages.

Here are useful Excel features you probably did not know about;

Data Visualization

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you want to make a presentation of data insights to an audience, then you need data visualization. With this, you not only create awareness around the data but also engage users and communicate the intended outcome.

Even though there are multiple tools handling data visualization, Excel has been the go-to tool for a long time. It comes with combination charts that visualize complex relationships with your audience.

Within the Excel’s Developer tab, you can generate interactive charts with dropdown buttons, option buttons, and checkboxes. You can also use other add-ins such as PowerPivot for the creation of advanced models of data.

Data Modeling

Data modeling is common among businesses or professionals in the financial analysis industry. Even though there are multiple tools today that can handle data modeling, Excel is the most dominant software when it comes to modeling.

The first step in data modeling starts with the assembling of data. Fortunately, you can bring together data from multiple tables using the Excel data model. This can help you understand or foresee the future performance of your business.

With Excel, business owners and managers can change a data point and see how results would flow within their businesses in real-time. This is one of the reasons why most business models are built with Excel worksheets in mind.

Writing Scripts

Microsoft Excel comes with a VBA editor that allows users to write object-oriented scripts using the Visual Basic language. This means that businesses can use Excel to automate some of their tasks and create custom objects such as forms and dialog boxes.

If you are an advanced software developer, you can write scripts that ensure that users do not see the Excel spreadsheet. This allows you to show them multiple dialogs to take them through the process of data collection.

You can also write scripts to guide the processing and formatting of raw data. You do not have to spend many hours processing data when you can write scripts to do the job for you.

SQL in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel has been the most popular spreadsheet used in businesses for many years. This means that large sets of company data have been accumulated over the years. Does this make the Excel Spreadsheet a database?

Well, databases store data for various reasons, key among them data integrity. On the other hand, spreadsheets are used to analyze the data. Did you know you can connect these two? Well, you do not have to be an expert in SQL for you to establish this connection.

Excel comes with a Query Wizard you can use to write SQL queries and establish a connection with your database. You can then run queries to get the data you need for analysis. 

Forecasting

A big number of businesses use Excel to manage their payroll and balance their financial books. They do not know that they can use Excel for forecasting. This is important in helping businesses set timelines, spot customer trends, and manage their inventories among others.

Business intelligence engineers use several forecast and trend functions that allow businesses to automate chart creation – not just the normal line computation. Some of these functions include Growth, Trend, Forecast, Intercept, and Slope. They are very important in the creation of forecasting models.

These are just some of the features that come with Excel. There are more features that you can use to handle different tasks. This shows that Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that businesses can use for their operations. You do not have to spend a lot of money buying a software application for a task that can be handled well with Excel.