Microsoft Excel is a crucial tool for anyone operating in modern business.
But there are risks.
For one thing, it can be intimidating for beginners.
Furthermore, Excel errors can have devastating consequences, such as the one that undermined one of the most famous economics papers of all time.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are a few basic skills and shortcuts that can really save you a bunch of time.
It takes years to become an Excel expert, but if you’re trying to justify putting it on your resume you should at least know these 12 shortcuts.
Ctrl + Shift + $ makes the number format into currency, with commas at the thousands and two decimal places
VLOOKUP is one of the more powerful functions in excel. It's the kind of function that you'll never hear of until you desperately need it, at which point it will save you hours.
Let's say we fill out a row of formulas, and want to fill it in all the way down. We can just double click on the square in the bottom right corner of the highlighted section...
Finally, the LINEST() function is also very useful. Here, we're going to run a linear regression to see if there's a relationship between the Fed's monetary base (in billions) and the price of gold.
The output of this function is an array. So, select a two by five section. Type in =LINEST. First select your x-values.
This tells Excel that you want it treated as an array function. Here's what the output of the 2 by 5 array looks like. The reasonably high r-Squared shows that there is a potential correlation between the two. The slope tells us that generally, for every $1 the price of gold grows, there's $1.7 billion in a growth in the monetary base.
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