Microsoft Excel is supposed to make your life easier; but if you find using it brings you nothing but frustration, it may be time to find a good book that can teach you the ropes of using Excel. We're here to help with that.
We have compiled a list of the ten best Excel books that can help you use Excel with ease and to its full potential.
Microsoft Excel Books FAQs
1. What Is Microsoft Excel?
Microsoft Excel is a digital spreadsheet software program used to organize, store, format, calculate, and manipulate data. Excel is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and is compatible with other Office applications.
2. Who Needs Microsoft Excel Books?
Almost anybody can benefit from Excel books: from total beginners to experts. Excel is such an efficient way to organize and track data that those who have never used it could surely benefit from learning how.
Even people who have used Excel for years are probably not using it to its full potential and could benefit from Excel books aimed at users with Excel experience who are looking to learn about more advanced concepts.
3. What Should I Look for in an Excel Book?
What to look for is largely subjective. First you want to make sure that the book you choose matches your skill level. If you have never used Excel before, don't choose a book that is teaching you how to integrate Excel with Microsoft Power BI.
If you are a visual learner, you will want a book with a lot of pictures, charts, and/or graphs. Conceptual learners may benefit more from a book that leans heavily on examples.
An important feature of any book, no matter your skill level or learning style, is well organized and structured information.
4. Where Can I Buy the Best Excel Books?
You can find the best Excel books in most bookstores such as Barnes & Noble or B.A.M.. Amazon.com is a great resource for buying new, used, and digital books. Every Excel book featured on our list is available on Amazon.com.
How We Reviewed
We evaluated the Excel books on our list by considering the organization of the information provided, the expertise of the authors, how clearly the information was conveyed, and by the amount of information covered.
We wanted to present a diverse list of the best Excel books so that newbies and experts alike could find what they are looking for.
What We Reviewed
Excel 2019 Bible (1st Edition, by Michael Alexander)
First on our list of the best Excel books is The Excel 2019 Bible. This 1120-page reference book is written by Michael Alexander, a Microsoft MVP and the author of several advanced business analysis books.
This book is for all types of Excel users; total beginners or novices using Excel for business or at home will find this book to be a valuable resource.
Also, this book is a great introduction to the new features and tools of Excel 2019 and will teach readers to incorporate new templates, use and apply formulas, create pivot tables, analyze data, create functional spreadsheets, and much more.
Gain a comprehensive overview by reading the Excel 2019 Bible cover to cover or finding the chapter or chapters that give you the specific information you are looking for. This book is available in paperback and digital format.
Excel Formulas & Functions for Dummies (5th edition, by Ken Bluttman)
This 400-page book from Ken Blutton is one of the best Excel books from the popular “For Dummies” line. Best for beginner to intermediate Excel users, this book focuses on the formulas and functions aspect of Excel.
Get the most out of Excel by learning how to properly utilize formulas and gain access to step-by-step instructions on Excel's 150 most-used functions.
Examples of specialized functions help you learn the material and understand how to apply it when using Excel. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Excel 2019 All-in-One for Dummies
(1st edition, by Greg Harvey)
Yet another one of the best Excel books in the “For Dummies” line, this book has condensed 8 of the “For Dummies” Excel books into 815 pages, including Excel Basics, Worksheet Design, Formulas and Functions, Worksheet Collaboration and Review, Charts and Graphics, Data Management, Data Analysis, and Macros and VBA.
This book is for beginner to intermediate Excel users. Beginners can learn about importing data, building and working with worksheets, creating formulas and pivot tables.
Advanced Excel users can learn about worksheet sharing and auditing, error trapping, macros, charting data, and integrating Excel with Microsoft Power BI. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Slaying Excel Dragons: A Beginners Guide to Conquering Excel's Frustrations and Making Excel Fun (by Mike Excelisfun Girvin)
This is one of the best Excel books for total beginners—those who view Excel as an opponent to be conquered and then become friends with it.
In 532 pages, authors Mike Girvin and Bill Jelen will teach you all the basics; learn about rows, columns, cells, subtotaling, sorting, pivot tables, and more.
Over 1,100 screenshots will come as a relief to visual learners. It should be noted that this book came out in 2011 and is therefore a little outdated.
It still contains a ton of useful information for the total beginner, but anyone hoping to learn about new features of the latest version of Excel won't find them here. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Excel Dashboards and Reports
(2nd edition, by Michael Alexander)
This is one of the best Excel books for people who already have experience with Excel and want more specific instructions on using Excel dashboards and creating Excel reports.
It should be noted that, in regards to Excel dashboards, this book is more of an introduction to the concept and may not go deep enough for more experienced Excel users.
It should also be noted that this book came out in 2013, so it will not have the most up-to-date information; but readers will still find a lot of useful information here. This 432-page book from Michael Alexander is only available in paperback.
Excel Macros For Dummies
(2nd edition, by Michael Alexander)
This is the second book by Michael Alexander on our list of the best Excel books and another one from the “For Dummies” line. As you may have guessed from the titles, this book will teach you everything you need to know about Excel Macros in its 312-pages.
Published in 2017, you can expect the information to be fairly up to date. This book will demonstrate the time-saving power of Excel macros and will introduce you to over 70 of the most-used customizable Excel macros.
Like most books in the “For Dummies” line, the information is well organized, making it easy to find what you are looking for, and an icon system provides visual cues for important information. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools for Excel Analysts (1st edition, by Michael Alexander
Here we will see Michael Alexander's work again—this guy must know what he's talking about! Mr. Alexander has teamed up with Jared Decker, Bernard Wehbe, and John Walkenbach to bring this book aimed at business analysts and managers who need to learn more about Microsoft Business Intelligence Tools.
This will help analysts learn skills such as database management, query design, data integration, and multidimensional reporting, among other things.
This book provides information on using BI tools such as Power Pivot, Power Query, and Power View. It should be noted that this book will be most useful for those dealing with big data tables. This 384-page book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Building Financial Models with Microsoft Excel: A Guide for Business Professionals (by K. Scott Proctor)
The next entry on our list of the best Excel books comes from K. Scott Proctor, is part of the Wiley Financial Series, and is a good option for business professionals who want a refresher on financial models or students who are learning this material for the first time. Visual learners will love the fact that this book includes many picture examples.
While this book was published in 2009 and will not have the most up-to-date information, it will still be very useful for those looking for information on how to build financial models within Excel. This book is available in paperback, hardcover, and digital formats.
Excel: QuickStart Guide - From Beginner to Expert (by William Fischer)
This book is a brief 100-page guide from William Fischer and is advertised as a good option for newbies or veterans. This book will covers basic Excel information to get you started, including functions, formulas, shortcuts, and macros.
While the title says this book can take you from beginner to expert, nobody is becoming an Excel expert in a mere 100 pages.
This will not be the best Excel book for visual learners, as there are no pictures to accompany the text. This book is available in paperback and digital formats.
At the time of this writing, this book is available on Kindle unlimited, which means Amazon Prime members can see this book for free.
Power Pivot and Power BI: The Excel User's Guide (2nd edition, by Rob Collie)
Last on our list of the best Excel books is this 308-page guide from Rob Collie and Avi Singh. Full of color images, this book is less likely than others to have your eyes glazing over and will be great for visual learners.
This book is for those looking to learn more about Microsoft Power BI, including Power Pivot and Power Query.
Learn the difference between calculated columns and measures, how to reuse formulas across reports of different shapes, how to use Power Query to enhance your Power Pivot models, how to write Dax in Power Pivot, and so much more.
This book passes on information in a conversational tone that is easy to follow. Owners of this book swear by it, and will tell you they pick it up over and over again. This book is available in paperback and digital format.
If we were to name one of these books as the overall best Excel book, it would have to be Excel 2019 All-in-One For Dummies. This book is really eight "For Dummies" books all wrapped into one.
It is great for those new to Excel as well as those looking for more specialized materials. As with most books from this line, the information is very well organized and structured well.
We also like the use of the icon system, which provides a visual cue for you to pay extra attention to important notes and concepts. The affordable price of this book is just the icing on the cake.
That concludes our list of the ten best Excel books. We hope we have been helpful in your search for a quality Excel reference material and wish you the best of luck in all your future Excel endeavors!
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