Calculating with Excel


Are your spreadsheets inefficient or poorly designed? Do they require considerable maintenance? Are they difficult to understand? Do you need to manipulate list data? If any answer is ‘Yes’ then this day school could help you!

Excel is Microsoft’s powerful, figure-based spreadsheet. It performs simple-to-sophisticated calculations by means of user-created formulae. To assist formula creation Excel contains many built-in functions which are pre-programmed to perform specific calculations. Knowledge of these functions, and of different ways of addressing cell contents, will enhance the design, efficiency, and understanding of spreadsheet formulae. A well-designed spreadsheet requires minimum maintenance.

In addition to calculations, Excel’s row-and-column format lends itself to creating and storing lists of data. Excel contains many features, such as charts and pivot tables, for analysing and manipulating list data.

The day introduces some Excel functions and features for designing efficient, user-friendly spreadsheets which require minimum maintenance. It also gives a very brief introduction to charts and pivots.

Participants must be familiar with Excel basics, i.e.: creating and editing spreadsheets; entering different types of data (text / numbers / dates / formulae); writing simple formulae (add / subtract / multiply / divide).

Programme details


9.45am: Registration

10.00am: Teaching Session 1

11.15am: Coffee/tea

11.45am: Teaching Session 2

1.00pm: Lunch

2.00pm: Teaching Session 3

3.15pm: Tea/coffee

3.45pm: Teaching Session 4

5.00pm: Course disperses


The day will introduce a few of Excel’s built-in functions and data features, and the considerations necessary for creating an effective and efficient spreadsheet. Efficiency of design and analysis will be considered throughout. Below is a list of some of the topics which we will aim to cover.

  • Built-in functions:  SUM (for adding blocks of data); IF (for testing  values and performing selective calculations); VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP (for testing values and selecting responses from a two-dimensional grid).
  • Cell references: Relative and absolute cell references - what they are and when to use.
  • List data features: Sorting; Filtering.
  • List data analysis: An introduction to creating and manipulating charts and a very brief introduction to creating and manipulating Pivot tables.
  • Miscellaneous: Copying formulae; Working with more than one sheet.

Teaching/learning methods

The course will be a mix of approximately 50% formal group teaching and approximately 50% individual practical work. Students are encouraged to actively participate and question at all stages. Students are also encouraged to regard the practical periods as an opportunity for one-to-one individual tuition from the course tutor.


Description Costs
Tuition Fee (includes Tea/Coffee) £100.00
Baguette £5.50
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Ms Judith A Harley


Judith Harley, MA, is a physics graduate and freelance computer consultant who advises on, and designs, commercial and private database, spreadsheet, and Visual Basic applications. She has taught computing courses at Oxford University for over 20 years.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then plesae contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.