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  • Lowell

Easy Excel with Templates

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

My thanks to my friends at the McGrath Computer Learning Center in Aiken, SC for allowing me to use and edit their article.

You’ve heard of Excel, haven’t you?

Oh! Yeah, that’s that spreadsheet thingy where you have to be a math genius to figure out what it does and how to use it. And unless you are steering your spaceship to Jupiter, it’s too complicated for regular people.

Well, not quite. If you got a “C” or better in freshman high-school math or if you can balance your checkbook, there’s probably a lot of Excel spreadsheet applications available that you can use at home.

Let’s look. The first thing that comes to mind is numbers, and that leads us quickly to finances. Do you know that many financial programs, bank account managers, ATM management programs and such are built on Excel or Excel-like skeletons? Much of the old favorite MS Money was based on Excel and with a few simple ideas and a few keystrokes you can make your own money programs.

And if you go to Microsoft will introduce you to free templates and programs for calculating the financial impact of mortgages, auto loans, and college loans. These templates already have the math work done for you and all you need to do is plug in the variable numbers, like the loan period, the amount borrowed and the interest rate. The program will tell you the real final cost of the loan, the monthly payment, and much other information. Try one on.

There's also a section about midway down the page that allows you to select templates for the various Microsoft programs - Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Visio.

In any Microsoft app, when you create a new document, you can access templates and tutorials as well. There's also a Search box to help you find what you need.

One caution about templates. They're pre-built for convenience, but this can cause problems if you want to tweak the design. I have enough trouble trying to decipher what and why I did what I did on that workbook I created two months ago, and I know how I think and design. It is often quite difficult to follow what someone else has done if they do not fully document the project. Still, templates can save you time and maybe teach you a thing or two about Excel. Give them a shot.


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