There are lots of sites that offer Excel exercises that will show you the basics of spreadsheets, but you need to know how to use this in real life. You can select from class after class that will teach you all the functions and formulas you can choose from in Excel, so these exercises focus on real-world applications of those skills.

## Comparison Shopping

The next time you’re shopping for something online, create a spreadsheet to compare different retailers, products, and shipping costs. Beyond listing the product names and cost, break down the price into an amount per unit to create an accurate comparison. For example, you could calculate the cost of a new hard drive at a rate of dollars per terabyte of storage.

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( current mileage – last fill up mileage ) / gallons

This is an easy formula to setup in Excel, but you can also extend this spreadsheet further. To make this project a little more complicated and much more useful, you can also track the type of fuel used, the brand of gas station, and the price per gallon. Using this data, you can calculate your cost per mile traveled. Additionally, you can use logical statements to determine if you get better mileage with premium or regular, and you can calculate your cost per mile traveled with each type of gas. You can also calculate which brand of gas offers the best mileage for your vehicle. Let your imagination run with this exercise and you’re sure to find other data to track for your vehicle.

We all spend time working on a range of projects. Some are performed for pay, some are just a part of daily life, and others receive our attention simply because we enjoy the activity. One great Excel exercise is to create a time clock that will track how much time you spend on different activities. This can be a very simple project or it can be quite complex. After you get your spreadsheet to calculate the time you spend on a project based on the time you clock-in and the time you clock-out, why not add a task code. This way you can differentiate between time you spend cleaning, shopping, or watching TV. Then you can use logical statements to tally your TV watching time as a percentage of the total time spent on all tasks over a given week. You see, this simple exercise can become very difficult as you add layers of complexity. It’s a great way to put lessons from an Excel class, like Microsoft Excel 2010 Beginners/ Intermediate Course, into practice and lock them into memory.

Page Last Updated: July 2013

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