No matter how proficient a person is in using Excel, there will be times when you need to get help. Excel has a huge help file, it offers help on each and every aspect of Excel. While this is needed, the size of the help file can often seem overwhelming or make it very hard to find help on the topic you want. Most people often snub their nose at using that annoying paper clip (Clippit). Don't become one of them as this help is always on hand and once you learn more it becomes easier to get straight to where you want to go.
There are other methods to get help, such as typing a question for help in the Type a question for help box at the top right hand side of your screen (this is for newer versions). Or you could use the option Help>Microsoft Excel Help to bring up a Task Pane (from 2002 onwards) with options to help you such as a Search facility to search the Microsoft Database on-line or a Table of Contents.
Once you get into the habit of using this help system in your preferred way, you will be able to find exactly what it is you want every time with minimal effort.
While Excel is without doubt the number 1 spreadsheet package in the World today it can do a lot more than just crunch numbers it's can easily manipulate text just as well. Most users of Excel unfortunately never come to realise anywhere near its full potential. Even though Excel can be found in nearly every office worldwide most are using it for no more than a big notepad with a few basic formulas in it.
Always keep in mind the three vital aspects of Excel, the Workbook, Worksheet and the Cell. Once you are in Excel, the cell becomes the very backbone of all that you do. Always keep in mind that there are many more rows than there are columns and set up all spreadsheets accordingly.
When starting a spreadsheet take the time to think it through and plan, if you get the foundations correct everything else will flow on. Adhere as much as possible to the 6 rules, it may mean a bit of short-term pain, but believe me this will be outweighed by the long-term gain.
Use range names where possible and define constant values. This may seem a bit more time consuming initially, but it will make life a lot easier further down the road.
Familiarise yourself with how Excel interprets dates and times. While not every spreadsheet uses them, most do. Excel itself recognises the fact a lot of spreadsheets will involve dates and times and so has numerous date and time functions available to the user. All of these functions rely on the serial numbers of dates and the decimal fractions of times and quite often the combination of the two.
Last but by no means least, use the help often so you will understand the way in which it works. Once you have found the answer to a problem that is complex, make use of the Annotate feature and you will thank yourself later.