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What level of proficiency do you consider to be intermediate excel skills

Here's a question that can be very entertaining and educational for all. Excel, every white and many blue collar workers needs to know how to use the product to successfully integrate into today's business world. "How to use" is obviously very subjective, so if we can define intermediate, it goes without saying that skillsets that bring you to that point are in the basic arena, and sets above it are in advanced. I have always found that as much as I think I know about Excel, what I don't know is even greater. Every assignment tests some aspect of the "don't know" syndrome and I then need to learn how to do it. So in my book, it's hard to pin-point a skill set other than really really basic skills (create, save, open, close, print and basic math functions). So, what do you think is an intermediate skill set?


Richard Baikie
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Super King Markets
(Director of Finance, Super King Markets) |

I agree with you that the more I know, the more I see I don't know. I consider myself an intermediate/high intermediate user. I tend to use a lot of functions such as vlookup and sumif,. I also would recognize the ability to build, recreate, link, and combine worksheets. Also, not that size is always a true indicator of skill, I am constantly building and maintain workbooks of 20+ tab in order to manipulate and analyze data.
On a scale of 1-10, I usually rate myself a 7 (and sometimes lower depending what issues that have recently humbled me!).
What I have always found interesting is what ratings I get when I interview job candidates. I have had candidates tell me they are 9 or 10, but when asked specific questions, they turn out to be a 4 or 5, at best.

Jeremy Freelove CPA
Title: Supervising Accountant
Company: LACSD
(Supervising Accountant, LACSD) |

Here is a non-exhaustive list of skills that I would consider in the intermediate range:
Proper usage of IF, VLOOKUP, LEN, LEFT, RIGHT, MID, DATE, TEXT functions
Full command of filters
Usage of simple conditional formats (usually to highlight error checks)
Chart creation and ability to manipulate axis as desired
A basic understanding of Excel's data model (values vs presentation, dates are represented by numbers)

Here are some skills that tend to put a user in the "advanced" range:
Chaining together various functions to create a complex formula
Usage of more complicated functions (SUMPRODUCT, INDEX/MATCH, array formulas)
Pivot tables
Creation/editing of macros beyond just the recorder
Proper usage of named ranges (and named range definitions that include formulas)
Strong ability to identify and troubleshoot error values (including usage of formula auditing to hunt down the root cause)

As Wayne mentioned, there are so many features of Excel and most people don't need to use all of them for any single job or assignment. So there are many skills that might be considered intermediate or even basic that someone who is otherwise advanced may have never used.

(Tax/Business Consultant) |

It depends on the type of work!

Generally, the person should know the "basics" of how to use a spreadsheet.

Knowing functions like IF, VLOOKUP, LEN, LEFT, RIGHT, MID, DATE, TEXT, etc... is more towards the Intermediate to Advance areas.

I'm more in accounting/taxes and don't even use those "fancy" functions!

What I "need" someone to do is how to create a decent looking report and how to link them together. Now THAT is the issue as everyone has their own idea of what information to use!

At least know the basics... formatting, editing, linking cells, highlight, SUM, etc...

The most important thing... learn how to LABEL stuff!
It's so sad and pathetic I have to ask for the most basic stuff because NO One I work with can actually do simple tasks like Label where the information comes from and what it means! That includes my management types not just the staffers!

I'm Not asking for any complex spreadsheets so do Not give me any fancy spreadsheet file that has more than 5 tabs with information that's all over the place. NO spreadsheet file should contain Fluff!

Too many times, people just throw in whatever information they have into a spreadsheet and create a massively, overcomplicated file with 20+ tabs with information all over the place and ASS-U-MEs that others can read the messy file!

Stick with the basics!
Then add on when needed.

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