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Best Excel Functions For Data Analysis in 2024

by | Sep 1, 2022

We’ll be sharing some of the best Excel functions for data analysis that you need to learn. Learn how to use Excel with these beginner-friendly functions and pick up some basic but in-demand Excel skills.

How is Excel used for data analysis?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software that uses formulas and data functions to organise numbers and raw data. Microsoft Excel is an essential building block for data analytics as most businesses store their data digitally. Data analysis tools are then applied to the data sets to visualise and extract insights that inform business decisions.

Data Analysts often use this Excel data to create Tableau data stories, simplifying the data for the audience through visualisation. SQL is also used when working with large quantities of data from multiple databases for more complex data analysis.

Why Learn Excel?

Many employers view Microsoft Excel as a valuable skill, regardless of industry or job function. Picking up Excel can boost your employability while also improving efficiency by automating repetitive manual work tasks. The software is also user-friendly, even for beginners starting to learn how to use Excel.

Basic Excel formulas for data analysis

Using Excel formulas may be intimidating at first, but understanding how to learn basic excel formulas lets you better organise and analyse data sets.

These are some of the best Excel functions for data analysis and how to apply them.

Pivot tables

Pivot tables are a built-in function of Excel used to organise large data sets into a customisable table for further analysis. Using pivot tables allows data analysts to identify trends in the data and narrow in on specific variables for comparison.

To create a pivot table, import your raw data into Excel with the appropriate data labels as headings in each column. Then, select the data set and create a pivot table from the ‘Insert’ tab under the ‘Tables’ function. Next, you will see the Pivot Table Fields, which control how the data is displayed in the table. Finally, Drag and drop the data labels for the rows and columns and you want the data to be displayed. For example, the values in the pivot table may be the sum of the data, average values or the count of data points.

In a business context, analysts can use pivot tables to analyse sales data to extract key information. This may include statistics like average spending, peak sales periods and comparison between different regions or product categories.


Another basic Excel function is VLOOKUP. This tool serves as a search function to look up a stated value from a specified range. For example, salespeople can use VLOOKUP to find a product’s price by looking up its name or number entered in the database.

The VLOOKUP formula is as follows.

VLOOKUP (lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])

The lookup_value can be seen as the “search bar”. Enter the value to be looked up in this space. The table array is the data set in which the lookup_value is searched. The col_index_num is the column from which the result is extracted. Lastly, the range is an optional condition to specify if the VLOOKUP should return either approximate or exact matches.

How to learn Excel at home?

Vertical Institute’s Data Analytics Bootcamp teaches you the fundamentals of Excel and how to use it for data analysis. With one of the best Excel training courses in Singapore, you can learn excel within 21 hours across seven weeks.

Singapore is the largest data hub in Southeast Asia, with the country’s data analytics industry projected to reach $42 billion in 2024. Given the high growth and demand for these skills, you may want to learn what data analytics is all about. With this short online course, earn a data analytics certification and make a career switch to the high-demand data analytics industry.

About Vertical Institute

Vertical Institute prepares individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. We specialise in teaching in-demand skills, building the next generation of changemakers and inventors through our world-class tech courses and certifications.

Singaporeans and PRs can receive up to 70% IBF Funding off their course fees with Vertical Institute. The remaining fees can be claimable with SkillsFuture Credits or NTUC UTAP Funding.