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40+ Top Excel Interview Questions and Answers in 2022

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Excel Interview Questions

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Is Excel on the list of your dream developer job qualifications? Chances are, you’ll need to be prepared for basic, intermediate, and advanced Excel interview questions. We’ve created a complete list of common Excel questions and answers, designed to prepare you for your next job interview.

Excel Interview Questions: What to Know About Excel for an Interview

According to recruiters, over 82% of careers require Excel in some capacity. Excel is an exceptionally common and important skill. Functionally, most people only know a little about Excel. Distinguishing yourself as an advanced, power user is a great way to give yourself an edge on the competition.

Your interviewer will likely prepare a list of Excel test questions and answers, asking you an assortment of questions to determine your skill level. Occasionally, an interviewer will forego verbal Microsoft Excel interview questions and will instead give you a technical interview.

Excel technical interview questions include questions while presenting you with an Excel simulation. Then, you’ll have to answer the questions solving problems in real-time.

Let’s get started with basic, intermediate, and advanced excel test questions and answers for interviews!

Basic Excel Interview Questions

These basic interview questions on Excel cover the absolute basics. Anyone who has worked with Microsoft Excel in any capacity should be able to answer these questions. Conversely, if you can’t answer these questions, an interviewer may believe you’ve never worked in Excel.

1. What is a cell?

cell

A cell is the basic unit of a worksheet, in which you enter data. Each cell has an address, denoted by a column letter and row number. For example, the address of the cell in the image below is B5.

2. What is the difference between a range and a cell?

A range is a group of cells adjacent to each other. A cell is part of a range if it is adjacent to at least one other cell in the range. You can select a range of cells either moving vertically (across a column) or moving horizontally (across a row).

3. What is the difference between a column and a row?

difference between a column and a row

A column is a vertical grouping of cells in a worksheet. A row is a horizontal grouping of cells in a worksheet.

4. How do you enter and format text in a cell?

To enter text into a cell, simply type it directly in the cell. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Enter to enter text into a cell. To format the cell, you can use the ribbon bar.

5. What can a cell contain?

A cell can contain any type of text, number, or formula that calculates a solution. A cell can even contain a URL. A cell cannot contain images. While you can paste images into Excel, they won’t be held in a specific cell.

6. How do you format numbers in a cell?

To format numbers in a cell, select the cell number and then use the formatting options available on the ribbon. You can change the format, decimal places, and thousands separators. For example, some countries stylize $1,000 as “$1,000,” while others use “$1.000.”

7. What is an Excel formula?

Excel formula

A formula is an equation that calculates a result based on the values of other cells in a worksheet. Formulas always start with an equals sign (=).

8. How do you enter a formula into a cell?

To enter a formula into a cell, type it in the cell as a value. Every formula will start with the equals sign (=). You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Enter to enter a formula into a cell.

9. How do you edit a formula?

To edit a formula, double-click on the cell that contains the formula. This opens up the Formula Editor where you can make changes to the formula. Note that as you edit a formula, suggestions will pop up. The auto-suggest feature can be very useful for remembering the parameters of a formula.

10. What is a function?

A function is a predefined equation that calculates a result based on given values. For example, the SUM function calculates a given sum of values. You can use a function in a formula by typing it in along with its parameters.

11. How do you use a function in a formula?

To use a function in a formula, simply type the function name into the Formula Editor and then provide the required values. For example, the SUM function requires that you specify the range of cells that you want to add up.

12. How do you change the page formatting or margins in a worksheet?

Page Layout

To change the margins or page options in a worksheet, go to the Page Layout section of the ribbon.

In older versions of Excel, you may instead need to go to select File > Page Setup. This will open up the Page Setup dialog box where you can adjust the margins for your worksheet.

Similar to Microsoft Word, header and footer text in Excel are displayed at the top and bottom of each page in a worksheet. You can customize these headers and footers to include the date, time, sheet name, and more.

14. What is a worksheet?

A worksheet is a document that contains data and information. A worksheet is divided into rows and columns, used to organize and group data. Each Microsoft Excel worksheet is a separate file.

Intermediate Excel Interview Questions and Answers

If you’ll use Microsoft Excel for the position’s daily job functions, you should be able to answer intermediate questions on Microsoft Excel. These interview questions will cover things you should know if you’ve had one or two years of experience in Excel.

15. What are the major competitors of Excel?

Google Sheets, Zoho Sheet, and LibreOffice are all common spreadsheet applications. For analytics purposes, PowerBI and databases such as MySQL will crunch larger volumes of more complex data.

16. What are the benefits of Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is easy to use, universal, and portable. Since Microsoft Excel is so frequently used throughout business applications, you can import and export it into many utilities. Most people have some passing familiarity with Microsoft Excel, which makes it imminently shareable. Microsoft Excel is available as both a desktop solution and an online solution — and it provides every feature a spreadsheet user could require.

17. What are the downsides of Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a proprietary, paid solution, so not everyone uses it. Some prefer to use free solutions like Google Sheets. Microsoft Excel is primarily used as a spreadsheet to collect data and perform minor analysis functions. It might not be the right solution for complex database tasks.

SUM is likely the most popular Microsoft Excel function; it adds up all given values. Another common Microsoft Excel function is AVERAGE, which will add up all given values and then give you an average number.

19. How do you sort data in Excel?

sort data in Excel

Once data has been entered into Excel, it can be automatically sorted and filtered. Go to the Data -> Sort and Filter function to sort data up or down on any column.

20. What is the order of operations in Excel?

Excel follows PEMDAS: parentheticals, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and then subtraction. If you type in “=1+2/4” the answer will be 2 rather than ¾.

21. What is VLOOKUP?

The Excel VLOOKUP function is a popular function that’s designed to find data within exceptionally large spreadsheets and data sets. VLOOKUP can be used to find data that is identical to or similar to a given string and to locate data associated with it. VLOOKUP is often seen as a “database-like” function although Excel is not a database.

22. What charts are available in Excel?

Excel has many types of charts. Included in Microsoft Excel are column charts, pie charts, line charts, area charts, scatter charts, bubble charts, surface charts, and donut charts. Of these, column charts, pie charts, and line charts are the most popular.

23. What are comments and how do you use them?

On a cell, you can right-click and add a comment. Comments are useful for conveying information to other people viewing an Excel sheet without directly editing the data.

24. Why would you “freeze panes” in Microsoft Excel?

Freezing a pane means that a section of the sheet will never move, even if you’re scrolling through other data. It is frequently used to create a static element (such as an index) on a page.

25. What does it mean to “hide” a sheet?

When you “hide” a sheet, it’s no longer visible in your sheet navigation. The sheet is still there and can still be revealed and manipulated unless you take further action to protect the workbook. Hiding a sheet can be useful for “archiving” old information, although the information will still be present in the file.

26. How do you protect a workbook in Excel?

protect a workbook in Excel

What if you don’t want anyone to read a workbook? You can protect workbooks with a password. The “Protect Workbook” tool provides numerous options: read-only, password encryption, sheet and workbook protection, and digital signatures.

27. What does “merge” do in Excel?

Merge combines multiple cells into a single cell, a useful function for formatting. You can combine all the cells in a row, for instance, to create a “title.”

Advanced Excel Interview Questions and Answers for Excel Experts

Most Microsoft Excel users won’t need to know these advanced interview questions. These interview questions are for power users — people who use Excel extensively or for operations that really push the boundaries of what Excel is capable of.

28. What is a pivot table in Excel and how would you use one?

A pivot table is used to perform a deeper analysis of data by creating a view to reorganize, average, count, or otherwise analyze data that are held within a table.

29. What is a macro in Excel and how would you use one?

A macro is a hard-coded sequence of events, such as opening a spreadsheet and entering specific text into the header. Macros can be used to save time and can be very powerful when in the hands of the right programmer.

30. What is a what-if analysis in Excel?

what-if analysis in Excel

Excel’s what-if analysis uses your spreadsheet data to conduct data-driven simulations. Under the what-if analysis, you can select certain cells that will change—to give you different reporting metrics.

31. Where can you import data from into Excel?

import data from into Excel

Excel can import data directly from SQL Server Database, Microsoft Access Database, Analysis Services, and SQL Server Analysis Services. Excel can also bring in Google Sheets files, CSV files, and several other popular formats.

32. What is a surface chart in Excel?

A surface chart is a unique 3D topological map that can be used with data that provides the correct coordinates.

33. What is a bubble chart in Excel?

A bubble chart is a special type of scatter chart. However, while a scatter chart tracks two variables (X and Y) a bubble chart tracks a third variable. This third variable is represented by the size of the scatter chart dot. A bubble chart has larger bubbles for larger numbers.

34. What is a donut chart in Excel?

A donut chart comprises concentric rings. Like most Excel charts, donut charts can provide a powerful visualization depending on the data that’s being presented.

35. What is VBA code and how is it used?

VBA code is a type of Visual Basic that’s used to create macros in Excel. As an example, the following VBA would open a workbook:

Workbooks.open(“test.XLSX”)

VBA is a powerful scripting language and one of the most advanced uses of Microsoft Excel. You can edit VBA code directly through the Excel sheet or create standalone code snippets that will then be run by the program.

36. What is XLM?

Today, Microsoft Excel sheets use VBA. But in the past, they used XLM; a language that was designed specifically for Excel. If you’re working with older Excel sheets, you may be called upon to code in XLM.

37. How can you import data from another workbook?

Microsoft Excel makes it fairly easy to import data from another workbook. You can create an external reference between workbooks by typing the source workbook name and the sheet you are pulling

data from: =[SourceWorkbook.xlsx]Sheet1!$A$1

However, if the file is moved, the sheet is renamed, or the data is shifted, the data that is pulled will be incorrect.

38. What is a logical test in Excel?

Excel can be used to perform basic logical tests with the IF function. The IF function produces a test scenario and then produces an output based on that scenario. The following code would produce “Yes” if a number was greater than 0 but “No” if a number was equal to or less than 0:

=IF(A1>0,”Yes”,”No”)

39. What is a timeline used for in Excel?

When crunching data, a timeline can separate data based on a given sequence of dates. A powerful form of analysis, a timeline shows how the information changes over time. You can interactively sort dates by year, quarter, month, or day.

40. How can you create a pivot table with multiple data sources?

You can create a pivot table using multiple data sources with the Pivot Data Modeling function. Data can be pulled dynamically into the pivot table for a broader analysis.

41. How can you debug code in VBA?

The most basic method of debugging code in VBA is to press the F8 button to go through code execution. Code execution shows you exactly where your code may be failing. You can also use breakpoints (F9).

42. What are the major types of errors you can encounter in Excel?

There are six major types of error: #N/A, #DIV/0, #VALUE, #REF, #NAME, and #NUM. Each of these refers to an element that is either missing or incorrect, except for DIV/0 (which is a division by 0 error). As an example, the “#VALUE” and “#REF” errors refer to a value or a reference that is either the wrong type (such as a text being used as a number) or simply unavailable.

5 Tips for an Excel Interview

What do you need to know about Excel for an interview? It depends on the position. Some positions list “Excel” as a skill when they really just need you to be able to make a worksheet. Other positions need you to dig deeper into macros and merging.

Either way, you can prepare:

  1. Know the basics. Before you go to the interview, refresh yourself on the basic features of Excel. Create a workbook, enter data into a cell, and practice making a sheet.
  2. Consider taking a class. A short Excel class or tutorial may only take one or two hours and can teach you vital information for multiple interviews. Microsoft Excel does change with every new release; so, even if you know a lot about Excel, a course can help.
  3. Think about real-world situations. When interviewers ask you questions, think about a situation you might be in where you’d need to manipulate this data in real-life. This can help if you’re having trouble thinking abstractly.
  4. Remain calm. Because Excel is such a common but complex program, everyone’s experience with Excel can be vastly different. As long as you’re relatively competent in the program, you can learn.
  5. Practice simulations. Many interviews today include a technical exam, which will require you to manipulate data in a simulated Excel window. Practicing these simulations in advance can help.

Don’t be afraid to clarify or say that you don’t know something. Excel skills are very trainable; your interviewer is likely trying to ascertain your skill level rather than discount your experience.

Conclusion

You’re heading to an interview. Get excited! But if you plan to use Excel in the future, it may be time to brush up on Excel interview questions. Taking a course in Excel (or even attending a boot camp) can help prepare you for interviews in the future.

In addition to Excel, consider looking into other powerful data analytics tools such as PowerBI and Tableau. By expanding your skill set further, you can open up new opportunities.

Want To Master Excel? Check These Courses Out! 

Udemy Recommended Excel Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do You Test Excel Skills in an Interview?

Sometimes interviewers will ask basic, intermediate, or advanced questions. Other times, interviewers will ask you to make a spreadsheet and perform certain functions.

2. What Should You Expect in an Excel Interview?

If the position is Excel-centered, then you may have a technical interview (simulations) as well as a variety of questions to determine your experience level with Excel. If the position merely includes Excel, you may face three to four questions about Excel and how you’ve used it in the past.

3. What Should I Say in an Excel Interview?

Talk about a time when you used Excel to solve a specific problem. Discuss the features you used, what worked, and what didn’t work.

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Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye has been a full stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, and The Gamer. View all posts by the Author

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