When we think of a career in analytics, we think if big data, SAS, SPSS, R etc. These are the illustrious stars in the galaxy of analytics. Does our mind consider the omnipresent excel in the same category? If you are like the 80% population in the analytics fraternity, the answer is ‘no way’. How very boring!!

Let us take a look at this new phenomenon called excel 2010. It has expanded its reach in the spread sheet category and each worksheet can hold 1,048,576 rows of data and 16,384 columns of data.

There are 403 functions and we can now have 255 arguments in a function and nest 64 levels of functions per formula. So complex customised calculations become easy. Add in the Analysis toolpak and we have a set of 19 wizard driven statistical processes to use – from Descriptive stats to Anova to Regression ….

And then the power pivot free download is a great add in. This increases the BI capabilities of excel multi folds and allows for merging data from various sources and manipulating the data .It uses DAX – Data Analysis Expressions – which is a language that enables more complex grouping and calculations and thus, better analysis . (You can read more about this and download it from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff452206.aspx)

On the data visualisation front , the new features of Sparklines – which are graphs in a cell and give a very quick and ready reading of trends – is a very user  and analysis friendly addition . Since these can be used along with pivot tables, the utility is immense.

Sounds good? Yes, and feels very good too. Try it out to get a closer look to this old and free application that we have taken for granted.

With an extensive online help and many forums dedicated to it, Excel 2010 has finally ‘arrived!’ SAS, SPSS  , R etc . – beware of the new giant!!!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Interested in learning about other Analytics and Big Data tools and techniques? Click on our course links and explore more.
Jigsaw’s Data Science with SAS Course – click here.
Jigsaw’s Data Science with R Course – click here.
Jigsaw’s Big Data Course – click here.
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