If you read "Fun Things I've Done With Excel", you've seen some examples of how an Excel training course can expand your horizons and give you new ideas for Excel tasks. However, I'm apparently pretty sane by comparison. Consider some examples of what other people have done with Excel, from the normal to the strange.

Smart data entry

One Excel programmer created a spreadsheet for the marketing department. They could copy and paste entries from phone directory websites into the sheet, and a macro would automatically parse the important data from the entry and create prospect lists. These lists could be imported into the company's database without errors that might have been introduced through traditional data entry.

An Excel training course will illustrate many techniques that can reduce errors from data entry. Cells can be restricted to certain ranges or data types, other cells can be locked out so users can't accidentally change them, and macros can automatically process any new data found.

Task tracking

Excel might seem like overkill for a to-do list, but an Excel training course can add a new dimension. Many people use Excel to create a list of quantifiable tasks along with a due date. This allows them to track the percentage of a task that should be complete by a given date so they know how much work needs to be accomplished to stay on track.

What movie should I see?

One self-described "nerdy and obsessive" woman created charts of all movies that she wanted to see, colour coded by the price she was willing to pay for tickets. Her friends could contribute their opinions, and she could create a weighted score to plan their movie nights. An Excel training course can illustrate the database and conditional formatting functions that such a spreadsheet would require.

This is my son, #N/A

An Excel training course can name your child. One couple created a spreadsheet that used objective metrics to find the best name for their son. They rated all their choices by factors from how the name sounded compared to their first son's name, to what his initials would spell. In the end, they ignored the results and went with their gut reaction.

Looking for love

Finally, there is the young man who set up a database of the women he met. By using the filtering and sorting techniques you could learn in an Excel training course, he was able to create a spreadsheet which would objectively tell him which women were worthy of his interest.

And people think romance is dead.

An Excel training course lets you take your spreadsheet to its limits

There are countless other examples, including shopping lists generated from a recipe database, a functioning version of PacMan, solvers for cryptograms and sudoku puzzles, wedding planners, dance choreography, and timing of labour contractions. You probably won't learn any of these in an Excel training course, but you just might find techniques that let you do your own fun things.