If you have Microsoft Office at home, it's fairly likely that you'll be using Word a lot more than you use Excel (unless you do a lot of your work from home, but that's a different story). The majority of us write letters, create pamphlets and do basic desktop publishing at home, so we automatically turn to Word.

Some people never open Excel at home and have a play with it, despite them having paid for the programme as part of the Office suite! Often dismissed as just a spreadsheet programme, you may not realise that there are far more other uses for Excel - at home as well as work.

Have a look at the Excel software training courses we run on a regular basis.

A great example is when you're faced with having to do some kind of calculation. Whether it's your tax return or national insurance contributions, or even checking how much profit you really made at your last fundraising event in your community, you can turn to Excel to make these kinds of calculations quick and easy - what's more is that you can save the template for next year.

Although the worksheet itself in Excel is essential for inputting spreadsheet-like data, you don't have to follow the normal rules of spreadsheets, you can just enter your data (such as profit, loss or funds raised) and create calculations by manipulating the data inserted. You only have to enter the data once and set up the calculations - then you can crunch the data as you please.

Another very useful way of using Excel is for desktop publishing. Yes, not in Word, but in Excel. Think of the way it's laid out - in grids. Have you ever tried to line up text boxes in Word so it looks even and professional? Well, why not use Excel for your invoices, forms and receipts? Even if you don't have these elements of business in your home life, you can still make simple printouts that line up and look professional by using the formatting technology of Excel.

A final use for Excel is a way of displaying trends or charts. You'll probably be familiar with these already, but presenting a chart is much more engaging than showing a group of numbers. Going back to that fundraising example - you can either give people the numbers (not as interesting) or you could hand them a chart showing how, year on year, you've raised more - or divide the money up into what it has been allocated to be spent on.

This makes it clear, concise, interesting and above all, professional. It looks like it takes hours of work to make charts, but it only really takes minutes with the help of Excel. Get the kids using it for their homework and it will no doubt impress their teachers, too!

Of course, that's not to say that you can't use Excel for its original purpose, and that's professional spreadsheets and calculations. You can integrate this into your daily life, depending on what kind of task you have in hand, of course. If you want to use Excel but aren't confident in how to use it for these kinds of examples, then look up a training course - it will pay dividends when you take those transferable skills over to your day job, too.

Above all, don't forget that Excel is often neglected for no good reason - start finding reasons to use it, and you'll wonder why you didn't when you first got it on your computer.