# Discussion on: The 10 most important things to teach your Excel users

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###### Absolute vs. Relative
Shanta 23rd Nov 2011
When I clicked on the link I was hoping to see "Absolute vs. Relative" Thank you for not only putting it on the list, but putting it at the top. Just taught a student the other day about it in our first lesson. Not enough trainers teach this to their students.
1 Vote
Contributr
###### Taken for granted
ssharkins@... 24th Nov 2011
Even casual users take this for granted -- they don't even think about using it. You can use it without even really understanding it, but that gets you into trouble. It's probably the most important thing for a newbie to learn.
1 Vote
###### Subtotals
Suresh Mukhi Updated - 24th Nov 2011
I have actually seen users manually put SUM functions in the middle of lists for subtotals. They are overjoyed when I tell them about the Data, Subtotals command.
1 Vote
Contributr
###### Features abound
ssharkins@... 25th Nov 2011
It's one of Excel's strong-suits -- all those wonderful toys!
1 Vote
###### Absolute vs. Relative Referencing
Do you have some links to good teaching sources to cover this? I'd like to be able to offer them to clients that have difficulty grasping the concept. - Great article! Thanks.
1 Vote
Contributr
###### No
ssharkins@... 26th Nov 2011
The truth is, I don't. When I wrote this, I searched for one to link to and just didn't find anything that I thought was succinct and clear. Perhaps I just need to write one myself! If anyone wants to link to a a good tutorial on the subject, please do!
###### Associate the \$ with always
jody.burton@... 1st Dec 2011
The people I have instructed have an easier time understanding it if I tell them to substitute "Always" for the "\$" in their mind. \$A\$23 becomes Always column A and Always row 23.
###### Associate the \$ with always
Suresh Mukhi 2nd Dec 2011
Great suggestion!!
1 Vote
###### Dates, dates and more dates
mikewor 28th Nov 2011
Firstly, the average user does not understand the concept of storing the date as a number and then displaying it in different formats.
Then there is the issue of US style dates (MM/DD/YYYY) vs the rest (DD/MM/YY) and the scientific herd with YYYY/MM/DD.
And finally the massive problem that can be caused by using 2 digit years - does 10/09/11 represent October 9th 2011, 10th September 2011 or 11th September 2010?
###### Dates I agree 100%
open_source_user_01 28th Nov 2011
The correct format is this:

2011/11/28 and/or 2011.11.28

why on this green earth do people continue to use this flawed method of:

11/18/11 and/or 11.18.11

people are suborn and regardless of how many times you ask nicely they will do this just because they are so smart

YYYY/MM/DD is the common-sense and most accurate way of distinguishing what is what.
1 Vote
###### re:The correct format is this:
mchuntley1062@... 28th Nov 2011
It has nothing to do with how smart they are it has everything to do with the way that they were taught. The best practice is to know the audience for whom the output is meant. If you are the only one seeing it then format your date however you want; if it is meant for a manager born and raise in the US then you had better us the formatting that they are used to seeing. The same thing goes for people born and raised outside of the US.
Fireboss 28th Nov 2011
This link is short and fairly easy to understand
http://www.uri.edu/artsci/ecn/ramsay/ecn306/Excelhlp1.htm
###### disappointing
While this article may give useful itemization for someone who knows excel to instruct a newbie, it is disappointing to read since it gives "teasers" (e.g., vague reference to excel limitations) but no examples/guidance on those topics.
Contributr
###### Too much to cover
ssharkins@... 30th Nov 2011
What you're asking for would require an article for each point. Is there something you'd like help with -- I'd be glad to help you.
1 Vote
###### I think the PivotTable..
Matusko Updated - 28th Nov 2011
could be argued to be more important than one of the 10 listed above. Most people who don't use the PivotTable miss out because they don't understand how to build them or do not know what value can be achieved.
###### I still haven't figured it out.
CharlieSpencer_Palmetto 28th Nov 2011
I have a spreadsheet for a fantasy sports league that I'm sure would benefit from a PivotTable, but I haven't figured out just what one does or how to use it. I also feel it's one of the most mis-named features ever. For the first several years of its existence, I thought it 'pivoted' the spreadsheet around the diagonal axis, swapping rows for columns and vice-versa. I've never understood what it 'pivots'.
###### That's it!
Suresh Mukhi 28th Nov 2011
That's exactly what a Pivot Table does, and lots more.
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