Microsoft Office will soon celebrate a jubilee with the legendary office suite becoming 30 years old. For any other SaaS, becoming 30 years old would be a sign of trouble. After all – in the fast-changing world of business software, who would want to use software that’s more than three decades old?
The truth, though, is not as simple as that. Office has set the trends for all office applications that came after it. The newest version, Office 365, has gone through endless iterations and upgrades, and it’s hardly the same software nowadays that it was 30 years ago.
These endless updates are just some of the reasons why keeping up to date with Microsoft Office is no easy task. For example, did you know that Office 2019 added:
- SVG graphics to MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Microsoft Translator to MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Tons of new functions to MS Excel such as TEXTJOIN, CONCAT, IFS
- Animations to MS PowerPoint with the “Morph” feature
And, what if I told you that in Microsoft Office 95, there was a “Hall of Tortured Souls” built into the software? Have a look:
Feeling motivated to explore all the hidden features of Microsoft Office yet?
Well, you should be because MS Office still continues to offer an unparalleled amount of features to its customers. After 30 years of experience and frequent updates, the fine-tuned Microsoft Office has become suited both to the needs of massive corporations and one-person enterprises.
Microsoft Office is the office suite software of choice for more than one million companies worldwide. Taking an online Microsoft Office course is a great way to create more efficient workflows, land a higher-paying job, and to improve your overall digital literacy.
But, what is the best way to learn Microsoft Office skills as a beginner?
Yep, you guessed it – online courses!
These are the best Microsoft Office courses you can take online.
Best Overall: Ultimate Microsoft Office; Excel, Word, PowerPoint & Access (Udemy)
The first course on our list is Udemy’s “Ultimate Microsoft Office; Excel, Word, PowerPoint & Access“. This course offers you 68+ hours of training materials broken down into hundreds of lectures, complete with numerous extracurricular materials and a certificate of completion you don’t need to pay extra for.
The course is taught by one of Udemy’s most well-known teachers, Simon Sez IT. They are a prominent group of software instructors with a large presence in the internet world, including a popular YouTube channel and numerous excellent online courses. They have received excellent reviews all around, and they know how to teach others in an engaging way that makes the content stick with them after the course is completed.
So, what exactly does the course cover?
In a nutshell, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Teams, and Outlook. It covers basically every usage case you could ever think of, and when you combine that with the intuitive categorization of lessons, you have essentially a one-stop shop for learning how to achieve anything in Microsoft Office.
Each program has its own lecture, so it doesn’t matter if you want to focus just on Excel or just on Outlook. You can jump around between the lessons at will and continue to learn about one topic in-depth without being forced into a multi-faceted and lengthy lesson on something you might never use.
That’s why this course shines above the rest: it covers everything you’ll ever need, but it doesn’t force you to spend hours and hours studying something that won’t pertain to you. And, that’s why we ranked it as the very best online Microsoft office class available on the internet.
Best for Beginners: Getting Started with Microsoft 365 (LinkedIn Learning)
“Getting Started with Microsoft 365” is a series of excellent MS Office courses on LinkedIn Learning. First off, it’s worth highlighting that these courses all have a star-studded lineup of instructors. The lectures here are the perfect learning tool for those trying to develop a strong and varied MS Office skill set. And, the lectures are easy to follow as this series includes in-depth courses for all the Office 365 tools separately. No mixing and mingling here – you’ll learn all the MS Office tools, one by one.
The syllabus starts off with an introduction into Office 365 by David Rivers. Then, the students are led into in-depth classes on Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Finally, the series finished off with online classes on Microsoft’s OneNote, Planner, Teams, and SharePoint. All these classes give students an excellent overview of all the main features of the Office 365 tool set. Most of the lectures are around one hour long, making them ideal for finishing in one sitting.
As you can see, this Microsoft Office course series covers it all. With 17 hours of content, it’s not the quickest crash course out there, but it’s the best at covering all the bases one might need in their professional life. As all the courses are separated according to specific software (Word, PowerPoint, …) it’s very comfy to split the 17 hours of content into one-hour chunks. All in all, if you’re looking to build a strong set of skills in Microsoft Office, this is a fantastic course you can take.
Widest Range of Software: Microsoft Office Suite (GoSkills)
As far as professional online tutorials on Microsoft Office go, “Microsoft Office Suite” bundle of courses from Goskills is as good as it gets. Whether you are new to the Office software trio or a seasoned white-collar warrior, you will reap major professional benefits from this masterclass. So, what makes this course stand out among its many competitors? Glad you asked.
In this MS Office class, everything is meticulously thought out. The instructors are passionate yet knowledgeable. The production quality of the videos is excellent. And, the syllabus itself is currently the best on the subject. Another big bonus is that this course is suitable for most skill levels.
Say, you are looking to become the Buddha of Excel. Or have your Microsoft Outlook as organized as the Library of Congress. Whatever your goals may be, this GoSkills course will get you there. And, as a cherry on top, you will also gain a Microsoft Office training certification upon completion of the course. Add the certification on your resume and see first-hand how valued Microsoft Office skills are among the modern workforce.
And, finally, the course also covers Microsoft Access, Microsoft Publisher, and Microsoft Project. These software are commonly less covered (or not covered at all) in online Office 365 classes. Here, they get as much attention as the legendary “software trio” of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
So, in short, if I was to pick a “desert island Microsoft Office course”, this would be it. For beginners, it’s definitely one of my favorite Microsoft Office online classes.
Best for Intermediate: Level Up Your Microsoft Office Skills (Pluralsight)
We continue with “Level Up Your Microsoft Office Skills” from Pluralsight. It is an extensive, all-round course that is suitable for all skill levels. In essence, it is quite similar to the GoSkills course that we selected for the widest range of software covered. However, there are some key differences.
For instance, the course is structured differently. GoSkills course had different classes organized by software. For example, you had two concrete classes for Excel. A beginner’s class and an advanced class. In the Pluralsight course, you will find several highly specialized Office classes mixed with beginner-friendly video lectures. So, there’s a little for everyone. Just be sure to have your learning goals formulated. Otherwise, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the selection of 23 courses.
For total beginners, I would highlight the courses by Vlad Catrinescu. Software tutorials are commonly thought of as being boring and dry. Catrinescu, however, has managed to keep his tutorials engaging, simple, and supremely effective.
In summary, students of all levels should consider taking this in-depth Office class. The beginner-friendly courses by Vlad Catrinescu are a great introduction to Microsoft Office. Intermediate and advanced level learners, however, will benefit from the many highly specialized courses found in this bundle by Pluralsight.
Best for Excel: Excel Skills for Business Specialization (Coursera x Macquarie University)
When it comes to modern office environments, Microsoft Excel is an invaluable tool. Yet, when it comes to Excel, so many users only touch the tip of the iceberg, the very basic features of this legendary software. I already hear some readers saying that they do not need anything except the very basics. Sure, most people think this way. And, this is precisely why mastering Excel will get you ahead of the curve.
We have previously put together an article listing the best online Excel courses. And the “Excel Skills for Business” Specialization from Coursera and Macquarie University came out on top as the best overall choice. Why? Simply because the course has a track record of training completely spreadsheet-illiterate people into go-to Excel magicians of the office. Yes, the course is that engaging and comprehensive. I would also highlight the practical aspect of the course. To be in line with the demands of the digital age, all the materials are professionally researched. That is, the skills you learn will provide tangible benefits in almost all modern business environments.
As a side note, though. Be prepared for envious looks as you confront your boss and show him how to start streamlining those tedious data tasks. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to ask for a raise. Your newly acquired Excel recognized certificate will surely make you worth it.
All in all, this is the best online Microsoft Office course for training Excel specifically. Keep in mind that you will not learn Word, PowerPoint, or other software from MS Office from this course, though.
Best for Fundamentals: Microsoft Office Fundamentals: Outlook, Word, and Excel (edX x Microsoft)
For a beginner-friendly, yet highly practical Microsoft Office course, look no further. The “Microsoft Office Fundamentals” course from edX is presented by two Senior Content Developers of Microsoft. Doug Thomas and Robert Deupree Jr. know Microsoft and its clients in-depth. So, it is hard to find instructors more qualified for Office training.
The duration of the course is 6 weeks. This is a very practical course, and if you are willing to devote 4-6 hours each week, you will easily move to an intermediate level. When it comes to the syllabus itself, the course is focused on the legendary software trio of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
In the Word tutorial, you will learn to edit and create Word documents. At a glance, Word seems deceptively simple. And, in a way, it is. However, you would be surprised to see how much more efficient your work will become after learning a few key tips and tricks.
In the Excel course, attendees will be taught how to create and perform basic data calculations. I cannot stress how useful mastering basic Excel skills are. Whether you are a housewife putting together a gardening budget, or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Excel is a must.
In the Outlook tutorial, you will learn to manage your e-mail and calendar. Again, this sounds easy in theory. But, trust me, having professional Outlook training is essential. You know that feeling of dread when you check your messy inbox first thing on a Monday morning. Well, time to say goodbye to that feeling once and for all.
So, if you are a beginner looking to get a grasp on Microsoft Office, this is a solid course. Note that as of 2022, the course has ended, so you are only able to audit the course content (for free) and it is not possible to receive a certificate.
Best Short Course: Microsoft Office Essential Skills (Udemy)
For work environments, the “Microsoft Office Essential Skills” course from Udemy is one of the best Microsoft Office courses available. It is a highly practical course with a clear end goal. A goal of making students feel confident about using Microsoft Office at their workplace. While this is not an advanced course by no means, it still packs a mighty punch. And, trust me, even by getting the main features of Office right, you will stand out in the pack. I know people who have used Office for 10 years, yet get sweaty when I start talking about outlining data in Excel.
To summarize, this 3.5-hour course should be mandatory to everyone using Microsoft Office in a professional environment. The class is engaging, beginner-friendly, and full of practical exercises. For those of you still daunted by the difficulty of Microsoft Office, this course will be eye-opening.
Best Crash Course: Microsoft Office: First Steps (LinkedIn Learning)
The “Microsoft Office: First Steps” crash course by LinkedIn is listed as an intermediate-level course. However, this is a bit misleading. In my opinion, total beginners will benefit the most from taking this Office class.
The instructor, Nick Brazzi, is a former Apple educator. Currently, Brazzi serves as a LinkedIn staff author on productivity. As dedicated E-learners already know, courses presented by productivity coaches are usually of high quality. Why? Because productivity coaches prioritize efficiency.
So, what will students be looking to gain from this 25-min Office course?
This online class is an expert-led overview of Microsoft Office. Nothing more, nothing less. It is an introductory course that does not dwell on formulas, pivot tables, data queries, and the like. Instead, attendees will get acquainted with the very basics of the software. Students start by determining the version of Office they use. After this, the class will be tutored on the interface and the most common tools of Microsoft Office.
To sum it up, for in-depth Microsoft Office learning, you should choose another course from our list. That is not to say that the course is of little worth. On the contrary, for total beginners to Microsoft Office, the materials are nearly invaluable. And, as they say, you can’t build a great building on a weak foundation.
Best for Older Versions: The Ultimate Microsoft Office 2016 Training Bundle (Udemy)
When it comes to experience, Simon Sez IT is in a league of its own. Let’s take a quick look at the key number. Over 10 years of experience in online teaching, 430000+ Udemy students, client base from over 180 countries. What do these groundbreaking numbers tell us?
For one, Simon Sez IT has mastered teaching software online. They know how to make their lessons accessible, engaging, and fun. It is no wonder, then, that they have a client base ranging from small one-man businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
As the course title “Ultimate Microsoft Office 2016 Training Bundle” suggests, this is another bundle course. And, it is a big one. The learn-at-your-own-pace syllabus contains 8 courses and takes a total of 61.5 hours to complete. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but don’t try to take it all in at once. E-student does not want you to go into cardiac arrest.
So, what about the syllabus? The focus is clearly on Excel, as there are four Excel courses included in the bundle. Classes for beginners, intermediate-levels, advanced-levels, and a class for essential VBA training.
You will also find a beginner-friendly and practical Access 2016 class included in the bundle. Access classes are always worth highlighting, as they are commonly overlooked when teaching Microsoft Office. It shouldn’t be, however. Microsoft Access is still one of the leading information management tools available.
To summarize, there are several great aspects to this course. Such as the inclusion of Access tutorials, and a strong focus on Excel.
However, on a more critical note, the balance of practical and theoretical teaching is a bit off at times. Some instructors value teaching theory, while some put a very strong focus on practical exercises. This makes for a somewhat inconsistent learning experience.