Top 30 Microsoft Excel Interview Questions

Interviews are challenging. Job interviews that require any sort of tracking data or simple calculations are even trickier, as this would require a knack of MS-Excel.

Excel usage has been increasing in the industry; individuals manage their data in Excel to analyze the business trend.  And, it could be nerve-wracking for both the interviewer and the interviewee to face such questions. To prepare you for those frequently asked questions, here we present a library of 30 questions and answers picked from real interviews.

All the best!


Please treat this as a refresher before you prepare yourself for the interview, as this is only a guide to crack interviews


Q1. What is Microsoft Excel?

Answer: Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program, created by multiple highly skilled engineers from Microsoft. It enables users to organize, format, and calculate data with formulas using a spreadsheet system broken up by rows and column.

We also use this tool for storing, organizing and manipulating the data. In addition, it also offers programming that supports VBA, and we can use external database to make dynamic reports, analysis etc. Smart use of this program saves a lot of time and helps in creating our own applications too.
Q2. What is the easiest solution to reduce the file size?

Answer: Below are the steps to reduce the file size:

  • Find the last cell that contains data in the sheet. Delete all rows and columns after this cell
  • To delete the rows, press the key Shift+Space then press Ctrl+Shift+Down on your keyboard
  • Rows will get selected till the last row. Press Ctrl+- on the keyboard to delete the blank rows
  • To delete the column, Press the key Ctrl+Space then press Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow key on your keyboard
  • Columns will get selected till the last row
  • Press Ctrl+- on the keyboard to delete the blank columns


Q3. How many rows and columns are there in Microsoft Excel 2003 and later versions?

Answer: Refer to the table below for the number of rows, columns and cells for Microsoft Excel 2003 & later version:-

Excel Versions Rows Columns Total Cells
MS Excel 2003 65536 256 16777216
MS Excel 2007 1048576 16384 17179869184
MS Excel 2010 1048576 16384 17179869184
MS Excel 2013 1048576 16384 17179869184


Q4. What is Syntax of Vlookup?


Answer: Vlookup Syntax: =VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,[range_lookup])


image 14


Q5. What is the shortcut to put the filter on data in Microsoft Excel 2013?

Answer: Ctrl+Shift+L is the shortcut key to put the filter in data.

You can find more shortcuts on the below links:

250 Excel Keyboard Shortcuts 

The Best Shortcut Keys


Q6. How many report formats are available in Excel and what are their names?

Answer: In Excel, we have three formats available:

  • Compact
  • Report
  • Tabular


Q7. What is the difference between function and formula in MS-Excel?

Answer:  Formula:- It’s a statement which is written by the user (user-created) to be calculated. A formula can contain values, cell references, defined names, and functions.


image 4


Functions:- Functions are in-built codes provided in MS-Excel, such as IF, COUNT, SUM, AVERAGE and so on. And, if additional functions are required we can create through VBA. This will carry out an operation of some kind and provide an output value. Functions are used inside formulas.


image 5


Q8. What is Chart in MS-Excel? Why is it important to you an appropriate chart?

Answer: Chart is a medium to present the data in graphical visualization, and it is the most important insight of the data. To present the data with perfect visualization and appropriate information, we should always pre-decide on the information to be presented.

As appropriate charts lead to right decision, its necessary to use relevant charts. Refer to the below process chart for appropriate charts:



Q9.  What is a Dashboard and what are the important things we should keep in mind while creating a dashboard?

Answer: Dashboard is a technique used to present important information through graphical representation. It is helpful in presenting huge data in a single computer screen so it can be monitored with a glance.

There are few things which should be taken care of, while preparing the dashboards:

1)    Minimum distraction

2)    Simple, easy to communicate

3)    Important data

4)    Few Colors

5)    Relevant graphs

6)    Dashboard should be on single computer screen


Q10. How can you format a cell? What are the options?

Answer:  We can format a cell by using the “Format Cells” option and there are 6 options:-

1) Number

2) Alignment

3) Font

4) Border

5) Fill

6) Protection


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Users are saying about us...

  1. I never thought this content is available for free, I just followed my newsletter from my email and this content is very good, fantastic. thanks guys.

    • Hello Balaji,

      Thank you for taking the time and appreciating our efforts.

      Keep learning with us. 🙂

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      • Maribel Urquidez

        I like to learn how to add colors in a formula in excel. For example I want to color all the training completed in Green and all the training not completed in Red. What will be the formula for that

        Thank you I will greatly appreciated your help

  2. "adjust the text within a cell" is too vague to be a sensible question. The given "answer" only deals with one of the possible meanings.

    • Hi Kickaha,

      We found these questions are very commonly asked questions during the interview. If you have alternate ways of doing it, we would request you to please share it with us. 🙂

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      • I agree, the question is too vague. One can easily respond what functions and formula to use to concatenate or trim text in cells.

        • Hi Ciprian,

          Thank you for your valuable feedback. As the guide comprises of the most commonly asked questions in the MS Excel interview, we’ve included the same to maintain the credibility of this guide. We’ve targeted the interviews that include even a bit of MsExcel, which clearly explains the necessity of such questions even.

          Once again we’d like to thank you for your continuous efforts to improve us.

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    • Hello,

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    • Hello Ron,

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  3. I considered that I was a moderate user of excel, but by reading your post, I analysed that I was a basic user!

    So much needs to be learned.

    Some of these things, I took a lot of time to learn, but anyone who gets to know your website or this article particularly, would learn it in few days.

    Great post.

    • Hello Techieey,

      That's the beauty of the learning. We think that we are masters in something but when we face new things in our life, we are just a basic learner. 🙂

      Keep learning and visiting us. 🙂

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      "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
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    • I think it's all a matter of how they word the questions. I consider myself a power user but I would do very poorly if the questions were phrased in this manner. Don't be intimidated. I'm sure you have precisely the skill level you initially perceived.

      Prior to obtaining my current position I had to take an Excel exam. It was a computer based test and you had to perform various different tasks. I aced it but the exam expected you to do everything the long way. Again, it's like poorly framed questions. I use every short cut available to me and it was cumbersome to do it step by step.

      Overall, I'd say when interviewing someone for a position that requires Excel skills, one should ask more specific questions. If you know Excel you will quickly discern whether the candidate really knows what they're talking about.

      • Hi Sasspants,

        Thank you for your valuable feedback. You’ve been one of our loyal users and never missed a chance to complement or improve us. Like you’ve already mentioned, “it’s all a matter of how you word the questions”, the idea behind this guide is the same. With the basic knowledge on the above questions, it’ll enable the user to answer such questions, irrespective of the manner in which they are asked.

        However, with due weightage to your feedback and constant efforts, we’ll strive hard to make it more comprehensive.

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  4. my answer to Q2 "What is Ribbon in MS-Excel" ?
    Ribbon is a counterproductive and unintuitive arrangement of command buttons and a waste of desktop space.

    • Which can be minimised should that be so desired.
      Which now that I've done that I need to work out to make visible again. Sorted

        • Hi Dim,

          Thank you for your feedback. However, kindly specify the question to which you are referring and we’d be happy to look into the same. Or you can also send us the detailed query or suggestion on us in case of any suggestion at

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    • Hi Dim,

      Thanks for taking the time and giving your point on one of the the listed questions. 🙂

      Keep visiting us.

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  5. This article helped me a great deal in my interview. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for all of the excel information that you have provided on your website in these 30 questions. Please continue to add content as it's the best excel website on the internet.It's Very clear, uncluttered, non-offensive to the eye! Well laid out with just the essentials! 😀

    • Hello Ranu,

      We are glad to know that this article helped you during your interview. 🙂

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    • Hi Hien,

      Thank you for taking your valuable time in reading this article.

      Yes, you can proceed please. We welcome if you have any alternative / suggestion for us. 🙂

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  6. You guys are amazing with this content. It is amazing that you are sharing your knowledge for free. One can only thank you for this... keep up the good work.

    Best Regards

  7. Thank you for this nice resource, but I have a bit of an issue with the "answers" to Q7 about the difference between Formulas and Functions, most specifically about "A function cannot be typed as its built into the software." This answer is categorically wrong. The sample you give =SUM(A2:A4) certainly could be typed into the formula bar and into the cell if a user wanted to. Grant you, it is easier to use the AutoSum, or the formula tips, but to say "cannot be typed" is incorrect. Also, even if it were correct, the word "its" is a contraction of IT IS, so the appropriate word would be "it's." I also take a little bit of an issue with the answer "A function is a piece of code designed to calculate specific values and are used inside formulas" since a function could more properly be considered a sub-set of a formula. In other words, all functions are formulas, but not all formulas are functions.. To say "A function... are used inside formulas" implies that there must be a way of placing, say, SUM(A2:A4) into the formula A2+A3+A4, which of course is misleading, but if in the definition you define a function as a SUBSET of a formula, it would make more sense. Similarly, I take issue with the answer "Formula cannot be nested." While I understand what is meant by the statement, it is technically not true. For instance the following: =(((A2+A3+A4)/1+1+1)*3), is a perfectly legal formula, and a formula nested within a formula, nested within another formula. How then can an answer say "Formula cannot be nested?"

    Q9: Could be done a different way: in the "Create PivotTable" dialog box, one could check-mark "Add this data to the Data Model," then go to the DATA ribbon tab and set-up relationships, if all sets of data in the local file were TABLES and not RANGES of data.

    Finally, I noticed a few article words (a, an, the) are missing from some questions, and possible answers: eg. "What is Ribbon in MS-Excel?" and "What is Chart in MS-Excel?" Shouldn't it ask: "What is *the* Ribbon in MS-Excel?" and "What is *a* Chart in MS-Excel?"? Just a few observations FYI. But once again, a nice resource.

    • Hi Kevin R Araki,

      First of all, we would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for being our loyal user. And, also thank you for your constant efforts in our improvement.

      This detailed feedback is very helpful and we are working on the same to make it more comprehensive for our users.

      Once again thank you for taking time and appreciating us.

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  8. A useful article for anyone seeking a role requiring excel. I have used Excel Forum for several years now and describe it to others as excellent and essential.

    Please could I expand on Q2. Whilst efficient sheet discipline will shrink the file size somewhat and is good practice, there is an amazingly simple way of dramatically getting the size down whilst leaving everything in tact (macros, vba projects/classes and data connections). Save the workbook as.xlsb (a binary file). In so doing, you save the book in its native format but without the 'shell' which allows other excel formats to work on various other apps and platforms. Reducing 20mb to 7mb, making it a feasible email attachment, is a very credible outcome. Using options, xlsb can be set as the default save format. Be aware that it will no longer be possible to determine if a file contains code.

    I use xlsb by default. I regularly draw from several data sources including servers, websites and other workbooks all for one workbook model with heavy VBA and SQL to create the dynamic dashboards modules included within that model. I will admit that it is scary at first but after you come to trust the format, you will never again use xlsx and xlsm unless you need to.

  9. Perfect! Knowledge sharing..It is really wonderful. Most interesting thing is even though you are using regularly most of them you may not be remember. It won;t come come out in right time. This type of knowledge sharing and discussion will help a lot to learn.

  10. Thanks for the excellent list of questions. As a teacher, I appreciate your willingness to share this information. I know how much time it take to create a comprehensive list like this so I wanted you to know that my students and I value your contribution to our Excel lessons.

    Big shout-out from Chicago!

  11. As a trainer, this article will be quite helpful for me to prepare my students for the job Interview. You guys are so amazing and I do not miss your even one article as it helps me to teach something new everyday to my students.

    Though few questions are very basic but are tricky to answers. I remember during one interview, the interviewee asked me to name the 10 functions which I daily use at work but I couldn't name it all 10 however I used to use more than 20 functions daily. 🙂

    Thanks once again team for your hard work to bring such a wonderful list for all of us.


  12. Here's one for screening VBA developers: what are the keyboard shortcuts for displaying a list of macros (Alt-F8) and for entering the VBIDE (Alt-F11)?

  13. I appreciate the tips, but some of the questions are interesting. I suppose they're geared to determine how much you know and don't know, but asking for syntax of a formula? Those are things that I don't necessarily remember but can easily look up.

  14. Hi,

    During a Interview, Interviewer asked a question to me that "Can you do that like If I press a first word of your name so automatic you full name come in cell without create list???

    I said! No....
    Am I right.....................

  15. HOW TO LINK MULTIPLE EXCEL SHEET LIKE SHEET 1, SHEET2, SHEET 3 AND etc... to obtain the ranks from overall comparative data analysis by linking all excel sheets. pls suggest me how to slove the problem.

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