Best Excel books
For anyone looking to master the art of financial analysis in MS Excel, these are the most important Excel books to read. In this guide, we’ve compiled the best books and a quick synopsis of the main points they cover. We always recommend additional reading to supplement the Excel training we provide at CFI.
As a first step to learning Excel, we recommend taking our Free Excel Crash Course. This course will walk you through a spreadsheet, step-by-step, so you can perform world-class financial analysis.
Once you’ve mastered that, we recommend our Advanced Excel Formulas Course to take your skills to the next level. This class builds on the basic Excel skills taught in our crash course.
For additional free Excel resources, please see our Excel Toolkit.
List of Best Excel books
#1 Excel 2016 Bible, by John Walkenbach
The Excel 2016 Bible is an extremely comprehensive book that will guide you through creating templates, formulas, pivot tables, data analysis, and more. This book is 1,152 pages long! – so it’s a learn-at-your-own-pace and keep-for-reference guide.
Key lessons in this Excel book include:
- Creating Excel spreadsheets built for function and purpose
- Beginner to advanced formulas
- Formatting from A to Z
- Pivot tables
- Excel 2016’s new features and tools
- Bonus: Downloadable templates
#2 Excel 2016 for Dummies, by Greg Harvey
This book serves as a real hands-on guide to learn how to create and edit worksheets, build formulas, format cells, design charts, construct graphs, data tables, and more. This Excel book also covers more advanced topics like hyperlinks to worksheets, adding worksheet data to a web page, and saving worksheets as web pages.
Key learning in this MS Excel book includes:
- The Cloud: Save spreadsheets in the Cloud to access them from anywhere
- Using Excel 2016 on a desktop, laptop, or tablet
- Analyzing data with PivotTables
#3 Excel: Quick Start Guide from Beginner to Expert, by William Fischer
This book is great for anyone, from a newbie to a veteran. It will teach you how to organize data or information, create diagrams, and tables. The book covers a lot of topics, and you will learn some of the Excel 2016 highlights, including:
- The Basics (navigation, Ribbon, etc)
- Formulas and functions
- MS Excel 2016
- Keyboard shortcuts
- How to build Macros
#4 Power Pivot and Power BI, by Rob Collie and Avichal Singh
In this book, Collie and Singh cover Microsoft Power BI, Power Pivot, and Power Query. You will learn how to produce new kinds of reports and analyses with these free add-ons to Excel. The authors are considered the world’s foremost Power BI bloggers and practitioners. In the book, you will find step-by-step techniques to produce world-class financial analysis.
This book includes lessons on:
- Calculating columns and measures
- Reusing formulas across different reports
- Merging disjointed datasets into one report
- Create time-specific calculations such as “Year over Year” and “Moving Averages”
- Learn about Power Query to make your Power Pivot models more insightful
- Using Power BI Desktop and PowerBI.com
#5 Building Financial Models with Microsoft Excel, by K. Scott Proctor
This is a topic that’s at the heart of what we do at CFI. As leading providers of online financial modeling training, we appreciate the wisdom this Excel book brings to the table. Unlike a lot of other books, this one covers almost all Excel topics, step by step, so that even beginner or intermate Excel users will not be lost.
In addition to this book, we recommend users take our financial modeling and valuation courses to learn by video-based instruction. Books are great, but video-based learning can be even easier for advanced topics such as financial modeling in Excel.
#6 Excel 2016 from Scratch, by Peter Kalmström
This Excel book is actually an e-book. It’s suitable for beginner to advanced users who want to focus on calculations and visualizations. A nice feature of the e-book is that it comes with over 60 articles, complete with video demonstrations and downloadable exercises.
As a comparison, try the CFI online courses covering:
#7 Excel Charts, by John Walkenbach
At CFI, we are passionate about charts and graphs, which is why we like this book. This guide shows you how to master the use of charts to build compelling presentations of information and data. A unique attribute of this book is that it explains how to select the best charts for different situations.
The main highlights of this Excel book include:
- Designing categories of data
- Modifying data in a chart
- Dealing with missing information
- Formatting charts and shapes
An alternative to this book would be our online course on data visualization that teaches Excel users how to build impactful representations of financial data for presentations and dashboards.
More Excel resources
We hope this list of the best Excel books has been helpful! To learn more about Excel, we’ve compiled a database of valuable resources for you, and many of them are completely free. Our most popular Excel resources include: