Interview Questions For Advanced MS Excel

by Bhavya Sri, on May 23, 2017 5:21:41 PM

Interview Questions For Advanced MS Excel


Q1. What is Microsoft Excel?

Ans: Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet software in the Microsoft Office suite, used for data entry, calculations, visualization through charts, PivotTables, and advanced data analysis. Its functions, formulas, and collaborative features make it essential for various industries, enabling efficient handling and presentation of data.

Q2. What is Microsoft Excel used for?

Ans: Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet software used for data management, analysis, calculations, and visualization. It helps users organize data, create charts, perform mathematical functions, and generate reports.

Q3. What is a cell in Excel?

Ans: A cell is the basic unit of a worksheet. It's the intersection of a row and a column and is identified by its unique cell address (e.g., A1, B2). Cells store data, formulas, and can be formatted to display text, numbers, dates, and more.

Q4. How do you enter data into a cell?

Ans: To enter data into a cell, you can simply click on the cell and start typing. Press Enter to confirm the entry, or press Tab to move to the next cell to the right.

Q5. What is a formula in Excel?

Ans: A formula is an equation that performs calculations on values in cells. It typically starts with an equal sign (=) and can involve arithmetic operators (+, -, *, /), functions, cell references, and constants.

Q6. What is the difference between relative and absolute cell references?

Ans: In relative referencing, cell references adjust when copied or moved. Absolute references remain fixed, while mixed references (e.g., $A$1 or A$1) fix either the column or row.

Q7. How do you freeze panes in Excel?

Ans: To freeze panes, select a cell below the row or to the right of the column you want to freeze. Then, go to the "View" tab, click "Freeze Panes," and choose an option, like freezing the top row or left column.

Q8. What is conditional formatting?

Ans: Conditional formatting allows you to visually highlight cells based on specified criteria. For example, you can highlight cells greater than a certain value with a specific color.

Q9. How can you remove duplicates in Excel?

Ans: To remove duplicates, select the data range, go to the "Data" tab, click "Remove Duplicates," select the columns to check for duplicates, and confirm the removal.

Q10. Explain VLOOKUP and how to use it.

Ans: VLOOKUP is a function used to search for a value in the first column of a range and return a corresponding value from a specified column. Its syntax is =VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup]).


Q11. What is a pivot table and how do you create one?

Ans: A pivot table is a tool for summarizing and analyzing large datasets. To create one, select your data, go to the "Insert" tab, click "PivotTable," choose the location, and then drag and drop fields to rows, columns, and values.

Q12. What is INDEX-MATCH, and why is it preferred over VLOOKUP?

Ans: INDEX-MATCH is a combination of functions that offers more flexibility than VLOOKUP. It allows you to search for values in any column and doesn't rely on position. It's also more efficient for large datasets.

Q13. How can you protect a worksheet or workbook?

Ans: To protect a worksheet or workbook, go to the "Review" tab, click "Protect Sheet" or "Protect Workbook," set a password, and choose the specific restrictions you want to apply.

Q14. Explain the concept of data validation.

Ans: Data validation restricts the type of data that can be entered into a cell. You can set criteria like whole numbers, dates within a range, or entries from a predefined list.

Q15. What are array formulas? Provide an example.

Ans: Array formulas perform calculations on multiple values simultaneously. For instance, {=SUM(A1:A10 * B1:B10)} calculates the sum of products for corresponding cells in two ranges.

Q16. How can you create a dynamic chart using named ranges?

Ans: Create named ranges for your data using the "Formulas" tab, "Name Manager." Then, use these names as data sources in your chart series to make the chart automatically update when you add more data.

Q17. Explain the concept of circular references.

Ans: A circular reference occurs when a formula refers to the cell it's in, or when multiple formulas create a loop of interdependent calculations. Excel alerts you about circular references, and they should be avoided.

Q18. How can you use the INDIRECT function?

Ans: The INDIRECT function allows you to create cell references using text strings. This can be handy when referencing cells dynamically, like referring to the value in cell A1 with =INDIRECT("A1").

Q19. What is Power Query (Get & Transform)?

Ans: Power Query is a data transformation tool in Excel that lets you connect to various data sources, reshape and clean the data, and load it into your workbook. It's especially useful for handling large and complex datasets.

Q20. Explain the purpose of the "Watch Window."

Ans: The Watch Window allows you to monitor specific cells' values and formulas while working in different parts of your workbook. It's helpful for tracking changes and debugging formulas.

Q21. How can you use Excel's Solver add-in?

Ans: Excel's Solver add-in is used to solve optimization and constraint problems. You set variables, constraints, and an objective to maximize or minimize, and Solver finds the best solution by adjusting variables.

Q22. Explain the purpose of the IFERROR function and provide an example.

Ans: The IFERROR function is used to handle errors in formulas. For instance, =IFERROR(A1/B1, "Divide by zero") will display "Divide by zero" if an error occurs when dividing A1 by B1.

Q23. What is the difference between CONCATENATE and TEXTJOIN functions?

Ans: CONCATENATE combines text from multiple cells or strings. TEXTJOIN does the same but offers more flexibility by allowing you to specify a delimiter and ignore empty cells.

Q24. How can you create a drop-down list in Excel?

Ans: To create a drop-down list, use the "Data Validation" feature. Select a cell, go to the "Data" tab, click "Data Validation," choose "List," and provide the source range or values.

Q25. Explain the purpose of the NETWORKDAYS and WORKDAY functions.

Ans: NETWORKDAYS calculates the number of working days between two dates, excluding weekends and specified holidays. WORKDAY calculates a future or past date by a given number of working days.

Q26. What is a macro in Excel, and how do you create one?

Ans: A macro is a recorded sequence of actions that can be replayed to automate tasks. You can create one using the "Developer" tab, where you can record, edit, and run macros.

Q27. Explain the concept of data tables in Excel.

Ans: Data tables allow you to perform what-if analysis by substituting multiple values into a formula. A one-variable data table varies a single input, while a two-variable data table varies two inputs.

Q28. How can you transpose data in Excel?

Ans: To transpose data, select the data range, copy it, right-click where you want to paste, choose "Paste Special," select "Transpose," and click "OK."

Q29. What is the purpose of the SUBTOTAL function?

Ans: The SUBTOTAL function performs calculations on a range of data, ignoring other SUBTOTAL functions within that range. It's often used with filtered data.

Q30. How can you create a dynamic named range using OFFSET or INDEX-MATCH?

Ans: To create a dynamic named range using OFFSET, you might use =OFFSET($A$1,0,0,COUNTA($A:$A),1) for a column of data. For INDEX-MATCH, you can name the range using a combination of INDEX and MATCH functions.

Q31. Explain the concept of Excel tables and their benefits.

Ans: Excel tables are structured data ranges that automatically expand when new data is added. They offer benefits like automatic formatting, filtering, and dynamic references.

Q32. What are array functions, and how can you use them?

Ans: Array functions perform operations on arrays of data, returning a single result. For instance, {=SUM(A1:A10*B1:B10)} calculates the sum of products for corresponding cells in two ranges.

Q33. How can you create a custom Excel function using VBA (User-Defined Function)?

Ans: You can create a custom function by writing VBA code in the Visual Basic for Applications editor. The function can then be used like any built-in function.

Q34. Explain the purpose of the GETPIVOTDATA function.

Ans: GETPIVOTDATA retrieves data from a pivot table using specific criteria. It's useful for extracting values from a pivot table for further calculations.

Q35. How do you enable iterative calculations in Excel, and why might you use them?

Ans: To enable iterative calculations, go to "File" > "Options" > "Formulas," and check the "Enable iterative calculation" box. This is useful for solving circular reference problems or for iterative calculations.

Q36. What is the Excel Data Model, and how does it differ from a regular worksheet?

Ans: The Excel Data Model is a feature that enhances PivotTables and PivotCharts by allowing you to work with larger datasets, create relationships between tables, and use DAX formulas for advanced calculations.

Q37. How can you create a timeline slicer in PivotTables?

Ans: To create a timeline slicer, click anywhere inside the PivotTable, go to the "Analyze" tab, click "Insert Timeline," choose the date field you want to use, and set the desired date range.

Q38. Explain the concept of cell auditing tools in Excel.

Ans: Cell auditing tools like Trace Precedents, Trace Dependents, and Evaluate Formula help you understand how formulas are connected, locate errors, and step through complex formulas.

Q39. What are the limitations of Excel in handling large datasets?

Ans: Excel has limitations in terms of the number of rows and columns (1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns in Excel 2019). Large datasets may also lead to slower performance and increased memory usage.

Q40. How can you use Excel to connect to external data sources such as databases?

Ans: You can connect to external data sources using the "Data" tab. Choose the source type (e.g., SQL database), provide connection details, and import data or create connections for refreshing.

Q41. Explain the purpose of the Consolidate feature in Excel.

Ans: The Consolidate feature lets you combine data from multiple ranges or worksheets into a single summary. You can consolidate by position or category, and choose functions like SUM, AVERAGE, etc.

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