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Excel Fundamentals Academy

Author: Ken Puls

In the Excel Fundamentals Academy, you’ll learn all the core skills for the Excel analyst, beginning with a refresher on Excel formulas and functions (including the powerful VLOOKUP), and then moving into PivotTables, data visualizations, and using Power Query to gather, clean, and transform your data.

  • Excel
  • Excel Formulas
  • Data Modeling
  • Data Visualization
  • Data Preparation

What you'll learn?

  • Excel formulas and functions
  • Structuring data into tables
  • Deep dive into VLOOKUP
  • Introduction to data visualization
  • Understanding and building PivotTables
  • Overview of Power Query
  • Appending and merging data
  • Recipes for transforming data
  • Using conditional logic
  • Practical skills application

Excel Fundamentals Academy

$695Renews at $169 per year
(All prices in USD)
  • 29h of training content
  • 18 modules
  • 3 workshop labs
  • Downloadable files and Handouts
  • Support and Discussion
  • Certificate of Completion

Excel Fundamentals Academy


Course Description

In the Excel Fundamentals Academy, you will begin with a review core skills for the Excel analyst. This section is geared to teach critical skills to less experienced users and review those skills for intermediate users. We’ll start with basic formulas, reviewing absolute and relative referencing, and move into a review of Math, Logic, Text and Date functions. From there, we’ll look at how data SHOULD be structured in Excel for advanced analytics, then dive deep into Excel’s most feared function: VLOOKUP.  (Yes, we are very aware that XLOOKUP exists today, but trust us – if you can master VLOOKUP, you can master ANY Excel formula!) Finally, we will cap the section off by exploring some core data visualization theory, and how to apply them to Charts and conditional formats.

Armed with the skills learned early on in this course, we will be ready to unlock one of Excel’s most powerful tools: the PivotTable. We will look at how to create them, update them, and control the variety of features to show our results the way we need to see them. From grouping to controlling aggregations to slicing and dicing, you’ll acquire the skills to summarize data sets of all sizes in seconds. You’ll also learn how the data flows through a PivotTable, and its impact on security.

After learning how to quickly summarize our data, we then need to turn our focus back to Data’s dirty little secret: that it’s rarely in a good shape that is ready to use. It’s dirty, misshapen, and spread across multiple files. It’s in text files, Excel files, and databases.  It’s pivoted, transposed, and full of irrelevant records. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a built-in tool that allowed you to deal with all of those issues? Wouldn’t it be even more amazing if it recorded the data cleanup steps you wrote so that you could update it with a single click when the data changes? There is. It’s called Power Query. It’s built-in to Excel 2016 and higher and happens to be the focus of the next part of our workshop.

In addition to PivotTables, our boot camp will teach you how to access Power Query, how the tool works and the impact that it will have on your life. You’ll start by exploring how to append (stack) data sets in the same file, then expand this to appending data from multiple files into a single data set for analysis. We’ll cap this day by appending an entire folder full of files all at once… pure magic at work!

Lastly we will continue Power Query skill development. This section will show you 9 different ways to merge tables together, no matter where they come from. We’ll look at reshaping tabular data, pivoting and unpivoting it as needed. We will group data with ease, add conditional logic and even use the built-in toolset to build formulas by simply typing out the result we want, rather than the logic.

Who this course is for?

This training is targeted at users who:

  • Have been working with Excel at a basic level/intermediate level, 
  • Possess basic formula skills, and
  • Have experience with and/or routinely perform manual data cleanup in order to get data ready for analysis.

  • Basic skills with IF() statements, PivotTables and Power Query are assets, but not required.

Not sure if this course is right for you?

Visit our Learning Journey page to compare courses by skill level and area of specialization.

Course Structure

This course is a hybrid format of pre-recorded video training interspersed with live online Q&A and coaching with Ken Puls, for direct help with your questions. The Boot Camp is broken down into two main sections:

Section 1: Course Curriculum

The main course curriculum includes 13 hours of training, delivered in a mixture of pre-recorded video training and hands-on practice over an 8-week semester with a weekly time commitment of approximately 2.5 hours per week.

Section 2: Coached Support

In addition to the main course curriculum, this course also includes access to monthly “Ask Ken Anything” (AKA) sessions. Each of these optional sessions is up to 2 hours in length, conducted live, and you may continue to join the calls even after your original semester has been completed. This is a great way to receive continued coaching on a longer-term basis, as you apply your skills in the real world and run into real world problems.

We understand that sometimes work can get in the way of the ability to attend live sessions. For this reason, questions for the AKA sessions may be submitted in advance, and all of the live calls will be recorded and shared with participants. Thus, you will still be able to learn from the discussions even if you are not able to join Ken live (due to time zone conflicts, other commitments, etc.) or get called away for part of the session. This also allows you to watch the recordings on your own schedule, and to pause, rewind, and practice more with example files.

In addition, since your purchase (or renewal) provides access to the course for an entire year (from the start date of your initial semester), you are able to join any later semester as long as your subscription is active! That’s right – in the case that life knocks you offline, the next semester is open for you to either restart or pick up where you left off.

As with all of our training courses, we also provide access to our curated Skillwave Support Forum as well, allowing you to get answers on a quicker basis should you need more immediate help.

Total Training Hours

The core of this course contains 29 hours of training, based on: 

  • 13h video
  • approximately 5h of practice time with the example files
  • approximately 11h of AKA sessions (based on 11 calls/year and students attending/watching half of the AKA’s)

If registrants attend (or watch the recordings of) all 22 hours of the AKA sessions, this course includes up to 40 hours of training in total.

Get Started the right way with a live Kick-off call

Registration is ongoing with new intakes beginning each month. Upon joining the course, attendees will be invited to join a “Kick-off” calls where Ken will walk through the details on how the program works. These calls are generally hosted on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Pacific Time and 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Pacific Time. Attendees are encouraged to join the call that makes the most sense for their time zone.

Ongoing Support via ‘Ask Ken Anything’ Sessions

With the exception of December, Ken hosts 2 “Ask Ken Anything” sessions per month – generally on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, resulting in approximately 23 AKA calls held each year. Call times alternate between morning and afternoon (Pacific Time), in order to allow students from different time zones the opportunity to join the sessions in person. All AKA calls are recorded, and students are able to submit questions in advance.

Also, you may join any of the AKA sessions for as long as you are subscribed to the course, even those after your initial enrollment semester ends.

Bonus Gifts with this Course

Our handy Power Query Recipes collection

Access to recordings of past 'Ask Ken Anything' sessions for as long as you are subscribed

Access to all future 'Ask Ken Anything' sessions for as long as you are subscribed


Excel Fundamentals Academy

Average Rating

4.4 / 5

(based on 10 reviews)

Stanton Berlinsky
Stanton Berlinsky
May 9, 2023
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This course provided a little bit of everything a new Excel user can use. Basics on navigating Excel, explaining functions such as vlookup and more. Additionally, introduction on Power Query I found most useful. The Benford analysis was very interesting and informative. This was another great course put on by the Skillwave team. For users who are new to Excel and Power Query I certainly recommend it as a starting point.
January 29, 2024
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I felt the course had the right level of detail and I liked the ability to work through some examples. Instructor is very knowledgeable, and I like his style. Clear presentations and provides good usage wisdom with each element taught. Great course.
December 22, 2023
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The first part of the course with generating tables and VLOOKUPs was really helpful. Was able to put some things into practice in my job right away to save me at least 15 minutes per day.
Jeff Becker
Jeff Becker
March 21, 2023
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I loved learning the capabilities of Excel. I had no idea you could do so much. I’m glad I had an opportunity to participate in the course.
Sylvia L.
Sylvia L.
December 30, 2022
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I liked the flexibility of watching the videos on my own time. Content was in easily digestible modules. I truly found this course life changing. I wish I had taken it sooner. The hours I have spent manually transforming data soon will be all gone. I have already started to use it before I even finished the course.
Liz M.
Liz M.
December 30, 2022
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There seemed to be an assumptions that we understood all the basics. Most of us are self taught however, so I would have preferred more in depth practice with all of the basics and build from there, as it would apply to an accounting position.
December 14, 2022
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I liked having the ability to listen to the lesson and then apply newly learned skills to practice spreadsheets provided. I also liked that I was allowed 1 year to complete the course. Ken Puls is a great instructor and incorporates humor to keep you engaged. The last Excel course I took was in the 90's so I was shocked as to how much of Excel I had been under using. Thank you for opening my eyes to new possibilities and ways to improve data management and productivity.
Mel M.
Mel M.
April 14, 2022
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The instructor was easy to listen to - made really great comments - materials/practice sheets were good. Because this was a fundamentals course I thought too much detail on some advanced subjects were discussed.
Arhamul Amin
Arhamul Amin
September 21, 2022
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I liked learning about Power Query and VLOOKUPs. I also I loved the fact that we get to meet every now and then to ask questions not just related to the program but struggles with our own work as well.
Jo W.
Jo W.
August 25, 2022
Read More
The video's and explanations are excellent. Thank you!

Course Update Log


First release of the course.


Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • Added a new recipe to section 20 – Reshaping Data:
    • Pivoting Vertical Sets (Recipe 20.130)
  • Updated existing recipes:
    • Pivoting Stacked Data (Recipe 20.120) – name of the “Integer-Division” column updated to reflect new wording (was formerly “Integer-Divide”)
    • Allocate over x Years from Start Date (Recipe 65.320) – the formula logic for the first period was corrected
    • Random Numbers (Recipe 70.100) – note added that the recipe is now much easier with versions of Power Query released after October 2021


Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • Added a new recipe to section 00 – Best Practice Architectures:
    • Quickly Setting Data Type of All Columns (Recipe 0.550.2203)
  • Added a new recipe to section 70 – Miscellaneous:
    • Choosing Columns vs Removing Columns (Recipe 70.130.2203)
  • Updated existing recipe in section 30 – Combining Data:
    • Cartesian Products (Recipe 30.120.2203)


Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • Added a new recipe to section 20 – Reshaping Data:
    • Shift Non-Aligned Columns Left (Recipe 20.160.2206)


Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • Added a new recipe to section 20 – Reshaping Data:
    • Unfill in Power Query (Recipe 20.170.2209)


Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • Added two new cards:
    • Recipe 35.200 – Append all Tables in the Current Workbook
    • Recipe 60.950 – Convert a Julian Date to a Gregorian Date
  • Updated an existing card:
    • Recipe 60.530 (Fiscal Period Columns for 13 x 4-Week Calendars) – corrected the Fiscal Quarter formula


The original format of weekly 30-minute Q&A calls + monthly ‘Ask Ken Anything’ (AKA) calls replaced with twice-monthly AKA calls that are 2-hours each. This is to better accommodate new semesters kicking off each month instead of each quarter.


Power Query Recipe Updates:

  • The caution note on Recipe 10.100 – Split Records into Columns has been adjusted.
  • The Power Query Academy lesson link on Recipe 10.105 – Split Records into Rows has been updated to go to the revised Splitting Columns lesson.
  • The steps in Recipe 20.150 – Remove Top x (Dynamic) Rows have been completely revised to reflect a better technique for this date transformation.


Power Query Recipes Update:

  • Complete rewrite of Recipe 20.150 – Remove Top x (Dynamic) Rows to make it easier to build and avoid pitfalls related to defining your ‘dynamic value’ correctly. 


Course rebranded from Excel Fundamentals Boot Camp to Excel Fundamentals Academy. No changes were made to the course contents or pricing.


Course Updates:

  • New Semi Join lesson added to the Merging Data module

Power Query Recipes Updates:

  • New recipes added to Section 30 – Combining Data:
    • Left Semi Join – Recipe 30.117
    • Right Semi Join – Recipe 30.118
  • Recipe 30.100 updated to 9 Ways to Join Your Data

Course Formats

On Demand
This is an on-demand course, delivered via pre-recorded video modules that you can consume at your own pace. It includes all required sample files and practice sets.
This course includes live online coaching with our trainer, where you can ask your questions directly. During these sessions, our expert trainer will help you with any challenges you encountered while working through the on-demand portions of the course.

Course Content

Expand All
Module Content
0% Complete 0/1 Steps

About the author

Ken Puls

Ken Puls

Microsoft MVP, FCPA, FCMA
Ken Puls is one of the founding partners of Skillwave.Training, and the President and Chief Training Officer of Excelguru Consulting Inc. in Canada. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, blogger, author, and trainer with over 20 years of business and IT experience. His passion lies in exploring tools to turn data into information, and teaching others how to use them. Ken is a Microsoft MVP and a leading expert in Excel, Power Query, and Power BI.


How do I access the course materials? Are they downloadable?

The videos are streamed on-demand and may be watched as often as you like. However, they are not downloadable. The example files and handouts for each lesson are downloadable.

Do I have to wait until the next kick-off call before I begin watching the videos?

No, you can begin watching the videos and using the example files as soon as you are registered. You do not have to wait for the kick-off call.

Where are the course videos hosted?

All the videos for the course are hosted on Vimeo. Please note that some networks block access to Vimeo, in which case the videos will not be watchable. You may want to double-check that your network allows access to Vimeo before registering in the Academy, to ensure that you will be able to see the videos.

What support is included with the course? How do I ask questions?

All users with a current course subscription receive access to our private Discussion Forum, where they can ask questions related to the course materials, as well as how to apply those teachings to their own work. This forum is also intended to act as a place for students to practice their own learnings by helping others with those questions. While the focus of this forum is primarily aimed at allowing students to learn by helping each other, they are monitored by our course authors as well. For technical issues related to the site, course access, or other questions regarding your account, please get in touch through our Contact Us page.

How do I submit questions for the AKA sessions? Can I still submit questions if I am not able to join the session live?

We recommend you may submit your questions (and upload any support files) at least 24 hours before the call via the 'Ask Ken Submissions' lesson. If you are not able to join the AKA session live, you can still submit your question and watch the session recording later.

How do I access the recordings of the live AKA sessions?

After the AKA session, the recording will be uploaded to the 'AKA Session Recordings' lesson (usually within 48 hours) so you can watch them whenever you like.

Can my corporate groups get private AKA sessions?

Yes, if you have a group of 15 or more people registered in the course, we are happy to offer one private AKA session in addition to the regular AKA sessions open to all students. This will allow the instructor to help you directly with questions on your organization's data, instead of having to provide a cleansed sample data set that is safe to be viewed by others.

How do I receive my Certificate of Completion?

After all the modules and lessons have been completed, you will be able to download the Certificate of Completion from the My Courses area of your Account Dashboard.

How do I renew my subscription?

If you subscription is set to auto-renew, our system will automatically renew your subscription for another year on your renewal date using the billing information on file. If you subscription is set to manual renewal, our system will generate a manual invoice and email it to you on the renewal date. About a month (4 weeks) before your next renewal date, you will receive an email from us reminding you that the renewal is coming up and to confirm your billing details so your access is uninterrupted.

How do I cancel my subscription?

You may cancel your subscription at any time, and you will continue to have access to all of your course materials until your expiry date. To cancel your subscription, go to the Billing page from your Account Dashboard and select the subscription to cancel from the My Subscriptions area. Once in the Subscription Details page, you can then choose to cancel your subscription from the Actions field. After your subscription expires, you will not longer have access to the course materials, including the downloadable Recipe Cards.

What payment methods do you accept? What currency is used?

We accept credit card payments through our secure online payment portal, Stripe. If you would like to discuss other payment options, please get in touch through our Contact Us page. All transactions are charged in US Dollars. Please note that because Skillwave is registered in Canada, we are required by Canada Revenue Agency to collect the 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST) on registrations made by Canadians.

What is your refund policy for this course?

We think you will love our training; however, if you are unsatisfied with the training for any reason, we offer a 14-day 100% money-back guarantee, as long as you have completed less than 25% of the course. All we ask in return is that you tell us why you were unsatisfied with the training. We do not offer refunds if you have completed over 25% of the course and/or it is more than 14 days after the purchase date.

Can an account be shared with or transferred to another user?

Logins, downloads, and other materials are for the exclusive use of the registered user only. Sharing of credentials is in violation of our site policies and may result in termination of product and/or site access without notice.

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