Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
CAS 170
Course Title:
Beginning Excel
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the basic features of Microsoft Excel and spreadsheet concepts to design and create accurate professional worksheets for use in business and industry, and academic environments. Includes entering data; creating formulas; professional formatting; creating charts; creating, sorting, and filtering lists; creating and using templates; and working with functions. Focuses on ways to ensure accuracy including proofreading techniques and critical thinking to determine what data to present and how to present it. Recommended: Placement into RD 115, WR 115 and MTH 20. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

A major goal is to develop better computation skills. Improved critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills will also be emphasized.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion of this course, student will be able to:
1. Use Microsoft Excel to create personal and/or business spreadsheets following current professional and/or industry standards.
2. Use critical thinking skills to design and create spreadsheets.
3. Communicate in a business setting using spreadsheet vocabulary.
4. Be prepared for intermediate level Excel course.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

A letter grade will be issued for this course based upon:

  • performance tests
  • may include objective tests, scored assignments, or projects
  • may include the use of skill assessment software

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues

  • Communicate effectively using appropriate spreadsheet vocabulary.
  • Use critical thinking and problem solving skills in designing the spreadsheets for various business problems.
  • Proofread for accuracy in the entry of data and creation of formulas.
  • Assess the document for accuracy, readability, and appearance.
  • Develop efficiency with specific sets of skills through repetitive reinforcement.


Competencies, Skills

  • Students will develop proficiency through reinforcement and assessment on the following skills:
  • Building basic worksheets by entering text, numbers, and formulas.
  • Generating pie and column charts by using the chart wizard.
  • Developing skills in formatting, saving, and printing accurate, readable worksheets.
  • Creating formulas using absolute and relative references, if and average functions, AutoSum, and grand total. Developing skills in managing multiple-sheet worksheets.
  • Developing decision-making skills by using what-if analysis on spreadsheets.
  • Creating lists and using sort and filter features.
  • Creating a spreadsheet from data with no specific instructions.

Students will be familiar with the following skills:

  • Using help features.
  • Creating templates.
  • Using 3-D referencing.
  • Generating Web pages from spreadsheet documents.
  • Using additional functions such as PMT, maximum, and minimum.
  • Using linking and embedding concepts.
  • Students may be exposed to additional spreadsheet skills/concepts as time allows.