In general, Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet tool that is capable of performing calculations, analyzing data, presenting information in advanced dashboards and integrating information from different programs. That is just for starters. Microsoft Excel is comprised of organizational units called workbooks. A standard workbook contains worksheets and chart sheets. Worksheets perform calculations, store and organize data, present graphics, charts and controls like a web page; they are extremely versatile. A worksheet is comprised of millions of cells. The job of a cell is to store a formula that performs a calculation or communicates with some other application (i.e. program) such as a database. They also store and present data. A chart sheet's job is to present a chart or graph developed from data stored on a worksheet or from some other data source.
Think of Microsoft Excel as a modular tool set that can be rapidly configured to accomplish a desired task. A key force behind Microsoft Excel's capabilities is a powerful programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) which comes standard with Microsoft Excel. Using Microsoft Excel and VBA, a professional can accomplish important tasks like:
By using Microsoft Excel, company funds and time are not invested in developing software tools from the "ground up" in computer languages that take large staffs to maintain.