Excel Hacks for Congressional Offices

June 26, 2018 / Michael McGrady

From constituent interactions to case-working, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate depend on staffers capable of sifting through countless datasets and records in Microsoft Excel.

Excel, the world’s leading spreadsheet platform, has enabled private and public sector organizations to get the most out of their data since its 1985 launch. Within Congress, Excel remains the go-to utility for creating spreadsheets, visualizing raw data from CSV files (typically exported from constituent and correspondence management systems), and turning random points of information into actionable assets for communications and outreach strategies.

Learning objectives

This instructional guide was created to introduce fundamental concepts about Microsoft Excel to Congressional staffers. We cover three training modules (hosted on Microsoft Virtual Academy) overviewing the essential functions of Microsoft Excel, featuring teachings on Microsoft Excel 2013 and Microsoft Excel 2016 that apply to older, backward compatible editions of the tool.

You will learn:

  1. The basics of Microsoft Excel
  2. How to properly use Microsoft Excel for Congressional office purposes
  3. About the data analysis capabilities built into the platform

Whether you just need a refresher or to learn new skills, this guide can make you Excel-capable.

This is a free resource for all Congressional staffers and interns.

Some things to know before you start

HillSDK or Lincoln Network was not involved in the creation and is not the owner of these training modules. Microsoft, the developer and flagship retailer of Microsoft Excel, produced these trainings with help from their instructors and influencers. Accessing the Microsoft Virtual Academy is simple; by clicking the link that indicates a transfer to the external web page, users are brought directly to the module.

Each module can be accessed without a registration, but we recommend creating a free Microsoft account for a better experience. Users can then save their progress and access other courses across various devices. The video content in each module can automatically play and switch to the next lesson.

All three training modules are estimated at 2 hours in length without an included calculation for practice and assessment periods. So, depending on a person’s speed and comprehension, these training modules can take up to 3 hours (conservative estimate). Each module has a brief assessment with 3-5 questions with a final exam and study guide available at the end.

To learn more about Microsoft Virtual Academy, visit the website by clicking here.

What is HillSDK?

Lincoln Network launched HillSDK as a solution to the technology knowledge-gap on Capitol Hill. Now more than ever, Congressional offices and their staff require a unique set of digital tools and processes to best accomplish their mission of serving constituents.

HillSDK’s curriculum consists of in-person training and online content developed by our team of industry-leading research, design, and instructional experts.

Our Microsoft Excel instructional guide is a part of this work.

For more information about Lincoln Network, please click here.

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Jump Ahead:

Mastering the basics of Excel

Using Excel to analyze data

Make your data intelligent with Excel

Using Microsoft Excel with existing Congressional SaaS platforms