Cleaning Data in Excel

Course introduction

by Maarten Lambrechts

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Hi. My name is Maarten Lambrechts and I'm a freelance data journalist and data visualization consultant from Belgium. I'm your instructor for the course Data Cleaning in Excel. As a lot of people working in data know, data most often comes very messy. Before you can start analyzing or visualizing your data, you need to clean it up and you need to format it and transform it in a workable format. When you're working with smaller data sets, you can do this manually.

You can enter the right values manually or make some small calculations yourself. When your data set is larger with tens, hundreds or thousands or even more lines or records in your data set, the manual approach is no longer feasible because it would take up too much time and the chance of introducing errors yourself in the data becomes too large.

When working with bigger data sets, you need tools. There are some powerful tools out there, but most of them require coding skills. As this course isn't aimed at programmers, we're going to use an everyday tool most of you are familiar with which is Microsoft Excel. In this course, we going to learn some commands and formulas in Microsoft Excel to clean up and transform data. No prior knowledge is required but, of course, knowing a little bit about how Excel works will help you a lot. Let's get started with module one where we will see how we can set the encoding of your data and how we can inspect the data to detect errors and inconsistencies in your data.