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Excel and AI usage in the workplace
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Excel and AI usage in the workplace

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, but how many people are actually using it daily? To find out, we surveyed Excel users across the spectrum, from beginners to experienced professionals. Given the speed AI is now being adopted, we will likely include AI tools in our Excel training courses soon.


The Key Takeaways

  • AI is growing fast. 63% of advanced Excel users have used at least one AI tool with Excel.
  • 41% of Excel users realise they can use AI in Excel.
  • Within that 41% of users:

The best-known AI tool is ChatGPT (46%), followed by Excel’s built-in tools (23%), Microsoft Co-Pilot and PowerExcel.ai (both 22%).

Almost a quarter (23%) have used ChatGPT with Excel.

Over half (58%) of advanced Excel users have used it with ChatGPT.

Almost a fifth (19%) of people have used Excel’s built-in tools.

Over a third (38%) of advanced Excel users have used its built-in tools.


Question 1: What level of Microsoft Excel user are you? 

We asked this question to understand the differences between Excel users of different levels. And as you can see, we ended up with a pretty representative sample of office-based Excel users.

Roughly half said they were intermediate users, a third said they were advanced users, and the rest said they were beginner-level Excel users.

If you’d like to find out your current level of Excel knowledge, our free Excel-level tool will tell you in under 60 seconds.

 
Question 2: Did you know you can use AI when working in Excel?

As you can see, under half of Excel users knew they could use AI when working in Excel.

When we looked at this data split by user level, we found, as expected, that more advanced users tended to be better informed:

  • 63% of advanced users know they can use artificial intelligence in Excel.
  • 33% of intermediate users know that they can use artificial intelligence in Excel.
  • 20% of beginners know that they can use artificial intelligence in Excel.

Question 3: Which of these AI tools have you heard of?

This answer really surprised us.

Unsurprisingly, ChatGPT was the largest answer by a margin, but we expected the difference with other tools to be far larger.

As before, the level of ChatGPT knowledge dropped as people’s levels of Excel understanding dropped from 64% for advanced Excel users down to 26% for beginners.

Question 4: Which of these AI tools have you used with Excel?

Here we get to the fascinating bit. How many of these tools have people actually used?

If we look at people by their level of expertise:

  • 63% of advanced users have used artificial intelligence in Excel. This is 100% of the people who know this is available!
  • 13% of intermediate users have used artificial intelligence in Excel.
  • 5% of beginners have used artificial intelligence in Excel.

Let’s look at things a different way round. Which tools have people used?

#1: ChatGPT

As you would predict, ChatGPT is the most used tool, given the publicity it has had and the fact it is useful for generating datasets and the like.

Given that ChatGPT was only released on 30 November 2022, it is remarkable that over half (59%) of advanced Excel users have used ChatGPT with Excel.

#2: Excel’s Built-In AI Tools

This category includes various Excel tools, such as the AI Insights tool, dynamic arrays and inserting data from a picture.

Given this survey is focused on Excel, it’s unsurprising the category is the second largest.

Again, advanced users were the most likely to have used these tools, with 42% of people using them.

#3: Microsoft Copilot

Copilot allows you to ask Excel questions – see this Microsoft article – and it will try to understand your request and analyse the data for you.

It doesn’t always work, but it can be a great way to speed up simple tasks.

14% of people have used this tool. Again, this increases to 21% amongst advanced users.

#4: PowerExcel.ai

PowerExcel.ai is a powerful add-in for Excel Power Users.

13% of users overall had used PowerExcel.ai.

Unsurprisingly, none of the beginners and only one of the intermediate users had used it.

By contrast, over a third of the advanced users had used it. 

#5: Excelformulabot

Excelformulabot is far less widely known and therefore has lower use than the previous tools.

Similar to Microsoft Copilot, it allows you to explain in plain English what you would like a formula to do, and the bot will then create the formula for you.

Just 3% of respondents had used this.

Conclusion

AI use amongst Excel users is growing fast.

ChatGPT was made public on 30th Nov 2022, and 23% of people who know you can use AI with Excel have already tried it out.

This rises to 63% of advanced Excel users!

Over the coming years (months!), these figures will no doubt continue to grow rapidly.

Survey Methodology

Date of survey: 5th & 6th April 2023

Survey Method: Online using Pollfish

Qualifying Questions: Are you a Microsoft Excel user?

Other Requirements: Age 16+

Knowledge levels: 

Beginners-topics: Basic calculations, number formatting and percentages & cell referencing

Intermediate topics: Graphs, IF formulas, filtering and conditional formatting

Advanced topics: Logical functions, Pivot tables, lookup functions and macros

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