When Excel sets passions free

Microsoft’s spreadsheet software has often been the obsession of many Internet users. Now Excel excites all generations, especially on social media and exciting competitions.

December 11, 2021. 400,000 internet users have been collected on Youtube. A live video from a Youtuber with millions of subscribers? A sports meeting between broadcasters? Nothing more. The attention of the spectators present that day is focused on the new edition of the Excel World Championship. The existence of the competition is something to smile about, but shows how the discipline is not secret, even if the followers are not directly related to Microsoft.

A success that surprised even the participants. 27-year-old Frenchman Loïc Coquer took part in the event. And this financial auditor says he is “surprised at first” by the enthusiasm and audience generated by this unusual competition.

“Personally, I wouldn’t have thought of watching such races. The classic game is addictive and more interactive,” laughs Loic Coquer.

Although initially the preserve of accountants and other financial professionals, Excel managed to become “cool”. More accessible, almost gamified. All thanks to the creation of these World Championships, as well as the content posted on Instagram or TikTok, sometimes gaining tens of millions of views.

Accounts with more than 2 million subscribers

It is no longer surprising to find videos about Excel on social networks. However, what has increased is the number of specific accounts on the platforms, and especially the views that each one collects.

Whether with content in English, French or Russian, some even reach heights like @excel.friend, which has 2.7 million subscribers on TikTok, or @exceldictionary, which claims to have popularized Excel with 2.2 million users. can do.

France is also not without a few accounts dedicated to learning little-known tips from Microsoft software. Thomas Coget, in particular, threw himself into this universe two years ago and quickly turned it into his profession. Known on social media as Thomas l’Exceleur, the former accountant, who has had a passion for Excel since discovering it at school (“He was in 4th grade, Thursday afternoon in computer class”), currently has 181,000 followers on Instagram and 267,000 on Instagram there is TikTok. He even started creating an online training program. A surprising feat, he says, but still explainable.

“There weren’t a lot of people trying to make Excel ‘sexy’. There were people on YouTube explaining what could be explained in 30 seconds in 30-minute videos. Excel needed a slightly different approach with this vertical format to make it stand out. cool and this Create a ‘wow’ effect,” explains Thomas l’Exceleur.

Jean-Baptiste Caverne, head of @tutosurexcel on TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn, also wanted to share his knowledge with French users after discovering videos from American accounts. He hasn’t quit his job in logistics, but regularly posts videos on his three networks showing “useful things in an effective way.” One way to make it interesting for everyone, says the creator, is “a program that can quickly become boring if poorly explained.”

passion after fear

The success of these how-to videos can be explained more by the fact that software has always been an area of ​​vast misunderstanding for most users. “The biggest problem with Excel is all the freedom behind it. We come in and there’s a blank page. The risk of error is huge when you consider all the possibilities. It was like having a giant Lego construction with 8,000 pieces and no instructions. We didn’t know where to start,” he said. Thomas l’Exceleur concludes.

According to Jean-Baptiste Caverne, another explanation for this lack of understanding of Excel is the lack of employee training: “It is the most used program in business and yet there are many employees who have not been trained. A quick investment of 200 euros per employee. saved it pays for itself over time.”

It is true that Excel enthusiasts are often, if not exclusively, people who work very closely with the world of accounting or finance. So the participants of the World Championship are lovers of graphs, data and other formulas. The qualifications required for this competition are sometimes a matter of logic above all else.

Numbers and letters 2.0

The tests of Excel competitions are nothing like a knowledge contest on all the formulas of the software. The exercise is completely different: logic tests that require the use of several formulas, all in sequence and, of course, quickly. Players first compete in qualifiers with several tasks to be completed within an hour before a 1v1 direct elimination round.

Loic Coquer had to deal especially with shifumi-style logic games. “We had a series of shifumi results, and we had to calculate the participants’ scores from special formulas,” he recalls.

Almost playful rules of the game that can attract content creators on social networks. Jean-Baptiste Caverne does not plan to participate in these events “to know the exact formulas will require a lot of training and very specific”.

But for his part, Thomas Coget wants to participate, “for [se] try and know this stress”. Maybe in 2023? Currently, the creator prefers to continue solving his various videos, for example, videos showing how to light a Christmas wreath using Excel.

Because Excel has its own VBA language that allows you to code and do (almost) anything and everything using a spreadsheet program. A language that needs to be learned, but with a little (a lot) skill, it can allow you to achieve wonders, like the Japanese Tatsuo Horiuchi, who creates tables in Excel cells. Who Said Excel Was A Doomsday Program?

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