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  • Published:
    August 1, 2016
  • Languages:
    English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian
  • Audiences:
    Information workers
  • Technology:
    Excel 2016
  • Credit toward certification:

Excel 2016 Expert: Interpreting Data for Insights

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Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

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Manage workbook options and settings (10-15%)
  • Manage workbooks
    • Save a workbook as a template, copy macros between workbooks, reference data in another workbook, reference data by using structured references, enable macros in a workbook, display hidden ribbon tabs
  • Manage workbook review
    • Restrict editing, protect a worksheet, configure formula calculation options, protect workbook structure, manage workbook versions, encrypt a workbook with a password
Apply custom data formats and layouts (20-25%)
  • Apply custom data formats and validation
    • Create custom number formats, populate cells by using advanced Fill Series options, configure data validation
  • Apply advanced conditional formatting and filtering
    • Create custom conditional formatting rules, create conditional formatting rules that use formulas, manage conditional formatting rules
  • Create and modify custom workbook elements
    • Create custom color formats, create and modify cell styles, create and modify custom themes, create and modify simple macros, insert and configure form controls
  • Prepare a workbook for internationalization
    • Display data in multiple international formats, apply international currency formats, manage multiple options for +Body and +Heading fonts
Create advanced formulas (35-40%)
  • Apply functions in formulas
    • Perform logical operations by using AND, OR, and NOT functions; perform logical operations by using nested functions; perform statistical operations by using SUMIFS, AVERAGEIFS, and COUNTIFS functions
  • Look up data by using functions
    • Look up data by using the VLOOKUP function, look up data by using the HLOOKUP function, look up data by using the MATCH function, look up data by using the INDEX function
  • Apply advanced date and time functions
    • Reference the date and time by using the NOW and TODAY functions, serialize numbers by using date and time functions
  • Perform data analysis and business intelligence
    • Reference the date and time by using the NOW and TODAY functions; import, transform, combine, display, and connect to data; consolidate data; perform what-if analysis by using Goal Seek and Scenario Manager; use cube functions to get data out of the Excel data model; calculate data by using financial functions
  • Troubleshoot formulas
    • Trace precedence and dependence, monitor cells and formulas by using the Watch Window, validate formulas by using error checking rules, evaluate formulas
  • Define named ranges and objects
    • Name cells, name data ranges, name tables, manage named ranges and objects
Create advanced charts and tables (25-30%)
  • Create advanced charts
    • Add trendlines to charts, create dual-axis charts, save a chart as a template
  • Create and manage PivotTables
    • Create PivotTables, modify field selections and options, create slicers, group PivotTable data, reference data in a PivotTable by using the GETPIVOTDATA function, add calculated fields, format data
  • Create and manage PivotCharts
    • Create PivotCharts, manipulate options in existing PivotCharts, apply styles to PivotCharts, drill down into PivotChart details

Who should take this exam?

Expert-level candidates for the Excel 2016 exam have an advanced understanding of the Excel environment and have the ability to guide others to the proper use of the program’s features.

They create, manage, and distribute professional spreadsheets for a variety of specialized purposes and situations. They customize their Excel environments to meet project needs and to enhance productivity. Expert workbook examples include custom business templates, multiple-axis financial charts, amortization tables, and inventory schedules. Candidate roles may include accountants, financial analysts, data analysts, commercial bankers, and others.

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) 2016 certification exams introduce a new performance-based format for improved testing of a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities using the MOS 2016 programs:

  • MOS 2016 exam task instructions generally do not include the command name, as in previous versions. For example, function names are avoided and are replaced with descriptors. This means candidates must understand the purpose and common usage of the program functionality in order to successfully complete the tasks in each of the projects.
  • The MOS 2016 exam format incorporates multiple projects.

More information about exams

Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats, and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.


This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.