According to our new Excel research, 38% of people’s work involves Excel. 

Given how much time people spend working in Excel anecdotally, we wanted to try to quantify it in more detail.  

This is the third post in a series that breaks down the analysis of our Excel survey results to help inform our Excel training.

To see the full results, see Excel Facts & Statistics

The previous two articles can be found here.

  1. How Many People Have Ever Had Formal Excel Training?
  2. How Good Are People’s Excel Skills?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • People have 2.6 spreadsheets open on their computer at any time on average.
  • People look at a spreadsheet every 16 minutes, on average.
  • People spend 38% of their time working in a spreadsheet, on average.

Question 1: How Many Spreadsheets Do You Have Open At Any One Time?

This question was a very simple one.

We wanted to understand the number of spreadsheets people have open on their computers at any one time.

As can be seen, the most popular answer was two or three spreadsheets, with almost 2/3rds of people saying this was the case for them.

The average number was 2.6 spreadsheets.

Remarkably almost 1 in 20 (4.8%) people said that at any one time they would have more than 5 spreadsheets open on their computers.

Statistics like these explain why people sometimes say that they ‘live in Excel’.

Graph Of How Many Excel Spreadsheets People Have Open At Any One Time

 

Question 2: How Many Times Per Hour Do You Look At A Spreadsheet?

This is a similar question to question 1 above. It is just trying to assess the amount of time people spend working in Excel.

In this case, the average and the most popular answers were quite different.

The average number of times people reported looking at a spreadsheet was 3.8 times per hour, so 16 minutes.

However, the most popular answer was ‘I look at a spreadsheet once or twice per day’ but heavy Excel users have dragged the average up substantially.

Just over 1 in 25 (4.2%) of people reported looking at a spreadsheet more than 20 times per hour!

Again, this just emphasises how much time people spend working in Excel at work.

 

Graph Of How Many Times Per Hour People Look At A Spreadsheet

 

Question 3: What Proportion Of Your Work Involves A Spreadsheet?

Again, this is a question to look at the amount people use spreadsheets from a different angle.

This question asked people to estimate the proportion of their work that involved a spreadsheet.

As you can see, the most popular answer was 20% to 40%.

The average proportion of people’s work that involved a spreadsheet was 38%.

As with the above questions, there is a long tail over very heavy Excel users.

In this case 1 in 25 (4%) people work in Excel 80% or more of their working time!

 

Graph of What Proportion Of People's Work Involves Excel

 

Conclusion:

This section of the research set out to understand more about how much time people spend using Excel.

Asking in three different ways has given statistics that broadly agree.

The average Excel user has 2.6 spreadsheets open at any one time, looks at a spreadsheet every 16 minutes, and spends 38% of their time at work using Excel.