A great resource to learn Excel and other Microsoft Office programs is available at GCFLearnFree.org. That site offers complete tutorials for beginners, including written, video and interactive instruction modules. Another useful Excel tutorial site is at Chandoo.org, where users can find over 500 text and video lessons.
Although Microsoft includes help documentation and tooltips built into new versions of Excel, getting started with creating spreadsheets from a blank page can be a daunting task for beginners. The GCFLearnFree programs exist through the efforts of the Goodwill Community Foundation and IT instruction professionals. Using a layered instruction model, the website provides videos and interactive techniques to teach beginning Excel users how to create spreadsheets of increasing functionality and complexity. The lessons there include teaching different formulae, conditional outputs, and data sorting techniques that even beginners can easily comprehend.
The Excel instruction from Chandoo is aimed more towards specific tips and tricks with Excel, although the writer does offer videos and written lessons intended for Excel beginners. One of the values provided by Chandoo is a series of quick hints for how to do specific things while creating a spreadsheet. The site is also careful to provide the instruction in plain language that novices can easily understand.