Incredibly Inventive Uses of Excel

August is Inventor’s Month. Most people could name very famous inventors like Albert Einstein or Alexander Graham Bell, but what about Tim Berners-Lee, who essentially invented the internet or Katharine Burr Blodgett who created the non-reflective glass used on camera lenses and computer screens? And what about those who are astoundingly inventive with our favourite spreadsheet program, Excel?

Excel was designed for such things as Data entry, Accounting, Scheduling, Producing charts, Identifying trends and many other business uses, but with a surprisingly broad range of graphical options, and with the possibilities that VBA and macros offer, it can stretch well beyond its intended use. Even Excel’s designers and programmers could not have imagined some of the more inventive and unexpected uses of Excel.

Make Music with Excel

Youtuber Dylan Tallchief created a drum machine in Microsoft Excel, but didn’t stop there. He went on to create a fully functional Excel DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) called xlStudio. There’s a transport section with playback controls, a looping function, the ability to solo and mute tracks, and it even exports projects as .als files. You can try out xlStudio for yourself by downloading it for free on Google Drive.

Sudoku Solver and Generator

If you are a fan of Sudoku and are want new Sudoku games to play, this humble .xlsm file, utilising the program’s VBA capabilities is for you! It generates an unlimited number of different Sudokus and even solves ones that you are stuck on. Designed by Bruce McPherson, there is an explanation of how it was put together on his website and you can download it here.

Make a Realistic Digital Clock in MS Excel

It sounds impossible, but you really can make a realistic looking digital clock in MS Excel. Find out how in a series of videos on the excellent Excel Unusual website, which has a large number of different ‘unusual’ examples of Excel use. This one requires some work in PowerPoint and working with VBA.

A Working Flight Simulator

Another project from Excel Unusual uses the program to build a functional flight simulator. The visuals are basic, but still impressive and use the mouse as the joystick of the aircraft. It isn’t a ‘game’ as such, more of an exploration of just how far the limits of Excel can be pushed.  If you are interested, find out more and download the Excel Workbook using the link above.

Incredible Excel Art

Excel provides the tools for creating your own digital art. It requires creativity, but you can work using Excel’s basic shapes (or autoshapes) It will also take practice before you reach the standard of  Tatsuo Horiuchi, who layers countless Shape designs over one another to create seriously impressive artwork.

Take a look at some Horiuchi creations here.


One of the world’s most popular games, this example puts an actual Monopoly board into an Excel spreadsheet, which allows play with 3 different people.

Once you are familiar with the tools and functions in Excel, there is very little you can’t use it for. At Infero, we offer courses at all Levels of Excel. Once you have the knowledge, the only limits are your imagination.

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