The Excel tutorial walks you through the basic principles, steps, and possible issues when working with linguistic data in Excel. The aim is to overcome that scary Excel feeling and make you comfortable enough with spreadsheet software, so that you can start to help yourself if faced with a specific task. It is the second part of the three part series on linguistic data analysis.

The tutorial assumes no prior knowledge of Excel, but may also be useful for more experienced users, as it points out “good practices” and shortcuts along the way. Many of the topics are based on holding workshops and advising in linguistic data processing and analysis at BA, MA, and PhD level. So see all tips as pieces of advice, rather than “rules”. It is probably a good idea to follow all episodes if you are a complete beginner to become more confident in a new environment, and then come back to individual clips when you need them.

(The tutorial is currently under construction. To make suggestions, send me an email.)


There is no clear episode structure as yet, clips are added as the topics come to mind. If you have never (really) worked with Excel before, proceed in the order of appearance. There might be a more sensible structure in the future, along with a reference guide on which functions are discussed in which video.

If you can, update to the latest Microsoft Office version. Especially the importing functionality has greatly improved with the latest versions.

Full playlist (average clip length ca. 6 mins):

Section 0: Why & what:

§1 — Introduction

Section 1: Excel basics:

§2 — Basic file structure
§3 — Filling cells
§4 — Cell reference
§5 — Basic functions
§6 — Tables in Excel
§7 — Sorting and filtering
§8 — Long vs wide formats
§9 — Shortcuts

Section 2: Import to Excel:

Data sets (zip file)

§10 — Importing concordancer output
§10a — Importing concordancer output with meta info
§11 — Import problems

Section 3: Annotation basics:

Data sets (zip file)

§12 — Adding and moving columns
§13 — Annotation 1: Basics
§14 — Annotation 2: Dealing with false positives
§15 — Randomisation: Basics
§16 — Adding meta information: Basics
§17 — Documentation: Basics

Section 4: Pivot tables (cross-tabulation):

Data sets (zip file)

§18 — Pivot tables 1: Basics
§19 — Pivot tables 2: Refreshing tables & checking conditions
§19 — Pivot tables 3: Frequency lists
§20 — Pivot tables 4: Coding inconsistencies (basics)
§21 — Pivot tables 5: Issues & “weird behavior”

In preparation:

Coding tips, formatting, more on pivot tables, summary statistics, basic graphs, exporting graphs, text processing, working with meta data to facilitate annotation, advanced sorting for annotating, adding meta data from another source

Last updated: December 14, 2020