Skip to content

Excel For Mechanical Engineers (Guide)

Mechanical engineers can use multiple software tools to perform and excel at their tasks.

Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular choices in this profession, being an excellent spreadsheet program for collecting, organizing, and calculating data.

These functions help flesh out ideas, detail plans, tabulate or graph numbers, and determine measurements and trajectories.

Since Excel can be so helpful, it is crucial to understand precisely how mechanical engineers can use it to their advantage.

Follow along to learn more!

Is Excel Useful For Mechanical Engineers?

Excel is beneficial for mechanical engineers, as the program can help fulfill many design research, analysis, and planning tasks.

In the past, engineers relied on pen and paper and hand-held calculators to keep track of data and make calculations.

Excel software makes keeping, organizing, and building upon records easier, with faster, more accurate calculations.

When designing a particular machine, they can use an Excel spreadsheet to record all their research information and calculations, their designs, their test findings, and plans for optimization.

They can create simple shapes with Excel or embed more detailed line drawings, equations, and symbols.

Additionally, engineers can use Excel to track and store material costs, labor estimates, and other financial information if necessary.

Do Engineers Need To Be Good At Excel?

Some mechanical engineering programs may not require Excel knowledge and skills to obtain a degree, leaving students wondering if they need to know how to use Excel.

Most mechanical engineering positions will ask for excellent Excel skills, which are essential in machine design and optimization.

Engineers should be good at Excel for two main reasons:

  1. It is one of the most flexible engineering calculation and analysis tools. As long as engineers put in the correct formulas and numbers, they can solve any engineering problem or query. They can also record their findings in the same place, allowing for easy further analysis and retrieval.
  2. Excel is an accessible software program. It is easy to install on computers and tablets for engineers to use in the office or on-site. In addition, it can also integrate with other popular engineering software, facilitating program data flow.

Also read Do Mechanical Engineers Use Blender?

How Are Spreadsheets Used in Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineers can use spreadsheets for the following tasks:

  • Organizing part numbers, descriptions, materials, weights, and quantities
  • Recording weights and measures
  • Estimating the size of components
  • Determining deflection of plates and beams
  • Calculating Hertzian contact stress
  • Documenting selection properties
  • Calculating projectile motion
  • Scheduling development
  • Determining resistance, inertia, and velocity
  • Calculating energy use and energy storage
  • Setting up linkage design
  • Calculating important elements of springs, beams, flexures, bearings, and shafts
  • Estimating gear tooth strength on transmissions
  • Illustrating various components, levels, or the complete machine
  • Scheduling prototype development and development
  • Estimating financial costs

Related: Embedded System For Mechanical Engineers.

What Should Every Engineer Know About Excel?

If engineering students take a course on Excel, they should take classes specific to engineering.

Engineers may use some similar functions as office professionals, but they also use unique functions and formula combinations.

Particularly, engineers should learn:

  • CONVERT: Engineers can use this function to easily convert units of one measure to another without using another program.
  • Named Ranges: When using formulas from the function library, engineers can make it easier on themselves by using named ranges. It will clearly show the variables needed for a procedure, allowing for easy calculations and analysis at a later date.
  • Vlookup, Hlookup, and Index and Match: These functions allow engineers to pull data from cells and tables and put them into calculations. Index and Match functions may be more helpful.
  • IMSUM: The IMSUM function is useful for adding complex numbers or decimals.
  • DELTA: The DELTA function calculates differences between two values.
  • Goal Seek: In some cases, engineering professionals must find an input value from a result. Typically, this is necessary during testing or optimization phases. Excel’s Goal Seek tool allows engineers to find the correct input to achieve a result.

Read Can Mechanical Engineering Work In Google?

How To Be Better In Excel?

Prospective engineers, engineering students, and current engineers may all have room for improvement in Excel.

It may be essential for some mechanical engineering professions or simply to make day-to-day tasks more manageable.

Some of the top ways to be better at Excel are:

  1. Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts will help engineers save time.
  2. Take an Excel Class for Engineering: Engineers can learn more about how Excel applies to engineering through specialized classes. They can also take advantage of online courses to complete in their spare time. It is important to look for courses ending in certification to place their qualification on their resume.
  3. Watch Excel Tutorials: Visual learners may enjoy watching Excel tutorials online, especially those made for engineers.
  4. Practice: Engineers do not need to use Excel for every task right away. They can start by using the software for calculations and build upon their knowledge and skills. As they practice, they will gain confidence with the program and its functions.

See Revit For Mechanical Engineers.

Free Online Resources To Learn Excel:

There are plenty of helpful online resources for learning or improving Excel skills:

  • Excel Training for Engineers: A YouTube Series by EngineerExcel. They also offer online courses.
  • Microsoft Excel Tutorial for Beginners: Students with little to no familiarity with Excel will benefit from this free tutorial.
  • Excel in an Hour: A crash course on Excel.
  • Microsoft Excel Video Training: Microsoft offers basic training in every aspect of Excel software.
  • Free Online Excel Training: Excel Exposure offers courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. In this way, individuals can pick up where they feel most comfortable.
  • Spreadsheets for Engineers: A short tutorial on using Excel or Google Spreadsheets in engineering.
  • Engineers Excel: A website with free Excel tools and guides for engineers.
  • Top Excel Functions for Engineers: Engineers may find these functions the most helpful for their daily tasks. This short YouTube video may also be useful.
  • Getting Started With Excel: Tutorials covering recent versions of Excel.

Final Thoughts

Mechanical engineers are constantly working with numbers and equations, whether in research and development, design, testing, or optimization of machines.

Fortunately, efficient tools such as Excel can help them organize their data, perform calculations, and estimate results faster and more accurately than by hand.

If engineering students learn Excel, they will position themselves well for excellent career performance.