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Thought Leadership

Spreadsheet Competency Framework

Author: Excel Community

Published: 05 Jul 2016

The framework is a structure for assessing ability and proficiency when using spreadsheets. The framework consists of four key skill groups, described as levels. Each group has its own core competencies and other indicative skills. There is no formal assessment attached to the framework.

Basic user

A Basic user will mostly be carrying out data entry tasks. They will have a grounding in the essential skills needed to avoid major wasted effort or bad practice, but few technical skills beyond that. Anyone that uses spreadsheets should be at this level at a bare minimum.

General user

General users make up the majority of spreadsheet users, essentially modifying and updating spreadsheets on a regular basis. They may have some formula and other more technical knowledge, but are rarely called upon to undertake highly complex tasks, or to make spreadsheets entirely from scratch.


Creators use spreadsheets as a core element of their roles, and significantly use its functions and features. They often create spreadsheets from scratch and may create templates and workbooks for users at the first two levels.


Developers are the true masters of spreadsheets, with a grasp on the majority of the features of the package and ability to handle many complex tasks. They may be specialists such as modellers, VBA programmers, or statisticians.

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Spreadsheet Competency Framework

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