Bridges between Excel and SQL

I have a good friend who loves using excel. I want to encourage her to learn some SQL and database queries. In this post, I will share the most important bridge from my known/familiar territory to my new territory. My “secret” bridge is GOOGLE. With the correct google search term set (utilizing one’s known knowledge), google will give answers that applicable to the unfamiliar knowledge. Little by little, and piece by piece, the knowledge of unfamiliar field become familiar and known. Today, the known territory is “Excel”. The new territory is “SQL”.

First, a table in SQL is a worksheet in Excel. A database in SQL in a workbook(file) in Excel. In excel, it is easy to copy/paste a file or a worksheet. How to do that in sql? let’s try our bridge.

I read through the answers. They are all informative and easy to follow. Now, I want to explain something about “SQL server” in the new field. Database has three major players. One is Oracle by Oracle. Two is SQL server by Microsoft. Three is my SQL by open source communities. The language is similar with slightly different accent (just like google sheet and excel). When do the search, I recommend to use as precise as possible for the new field so that the answers will be more relevant.

Second, column in excel is column in sql server. So vlookup an excel column can be done in SQL way too. When I google “vlookup a column in sql server”, I get answers back. Read through those answers, I leaned that “vlookup” is not a good SQL server term. The corresponding SQL server term is “join”. Next search, I will remember to use “join” in my search, such as “join four tables in SQL server” or “join tables on multiple columns SQL server”.

All the transformation or formula used in excel have their equivalent in SQL server (or any other SQL flavor). In this way, all knowledge in excel could be easily translated to SQL server knowledge.

I hope this will help to inspire my friend to pick up SQL and expand her horizon of data analytics. Of course, this post is only inspirational. I will show my friend more about the three panels of SSMS and let her know that almost every other software (Toad, Jupyter) has similar design. Also, I will show some SQL scripts that is more relevant to her to get her further informed. From there, she should be fully equipped to learn on her own, including find the perfect online course that suits her goal and preferences.

Google changed the way of learning. Thirty years ago, the knowledge of the world from the past had been preserved in books. Now, the knowledge exists in the internet. So nowadays, I read google articles for knowledge and listen to audio books for inspiration.