How to Track Training in Microsoft Office

Training is the heart of any business operation. Whether teaching customer greeting and service or using sophisticated technology, businesses committed to training enjoy more efficient and productive staff and deliver better customer service than those who do not. Some business categories have legally mandated training requirements. The Microsoft Office Suite has two options for tracking employee training: Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access. The Excel system can be implemented by anyone with basic spreadsheet experience. Access, however, delivers more sophisticated methods for reporting and tracking.


Make a list of the training session titles employees are expected to complete. On a new spreadsheet, enter these column headings: "First Name," "Last Name" and the topic or session name in each subsequent column, using as many as needed. A column for an employee number or other identifier can also be added. Select the “Print Titles” command from the “Page Setup” group on the Ribbon's “Page Layout” tab and create the "Title" row. Enter “$1:$1" in the "Title Row" field.

Enter the names of all employees and any identification numbers in the appropriate columns.

Select cell "A1" and, while holding the left mouse button down, drag to select all the rows and all of the columns in which data will be entered. Select the “Format as a Table” command in the “Styles” group on the “Home” tab. Verify the "Data Range" field and check the box that says “My Table has Headers.”

Select all the rows and columns into which training dates will be entered. On the “Home” tab, select the preferred date format from the “General” dropdown box in the “Number” group. Save the spreadsheet.

Enter the appropriate date in the correct column and row when an employee completes the required training. Using the "Table" format allows one-click sorting by column when preparing reports. Save the spreadsheet after each new data entry.


Create a new Access database. Rename "Table 1" as "Employee Training Record" or a preferred alternate name. Open the "Table Design View" from the "View" group on the "Home" tab. The first field, "ID," is set as the primary key by default. Access will auto number this field or by using the "Field Properties" pane, you can create a mask or other formatting to meet your business needs, such as adding the employee ID numbers.

Enter these field names and any other fields to capture desired data, such as "First Name," "Last Name," "Training Topic" or "Date Completed." Other fields to record may include "Grades," "Performance" and "Notes or Comments." Set the appropriate data type and format properties. Remember to select "Date/Time" for the "Date" field data type.

Save the table. Switch to "Table View" in the "View" group on the "Home" tab.

Select "Form Wizard" from the "Forms" group on the "Create" tab to open the design dialog box. Select each desired "Available Field" from the left column and move to the "Selected Field" column pressing the ">" button for individual fields or the ">>" to move all the fields at one time. Click the "Next" button.

Choose the desired layout for the form from the "Layout" dialog box. Click the "Next" button. Name the "Form" in the next dialog box or keep the default match to the table name. Decide whether to accept the Wizard-designed form or modify the design. If modifying the form, click the "Next" button. If using the default design, click the "Finish" button. Save the form.

Fill in the data for each employee and training session when the information is available. Use the "Form" view for data entry and the "Table" view for filtering data and creating reports. Records are saved automatically when the data are entered.


  • Excel allows for simple searches and reports based exclusively on sorting. Access permits sophisticated record keeping and reporting, allowing multiple filters to create reports by employee, training session or any other field or data selection. Access field names cannot have spaces; create a plain language caption to head report columns. For example, a "TrainingSessionName" field might be captioned "Training Session" for reports.


  • Do not use Social Security numbers as employee identification numbers; this opens the business to identity theft liability.

About the Author

Eric Jay Toll has been writing since 1970, influenced by his active lifestyle. An outdoorsman, businessman, planner and travel writer, Toll's work appears in travel guides for the Navajo Nation, "TIME" and "Planning" magazines and on various websites. He studied broadcast marketing and management at Southern Illinois University.