Excel vs Excell? What's the Difference?

Excel vs Excell? What’s the Difference?

It is common to think that the word excell is just a common misspelling of excel, especially because an internet search will only bring up results for excel. However, the word is actually proper, just in a completely different way than excel.

Excell is a misspelling of excel, but it is also proper as a last name. It is commonly confused as excel because the past tense version of the word is excelled.


Excell is really just excel spelled incorrectly. Most people assume that since the past tense version of excel is excelled, you just take off the -ed and get the right word. While this is the case for most past tense words, it is not the case for this one.

Excell is also commonly used as a last name. This name is of Anglo-Saxton and Old British origin. It is mostly used by those who are from Exhall or near Stratford, Warwickshire. The last name first appears as early as the 13th century.


Excel has several different meanings. First, the word is a verb. As a verb, excel. Means to do or be better than others. If you are top of your graduating class, you excel in your academics.

Excel can also be used as a transitive verb to mean surpassing in achievement or accomplishment. As an intransitive verb, excel means to surpass others.

The word is also a name given to a program offered by Microsoft for making spreadsheets and tables for things like record-keeping and planning.

The cotton factories in that town excel at producing printed cotton.

It is not helpful when parents pressure their children to excel.

I usually excel in subjects like math and science.

Microsoft Excel is a great way to keep track of your spending.

Other Forms of Excel
The main reason that excel gets misspelled as excell is because there are other versions of excel that use two L’s instead of one. For example, “excelled” is the past tense and past participle version of excel. The present participle of excel is excelling.

If you think of the common rule that you remove -ed or -ing to get the base word, it makes sense why people so commonly misspell this word. However, it is one of those words that adds an extra letter in front of -ed or -ing to make the word proper.

Examples of Excelled
I’ve always excelled in reading.

I know he’s always excelled in everything he’s done.

In high school, she excelled in basketball, softball, and track.

Examples of Excelling
Based on your report card, you are excelling in all of your classes.

Even after all they’ve been through, the kids continue excelling in their academics and after-school activities.

How to Remember the Difference
If you are having a hard time keeping track of excel and excell, don’t worry. It is easy to keep them apart and make sure you are using the right word.

You can think of the extra L at the end of excell as lame (as in wrong). This will help you remember that this is the wrong spelling of the word, and you should not use it. If Excell is someone’s last name, then this spelling is correct, but that is the only instance it will be correct.

It can be extremely difficult to make sure you are spelling words properly. While excell seems like it should be a proper word, it is actually a common misspelling of the word excel. The only time Excell is correct is when it is being used as someone’s last name.