Working with Excel


Excel is the spreadsheet application of Microsoft Office.  A spreadsheet is a grid of rows and columns containing numbers, text, and formulas.  The purpose of a spreadsheet is to solve problems involving numbers. 

Advantages of a spreadsheet:

·        Perform calculations more quickly and more accurately than by hand.

·        Flexibility—easy to make changes

·        Versatility—can be used for a variety of applications



1.                 Click on the icon on the desktop or

2.                 Start, Programs, Microsoft Excel



Worksheet—term refers to computerized spreadsheet

Workbook—a collection of worksheets

Column—vertical, identifies by letters

Rows—horizontal, identified by numbers

Cell Reference—intersection of column and row identified by column letter and row number (A1, B3, etc.)

Highlight—entry point indicated by border around cell

Active cell—a highlighted cell.  Must be active to enter data

Formula Bar—above worksheet and displays cell contents or formula



Use Arrow keys

Scroll with mouse

Click on cell

Edit, Go To, Cell Reference

Home—takes you to first cell of a row

Ctrl + Home—takes you to cell A1

Ctrl + End—takes you to the last cell containing data

Page Up/Page Down—takes you up/down one window



          A cell must be selected to enter or format data.  A group of cells can be selected.  A range is a group of cells that touch each other forming a rectangle.  A range is identified by the cell in the upper left corner and the cell in the lower right corner separated by a colon (A1:B3).

·        Data in cells can be text, numbers, or formulas/functions.

·        To enter data, select the cell to make it active and enter the contents.  Press enter to have the cell accept the data.


·        Edit, Undo or undo button on toolbar will undo recent actions.

·        Edit Data—select cell and make changes in the formula bar, press enter to accept

·        Replace Data—select cell and enter new data, press enter to accept

·        Clear Data—select cell and press the delete or backspace key.  Can use Edit, Clear from menu.


Save:  File, Save As; save button on toolbar, Ctrl + S

Print:  File, Print, print button on toolbar, Ctrl + P



          Column Width: 

If a column is too narrow for the data in the cell, one of the following happens:

1.                 series of numbers signs (#############)

2.                 Data is truncated—data is cut off at beginning of next cell

3.                 Data runs into next column

4.                 Data format is changed

Change by

1.                 Format, Column, Width.

2.                 Drag the right edge of the column with double arrow

3.                 Format, Column, AutoFit—adjusts column width automatically based on contents


Text Positions: Format, Cells, Alignment Tab

1.                 Wrapped—adjusts row height so that all texts fits on several rows in cell

2.                 Indent Text—helps set of headings/titles

3.                 Rotate—displays text at an angle

4.                 Left/Center/Right—alignments on toolbar

5.                 Merge and Center—merges multiple cells into one cell and centers text in the new merged cell.


Formatting Cells

          You can change the fonts, font size, color, alignment, format style, etc. the same as in Word using buttons on the formatting toolbar or Format, Cells menu.


Borders can be placed around a single cell or a range of cells using the Format, Cells, Border dialog box.  There is a border button on the formatting toolbar.         

Numbers can be formatted using the Format Cells dialog box or button on the toolbar.  Common formats are currency, percent, comma style, and number of decimals.



          You can cut/copy/paste data in Excel the same as you can in Word.  Select the cell or range you want copied and choose the proper command.  Highlight the first cell where you want the data pasted and choose the proper command.  Note:  if there is already data in the cell or range you are pasting to, it will be replaced with new data.

          Cut—Ctrl + X; Edit, Cut; button on toolbar

          Copy—Ctrl + C; Edit, Copy; button on toolbar

          Paste—Ctrl + V; Edit, Paste; button on toolbar


          The Fill commands copy data from a single cell into adjacent cells.  You can fill down, up, right, left, or series.

          To use the fill command, you highlight the cell you are copying from and the adjacent cells where you want the data pasted.  Use the Edit, Fill menu or you can drag the lower right corner of the cell to the adjacent cells (works on fill down/fill right/fill series only).



Insert/Delete Rows and Columns from the Insert menu.  You will be asked if you want to shift cells.

Select the row number at the right or the column number at the top to insert an entire row/column without shifting cells.

Freeze Titles by selecting the cell below/to the right of where you want titles frozen and select Window, Freeze Panes.  Remove a freeze command by selecting the cell again and choosing Window, Unfreeze Panes.

Protecting a worksheet prevents anyone from making changes by accident.  Tools, Protection to turn on/off.  Can be password protected.


File, Page Set Up dialog box lets you make print preference changes such as landscape, margins, header/footers, gridlines, repeat rows, page order for multi-page worksheets, or select the print area to only print a certain part of the worksheet.  Print Preview allows you to see what the page will look like printed prior to printing.