WESTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Introduction to Microsoft
What Can I Do with Excel?
• You can enter two basic kinds of data into worksheet cells: numbers and text.
• You can use Excel to create budgets, to work with taxes, or to record student
• You can use Excel to list the products you sell or to record student
• You can even use Excel to track how much you exercise every day, and your
weight loss, or how much your house remodel is costing you. The possibilities
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Creating a new workbook
When you start Excel, you open a workbook that is called Book1. Each new workbook comes
with three worksheets, like pages in a document. You enter data into the worksheets.
(Worksheets are sometimes called spreadsheets.) The illustrated workbook has three tabs, one for
each of the three worksheets.
Click this tab to add a new worksheet.
It's a good idea to rename the sheet tabs to make the information on each sheet easier to identify.
For example, you might have sheet tabs called January, February, and March for budgets or
student grades for those months, or Northcoast and Westcoast for sales regions. You can add and
delete additional worksheets as needed. To rename the sheet tabs right-click on the tab and click
Rename in the menu options.
To create a new workbook:
• Click the Microsoft Office Button at the upper left.
• Then click New.
• In the New Workbook window, click Blank workbook.
The Office Ribbon
1. The Microsoft Office Button: This button takes the place of the File menu in previous
Things that you can do with the Office Button:
• Create a new document
• Open a document
• Save and Save as
• Open recent documents
• Word Options
2. Quick Access Toolbar: Commands can be added to and removed from this toolbar. This is
a good place to add commands that you use often.
3. Tabs: Sits across the top of the Ribbon. Once you select a given tab (Home, Insert, Page
Layout, etc.), different task buttons will appear.
4. Help Button: This button will open up a help window; you will need an Internet
connection to use this function.
How data is organized in Excel
Excel organizes data in a grid of cells, columns (1), and rows (2).
• Columns go from top to bottom on the worksheet, vertically. Column headings are
indicated by letters.
• Rows go from left to right on the worksheet, horizontally. Row headings are indicated by
• A cell is the space where one column and one row meet. The content of a cell is uniquely
identified based on the intersection where the column and row meet. To refer to a cell,
you will need to find the column letter and the row number. (For example, the first cell
in a worksheet is referred to as A1).
When you open a new workbook, the first cell is the active cell. It has a black outline. In the
second picture, cell C5 is selected and is the active cell. It is outlined in black.
1. Column C is highlighted.
2. Row 5 is highlighted.
3. Cell C5, the active cell, is shown in the Name Box in the upper-left corner of the
You can enter data by clicking any cell in the worksheet.
Keep in mind that there are 17,179,869,184 cells on each worksheet. You could get lost without
the cell reference to tell you where you are.
When you enter data, it's a good idea to start by entering titles at the top of each column and
beginning of each row so that anyone who shares your worksheet can understand what the data
means (and so that you can understand it yourself, later on).
In the above picture, the column titles are the months of the year, across the top of the worksheet.
To change the active cell, press TAB to move one cell to the right. Press ENTER to move down
Enter date and time
Excel aligns text on the left side of cells, but it aligns dates on the right side of cells.
To enter a date in column B, the Date column, you should use a slash or a hyphen to separate the
parts: 7/16/2009 or 16-July-2009. Excel will recognize this as a date.
If you need to enter a time, type the numbers, a space, and then "a" or "p" — for example, 9:00
p. If you enter just the number, Excel automatically recognizes a time and enters it as AM.
Tip: To enter today's date, press CTRL and the semicolon (;) together. To enter the current time,
press CTRL and SHIFT and the semicolon all at once.
Excel aligns numbers on the right side of cells.
To enter the sales amounts in column C, the Amount column, you would type the dollar sign ($),
followed by the amount.
Other numbers and how to enter them:
• To enter fractions, leave a space between the whole number and the fraction. For
example, 1 1/8.
• To enter a fraction only, enter a zero first. For example, 0 1/4. If you enter 1/4 without the
zero, Excel will interpret the number as a date, January 4.
• To enter a negative number, type the number in parenthesis, such as (100). Excel will
display the number as -100.
Quick ways to enter data
Here are two time-savers you can use to enter data in Excel:
AutoFill Enter the months of the year, the days of the week, multiples of 2 or 3, or other data
in a series. You type one or more entries, and then extend the series by dragging the corner of the
AutoComplete If the first few letters you type in a cell match an entry you've already made in
that column, Excel will fill in the remaining characters for you. Just press ENTER when you see
them added. This works for text or for text with numbers. It does not work for numbers only, for
dates, or for times.
1. Double-click a cell to edit the data in it.
2. Or, after clicking in the cell, edit the data in the formula bar.
3. The worksheet displays Edit in the status bar.
Remember to press ENTER or TAB when you are finished so that your changes stay in the cell.
Remove data formatting
Excel often formats your cells based on certain criteria. If you want to remove any formatting
automatically created by Excel, click in the cell and then, on the Home tab, in the Editing group,
click the arrow on the Clear Button image. Then click Clear Formats, which removes the
format from the cell. Or you can click Clear All to remove both the data and the formatting at
the same time.
To insert a column:
• Click any cell in the column immediately to the right of where you want the new column
to go. So if you want to add a column between columns B and C, you'd click a cell in
column C, to the right of the new location.
• Then, on the Home tab, in the Cells group, click the arrow on Insert.
• On the drop-down menu, click Insert Sheet Columns.
• A new blank column is inserted.
To insert a row:
• Click any cell in the row immediately below where you want the new row to go.
• For example, to insert a new row between row 4 and row 5, click a cell in row 5.
• Then in the Cells group, click the arrow on Insert.
• On the drop-down menu, click Insert Sheet Rows.
• A new blank row is inserted.
Sizing Rows and Columns
To change the size of a row or column, move your cursor over the top of the divider on the top
(for a column) or left side (for a row) of the spreadsheet. When the pointer turns into a cross with
arrows you can click and drag the divider to where you want it. You also can double-click on the
divider and it will automatically adjust to fit the data in the row or column.
How to save a file
To save a workbook in Excel:
• Click on the Office button and choose Save As.
• Where it says Save as Type choose, Excel 97-03 Workbook from the list.
• You will be asked to name the file and then choose a location for the file.
• Note: You can save the document as an Excel 2007 file, but if you will be sharing files
with someone who still uses Office 2003, they will be unable to open your file. It is best
practice to save your files as Excel 97-03 documents.
The two CDs purchased in February cost $12.99 and $16.99. The total of these two values is the
CD expense for the month.
You can add these values in Excel by typing a simple formula into cell C6.
Excel formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). Here's the formula typed into cell C6 to add
12.99 and 16.99:
The plus sign (+) is a math operator that tells Excel to add the values.
If you wonder later on how you got this result, the formula is visible in the formula bar Formula
bar near the top of the worksheet whenever you click in cell C6 again.
How to use math operators
Add (+) =10+5
Subtract (‐) =10‐5
Multiply (*) =10*5
Divide (/) =10/5
• Excel uses familiar signs to build formulas.
• To do more than add, use other math operators as you type formulas into worksheet cells.
• Remember to always start each formula with an equal sign.
Total all the values in a column
To add up the total of expenses for January, you don't have to type all those values again.
Instead, you can use a prewritten formula, called a function.
You can get the January total in cell B7 by highlighting the cells you want to add together, then
clicking Sum in the Editing group on the Home tab. This enters the SUM function, which
adds up all the values in a range of cells. To save time, use this function whenever you have
more than a few values to add up, so that you don't have to type the formula.
Pressing ENTER displays the SUM function result 95.94 in cell B7. The formula
=SUM(B3:B6) appears in the formula bar whenever you click in cell B7.
B3:B6 is the information, called the argument, which tells the SUM function what to add. By
using a cell reference (B3:B6) instead of the values in those cells, Excel can automatically update
results if values change later on. The colon (:) in B3:B6 indicates a cell range in column B, rows
3 through 6. The parentheses are required to separate the argument from the function.
Copy a formula
Sometimes it's easier to copy formulas than to create new ones. In this example, you'll see how to
copy the formula you used to get the January total and use it to add up the February expenses.
1. Drag the black cross from the cell containing the formula to the cell where the formula
will be copied, and then release the fill handle.
2. Auto Fill Options button appears but requires no actions.
Cell references Refer to values in
A10 the cell in column A and row 10
A10,A20 cell A10 and cell A20
A10:A20 the range of cells in column A and rows 10 through 20
B15:E15 the range of cells in row 15 and columns B through E
A10:E20 the range of cells in columns A through E and rows 10 through 20
Cell references can indicate particular cells or cell ranges in columns and rows.
You can type cell references directly into cells, or you can enter cell references by clicking cells,
which avoids typing errors.
In the first lesson you saw how to use the SUM function to add all the values in a column. You
could also use the SUM function to add just a few values in a column, by selecting the cell
references to include.
Imagine that you want to know the combined cost for video rentals and CDs in February. You
don't need to store the total, so you could enter the formula in an empty cell and delete it later.
The example uses cell C9.
The example shows you how to enter the formula. You would click the cells you want to include
in the formula instead of typing the cell references. A color marquee surrounds each cell as it is
selected and disappears when you press ENTER to display the result 45.94. The formula
=SUM(C4,C6) appears in the formula bar near the top of the worksheet whenever cell C9 is
The arguments C4 and C6 tell the SUM function what values to calculate with. The parentheses
are required to separate the arguments from the function. The comma, which is also required,
separates the arguments.
Simplify using formulas with functions
Function name Calculates
AVERAGE An average
MAX The maximum number
MIN The minimum number
SUM is just one of the many Excel functions. These prewritten formulas simplify the process of
entering calculations. Using functions, you can easily and quickly create formulas that might be
difficult to build.
To find the average of a range, click in cell D7, and then:
1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow on the Sum button , and
then click Average in the list.
2. Press ENTER to display the result in cell D7.
To find the largest value in a range, click in cell F7 and then:
1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow on the Sum button, and then
click Max in the list.
2. Press ENTER to display the result in cell F7.
You can print formulas and put them up on your bulletin board to remind you how to create
To print formulas, you need to display formulas on the worksheet:
• Click the Formulas tab, and in the Formula Auditing group, clicking Show Formulas
• Then click the Microsoft Office Button in the upper left, and click Print.
• Hide the formulas on the worksheet by repeating the step to display them.
• You can also press CTRL+` (the ` key is next to the 1 key on most keyboards) to display
and hide formulas.
• Displaying formulas can also help you spot errors.