Exploring Excel

Excel is one of the most useful programs you have in Windows, but for many, it is also the most intimidating.  It is a great resource for compiling and organizing data quickly and efficiently.  Our next few blogs are intended to help you explore the world of Microsoft Excel, from the basics and advancing to some pretty cool stuff.  To start off, let’s go over some basic cell formatting information.

Cells are the rectangular boxes that appear when you open an Excel worksheet.  They have reference numbers and letters based on what column and row they are in, which gives you an easy point of reference.  Columns run vertically and are listed by letter at the top of the screen, while rows run horizontally and are listed on the left-hand side of your screen.

Each cell in a worksheet can be formatted with many properties. The six tabs of the “Format Cells” window contain all of the formatting options. Multiple cells can be formatted in one step by first selecting the cells by highlighting the ones you wish to format.

To move cell contents, right-click in the selected cell and click Cut. To copy cell contents, click Copy. Then right-click in the new location and click Paste. To paste a group of cells, right-click in the cell where the top left cell of the group should be located, and click Paste. Remove the animated border around the original cell by pressing the ESC key, or start typing in a new cell.

To insert a new row in a spreadsheet, right-click on a row number, and click Insert. Excel always inserts the row ABOVE the row that was clicked on. To delete a row, right-click on the row number, and click Delete.  To insert a new column, right-click on a column letter and click Insert. Excel always inserts the column to the LEFT of the column that was clicked on. To delete a column, right-click on the column letter, and click Delete.

Each cell in a worksheet can be formatted with many properties. The six tabs of the “Format Cells” window contain all of the formatting options. Multiple cells can be formatted in one step by first selecting the cells.  The “Format Cells” window can be accessed in all versions of Excel from the right-click menu. In Excel 2007 and 2010, some formatting options are available on the Home Tab on the Font, Alignment, and Number groups. To see formatting options not displayed, click the little arrow in the lower right corner of the group and the “Format Cells” window displays.

From there, you can format the alignment, font, borders, and data from several different tabs.  You can determine many of the formatting styles for appearance in Excel the same way you would in Word or Powerpoint.  However, as Excel is built to work with numerical data, much of the formatting will deal with formulas you use to populate data in the cells.  We will be exploring data formatting—the most exciting part of Excel—in further posts.  Hopefully this basic introduction helps get you comfortable with Excel.  It’s not too different from other Microsoft applications and can do some very cool things!

One thought on “Exploring Excel

  1. Pingback: 6 Essential Excel Tips « Cenetric, Inc.

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