In this section, we’ll take a look at the basic capabilities of Excel. I’ll also introduce you to a worksheet in its simplest form. If you are completely unfamiliar with Excel or any spreadsheet programs, you might find it helpful to think of a worksheet as one piece of paper in a notebook. The idea of a notebook in Excel is called a workbook. It represents one Excel file. This workbook file might contain only one worksheet, or it might contain many worksheets.
A worksheet is also called a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is structured with rows and columns. The rows and columns form a grid configured with information locations called cells. In a way, a spreadsheet looks like a checkers or scrabble board! Each cell can hold text, a numeric value, or some formula that does calculations using values from other cells.
A spreadsheet is really a report. Corporations use spreadsheets for reporting their financial statuses. You can find corporate spreadsheets on their websites. A spreadsheet can be complex, containing many formulas and functions for calculations. Spreadsheets even have features that allow businesses to forecast future scenarios! Spreadsheets have really made businesses more productive. It is indeed a very powerful tool that is used throughout the business world.
Spreadsheets have also made personal computing more productive as well. For instance, with a spreadsheet, you can quickly design a budget report for your family that does simple calculations. Can you imagine creating this type of report using just a pencil and paper? It was spreadsheets that made personal computers popular. The very first spreadsheet program called Lotus 123, was one of the major catalysts that caused the PC boom in the 1980s. People quickly realized that it was beneficial to have their own computers.
I suggest that you take a look at the features of the Excel window and learn the names of each, because I will refer to them continually throughout the rest of the course, and your text will also frequently use the terms. If you brush up on the terminology now, you will build a solid knowledge base that will help you complete your assignments.
As with Microsoft Word, the three parts of the Ribbon are tabs, groups, and commands.
There are nine tabs that represent the core tasks you complete in Excel. Each tab has groups that show related items, and the commands can be a button, a menu, or a box for you to enter information in.
The Excel window contains many of the components that you find in other Microsoft Windows programs, including menu, title, status, and scroll bars. You will also notice features in the Excel window that are different from the other Microsoft programs.
Cell references are important in Excel. When Excel refers to cells, it does so with a naming convention of column letter/row number. For example, if you have data in Column B, Row 3, the cell reference would be B3.
Inserting Rows and Columns
You can insert rows and columns in a worksheet, or you can insert single cells in a column or row. When you insert rows, Excel shifts the existing rows down. When you insert a column, Excel shifts the existing columns to the right.
Format Cells Dialog Box
There are several ways to select a cell and format cells. For our purposes, we will use the mouse right-click. To select a cell or range: right-click an active cell, select Format Cells, and then the Format Cells dialog opens. This dialog has six tabs: Number, Alignment, Font, Border, Fill, and Protection. The font relates to the text and is applied to letters, characters, and punctuation marks. The properties in the Font tab identify fonts by a font name or type face. As in document formatting, fonts are available in different sizes. You can change the font color and the background color of the cell.
Rotating Text Within a Cell
Excel has even more formatting options than have been discussed so far. For example, instead of wrapping the text, you can have Excel shrink it to fit the size of the cell. If you reduce the cell later on, Excel will automatically resize the text to match. You can also rotate the contents of a cell, displaying cell entry at almost any angle.
Page Setup Box
Another useful formatting feature is Page Setup. This is a tool with which you can choose to have headers and footers for a page and select the paper size you want to use, such as A4, legal, or letter size. You can also scale the printing of the worksheet; for example, you can select 90% or select that the worksheet fit to a single page. Note: If you select to have a worksheet fit to a single page, you may not be able to read the printed sheet. In Page Setup, you can also set the margins for the printed worksheet. A further feature is landscape or portrait orientation.