Guide to Excel

Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program which is part of Microsoft Office. A spreadsheet is software that allows numerical data to be used to perform automatic calculations on numbers contained in a table. Complex calculations can also be done by creating tables called worksheets.

Microsoft Excel can be used for storing, organizing and manipulating data. This program saves time, because tasks that take hours on paper can be done quickly in a spreadsheet.

The first version of Excel for Mac was released in 1985. The first Windows version was released two years later, and by 1988 was outselling Lotus 1-2-3. Excel was the first spreadsheet that allowed the user to change the appearance of a spreadsheet by changing fonts, cell appearance, and character attributes.

A spreadsheet consists of a grid using columns and rows. It can be compared to a paper ledger. The intersection of each column and row is called a cell. Cells can contain numbers, text, or formulas, which are mathematical equations that perform calculations. All formulas in excel must begin with an equal sign.

On the rectangular grid, horizontal rows are identified by numbers, and vertical columns are identified by letters of the alphabet. After 26 columns, the columns are identified with two letters such as AA, AB, and AC. Each cell has a cell reference, which is the identification of the row and column. For example, the top left cell is identified as A1. Three columns over to the right, the cell would be C1.

Formulas are used for calculations. Built in formulas for common tasks are called functions. There are many different types of formulas from very simple to very complex. Formulas can add, subtract, multiply, and perform functions such as averages and counts.

In spreadsheets, data can be sorted, filtered, and manipulated. Each worksheet can have additional sheets, and a formula from one worksheet can reference data in an adjoining worksheet. Excel can also be used for graphing and charting data. Data entered into a spreadsheet can be turned into line graphs, pie charts, and bar graphs.


To learn more about Microsoft Excel and how to use it, visit the following sites.

Excel is a very useful program for both business and home life, and it’s not difficult to learn. Students pursuing business degrees should learn Microsoft Excel, because this program is commonly used in many business situations to create reports, and to forecast and analyze data. At home, Excel can be used to create budgets as well as track income and expenses. Calendars, schedules, and contact lists can be created in Excel. There are many more uses for this powerful program.