Excel Lesson 1: Part 1 (Starting Excel)
Microsoft Excel is the world-leading spreadsheet package. You almost certainly will have heard of it and maybe used it yourself already. It dominates any situation where you need to process and analyze data – financial and otherwise. In this series of sessions, you will become confident in its use.
STEP 1: Locating and Launching Excel
There are two ways to locate and launch Excel. The first one is to search for it in the Windows search bar (or equivalent on another platform) in the bottom left-hand corner and then click the application.
The second is to find it on your task bar at the bottom of the screen. Again, simply click the icon.
In either case, you should see the following on screen. Click ‘New Blank Workbook’.
STEP 2: Creating/Opening a Workbook
NOTE: A ‘Workbook’ is a collection of individual ‘Worksheets’ (often just called ‘sheets’). Each Worksheet belongs to a single Workbook, but a given Workbook may contain, one, two or multiple Worksheets – see below. When you save an Excel file, you are saving a Workbook (not an individual Worksheet). Worksheets are accessed via tabs at the bottom of the Workbook. Just click them.
1 x Worksheet
3 x Worksheets
You should now have an empty Workbook on screen, containing one empty Worksheet.
STEP 3: Navigating Around Excel
Like all Microsoft tools, Excel has a pretty standardized layout and a familiar ‘look and feel’. In this section we will very briefly introduce each of the major menu options. Each will be covered in much greater depth and detail in subsequent sessions.
The HOME menu is the default starting place when you open an existing Workbook or create a new one. It is here that you can edit text, add shading, format layouts, insert and delete rows and columns etc.
The INSERT menu allows you to add pictures, shapes, icons, graphs, headers, footers, equations, hyperlinks and many other wonderful creations.
The PAGE LAYOUT menu is rather self-explanatory and lets you add margins, backgrounds, change the orientation of the Workbook etc.
The FORMULAS menu is again self-describing and for Excel, a key feature.
The DATA menu allows you to import data from a range of sources, format it, sort and process it.
The REVIEW menu lets you spell-check, add comments, add security features and even translate.
The VIEW menu permits you to look at the final spreadsheet in different formats and styles.
The HELP menu does what it says.
The final menu option is FILE which displays:
As noted, we will be covering all of the above menu options in much greater depth and detail in later sessions. The task in this first Excel session is simply to get to know your way around the interface.
STEP 4: Changing Workbook Views
Before we finish this first session, we will briefly look at some of the options under the VIEW menu where we can manipulate and control how the spreadsheet appears.
By default, each Worksheet is shown in ‘Normal’ view. That is the view shown above.
Once you start to have multiple Worksheets in a Workbook, seeing the ‘big picture’ can become difficult. In the example here we have three Worksheets so rather than keep clicking on each tab in turn, you can switch to ‘Page Layout’ view and see them all side-by-side.
Returning to the ‘Normal’ view, you can turn on/off gridlines, headings and the formula bar.
Here they are all switched ON:
Now we turn them all OFF:
Quite a difference and not immediately obvious why you would want to do this – but it is there if needed. Experiment for yourself.
As with other MS Office tools, you can also zoom in and out. The default is 100%.
So, there are many different ways to look at your Worksheets.
STEP 5: Creating New Windows
Maybe you wish to create a completely new and separate Workbook? Rather than launching Excel again, you can simply click the ‘New Window’ option
This will keep the original Workbook open and open a second one – as shown below:
You can now move between Workbooks at will. Note that neither Workbook has been saved – yet. We cover saving options in the next session. There is no need to save anything now – simply choose FILE followed by CLOSE.
Step 6: Re-naming each Worksheet
To conclude this lesson, we change the default names of each Worksheet tab into something more meaningful. This is important when you have multiple Worksheets inside a Workbook. It allows the user to quickly navigate between sheets. Select the tab, click the right mouse button and select ‘Rename’:
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