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How to Use Excel

How to Use Excel

To create effective and professional spreadsheets, you will have to know the basics of Excel. Knowing some of the formulas and properties, will help you in your endeavors with this application.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Excel is a spreadsheet application, that has been written and distributed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. With this application, one can calculate, make graphs, pivot tables, etc. It also features the macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications, abbreviated as VBA. It is one of the most widely used spreadsheet applications, since the version 5 launch in 1993.
Basic Operations
When you launch Microsoft Excel, a workbook with three sheets will open, unless you have changed the settings. Now, when you look at the left-hand bottom corner, you will see Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3. Right click or double click on it and you will be able to change the name of the sheet. Since there are multiple sheets, you will be able to establish relation between the different sheets.
In case you want to add more sheets to the spreadsheet, you will have to go to the Insert menu and select worksheet there. With this, a worksheet will be inserted before/after the selected sheet. An alternative to this, is to right click on the name of the sheet in the tab at the left-hand bottom corner and select Insert.
To use the cells (the rectangle ones) in the spreadsheet, you can simply click on the cell and enter the data. To move to the next cell, you will have to simply press the enter key or use the mouse to move to the desired cell. If you want to move to the row above the current row, then you will have to hold down the shift key and then press the enter key. For moving to the cell to the right of the current cell, i.e. to the next column, you will have to hit the tab key. Alternatively for all these functions, you can also use the up, down, left, right keys.
Formulas
If you have launched the spreadsheet by now, you must have noticed that the columns are labeled with letters, whereas the rows are labeled using numbers. Hence, the topmost cell on the left-hand side is numbered as A1. To highlight an entire row or column, you will have to click either on the number or letter.
Whenever you want to enter a formula for a particular cell, the first thing that goes into the cell is '='. For example, if you want to take an average, then you will have to type '=average', open a circular bracket and then specify the starting cell, followed by a colon and then ending cell, followed by a closing circular bracket and press enter. Therefore, the formula will look likes =average(A1:A9).
Similarly, you can use the keyword 'sum'. To know, which are the list of keywords, you can click on Insert and then on Function. Similarly, if you want data in a certain column to be multiplied by a certain number then you can click in that cell and write in C1 '=B1*10', etc. Instead of typing the formula in all the cells below, you will have to highlight C1 till C10, then click on Edit tab on the tool bar and select Fill and Down. When you are using the formulas, you will have to use them using the basic rules of mathematics, so that you do not have erroneous answers.
Graph
To make graphs in Excel, the first step is to enter the data that you want to make a graph of. Then highlight the data that you want to graph. However, make sure you do not include the heading titles. After you have selected the data, go to Insert and select chart option. An alternative is to click on Chart Wizard button on the standard tool bar.
In the chart wizard which appears, select the chart type you want. After you have selected the chart type, you will have to click and hold the mouse pointer down on the press and hold the button to see how the data looks like in the chart type you have chosen. In case you did not like the look of the chart, opt for another chart type. If you are fine with the current format, select finish and you will see the completed chart on the spreadsheet.
To become proficient at this application, you will have to dabble a little, so that you are able to come up with different possibilities that exist there.