Introduction to MS Excel – A Beginner’s Guide

Introduction to MS Excel – A Beginner’s Guide

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Rashmi
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 13, 2024 14:52 IST

Microsoft Excel has been around for decades and is one of the most desired skills if you are considering a career in data science or analysis. But there are still others who are starting to use it. Whether for work, school, or personal use, it can be a bit intimidating when you start out. In this blog, we cover the Introduction to MS Excel. Let’s get started with MS Excel, the most useful tool for crunching numbers and deriving information.

MS Excel intro

Content

What is Microsoft Excel?

MS Excel is a spreadsheet with a range of features and capabilities. Its applications in data analysis and information management are remarkable. MS Excel allows you to organize, edit and work on spreadsheets to obtain, analyze and transform data. You can add text, images, videos, objects, and many other elements to your spreadsheet to track, manage, and view information easily.

Excel is a Microsoft program with integrated spreadsheets that will allow us to carry out basic mathematical calculations up to much more complicated tasks. With Excel, we can work with multiple spreadsheets simultaneously.

How To Start Working With a New Excel Sheet?

Go to the Start menu of your system and search for Excel. 

How To Start Working With a New Excel Sheet?

After you have located the app, you can open it.

Excel app

This is the 1st step towards creating your Excel sheet. This is what the black sheet looks like.

black excel sheet

Once you open your new Excel sheet, you will see Sheet 1 mentioned on the lower left. You can perform different functions as mentioned below –

  • Add a spreadsheet: Click the plus button at the bottom next to your last sheet.
  • Rearrange worksheets: Hold the sheet tab and drag it to its new spot in the workbook.
  • Name a spreadsheet: Double-click the sheet tab and type the new name. By default, you’ll see them named Sheet 1, Sheet 2, etc.
  • Color a spreadsheet tab: Right-click on the sheet tab, and under Tab Color, just click to apply a new one.
  • Protect a spreadsheet: Right-click the sheet tab and under Protect Sheet, add a password, and select your options.
  • Move or copy a spreadsheet: Right-click the sheet tab and select Move or Copy. You can then move the sheet to another point in the workbook, move it to a different workbook, and make a copy for each case.
  • Delete a spreadsheet: Right-click the sheet tab and click Delete. You will need to confirm this action in the next pop-up window.
Add/Create/Delete Tabs

Excel Ribbon

Now, let’s move on to a crucial element of the Excel worksheet: the ribbon. The ribbon is similar to that available with other Microsoft Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, etc. The ribbon holds the buttons that you will use inside the tabs. You can customize the ribbon to remove or add both tabs and buttons. But you will likely see the tabs below by default.

This ribbon has a series of menus and submenus that are located at the top of the main interface. These will give us access to most of the integrated functions of the program. The truth is that here we are going to have a good number of functions and features, so let’s see some of the primary aspects of the ribbon.

File: Create a new workbook, open an existing one, save, print, and share workbooks.

File

Home: Manage the clipboard, font, alignment, numbers, style, cells, and editing.

Home

Insert: Insert tables, charts, pictures, links, etc.

Insert

Page Layout: Adjust the spreadsheet theme, page setup, scale to fit, and sheet options.

Page Layout

Formula: Choose a formula and a function from the library and perform the formula audit.

Formula

Data: Manage data, use data tools, analyze, group, ungroup, etc.

Data

Review: Use tools for spelling, thesaurus, language, feedback, etc.

Review

View: Change the workbook view, items to display, zoom in or out, and work with windows.

View

Rows and Columns in Excel

Excel has a structure of different spreadsheets which can be linked. Each spreadsheet works with columns and rows. A Cell establishes the relationship between rows and columns.

Rows: The rows within an Excel Sheet are arranged in a horizontal manner. They are sorted numerically from top to bottom and are on the right-hand side of the Excel sheet.

rows

Columns: Excel columns give a vertical order to the data and are identified by Letters, they are located at the top of the Excel sheet.

columns

Cells: Cells are the point of intersection between the Rows and the Columns. In the image below, you can see the marking of the cell as A2 in a rectangular box, which suggests the data is present in Column – A and Row – 2.

Cells

Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is a customizable toolbar with a set of commands independent of the ribbon. It is located at the top left of the Excel window. And it’s important because it allows you to undo or redo an action and save your file quickly.

Quick Access Toolbar

You can customize the Quick Access Toolbar and keep the options you want or use frequently.

Saving the Sheet

Go to File. This interface will appear. 

Saving the Sheet

You can now save your sheet by the required filename at the desired location using the below - 

Save as – File name

Save as Type – Excel Workbook

Save as Type
Save as

Wrapping Up

So that was all about the introduction to MS Excel. Now that you understand how the face of your MS Excel sheet looks, you may want to move forward and learn how the sheet works. We will be coming up with stepwise tutorials on different functions of MS Excel and will walk you through different functions of MS Excel. Hope you find the article interesting. 


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FAQs - Intro to Excel

How does Excel differ from other spreadsheet programs?

Excel stands out for its widespread use, extensive features, and integration with other Microsoft Office applications. It is known for its robust data analysis capabilities and versatility.

What are the main components of the Excel interface?

The Excel interface consists of the Ribbon (containing tabs and commands), the Workbook (the main file where data is stored), Worksheets (individual tabs within a workbook), Cells (individual data entry points), and Formulas and Functions for calculations.

How can I create a basic spreadsheet in Excel?

To create a basic spreadsheet, open Excel, select a blank workbook, and enter data into cells. Label columns and rows, format cells, and apply basic calculations.

What are Excel formulas, and how do they work?

Excel formulas are expressions that perform calculations on data in cells. They begin with an equal sign (=) and can include mathematical operators, cell references, and functions. Formulas update automatically when referenced data changes.

What is a function in Excel, and how is it different from a formula?

In Excel, a function is a predefined operation or calculation that simplifies specific tasks, such as mathematical calculations, text manipulation, date and time operations, and more. The main difference between formulas and functions is that functions have built-in formulas and syntax that users must follow, making them easy for everyday tasks without creating custom expressions. On the other hand, formulas are user-defined expressions that can include functions, operators, and cell references, allowing users to create customized calculations and operations tailored to their specific needs. Functions are ready-made tools provided by Excel, while formulas are user-created mathematical expressions.

Can Excel be used for tasks beyond simple spreadsheets?

Yes, Excel is versatile and can be used for various tasks, including project management, budgeting, creating databases, and even programming with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

About the Author
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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio

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