Excel Basics


Table of Contents

  1. Microsoft Excel
    1. What is Excel and what is it used for?
    2. What is Excel online?
    3. Which Excel version am I using?
    4. What is the default file extension?
  2. Excel Features
    1. What is the ribbon?
    2. What is an Excel function?
    3. What is a formula?
    4. What is conditional formatting?
    5. How can I filter values?
    6. How can I sort values?
    7. What is an Excel chart?
    8. What is a Pivot Table?
    9. What is an Excel defined Table?
    10. What is Advanced Filter?
    11. What is the Excel Solver?
    12. What is a Named Range?
    13. What is VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)?
    14. What is a macro?
    15. What is a user-defined function?
    16. What is the formula bar?
    17. What is the name bar?
    18. What is the status bar?
    19. What is the Quick Access Toolbar?
    20. What is a template?
    21. How do I find a specific value on a worksheet?
    22. How do I replace a specific value on a worksheet?
    23. What is AutoSum?
    24. What is the Fill feature on tab "Home" on the ribbon?
  3. Cell
    1. What is a cell?
    2. What is a cell range?
    3. What is a cell reference?
    4. How can I format a cell value?
    5. How can I format a cell range?
    6. How can I validate a cell value?
    7. How do I delete cell formatting?
    8. How do I delete a cell value?
    9. How do I change the cell color?
    10. How do I change the font color?
    11. How do I change the font?
    12. How can I change the font size?
    13. How do I copy a cell?
    14. How do I copy cell formatting?
    15. How do I insert a comment?
    16. How do I wrap text?
    17. How do I increase or decrease indent?
    18. How do I merge cells?
    19. How do I rotate cell values?
    20. How do I align a value vertically in a cell?
    21. How do I align a value horizontally in a cell?
    22. How can I format a data set quickly?
    23. What is a cell style?
    24. How do I insert a cell?
    25. How do I bold a value?
    26. How do I italicize a value?
    27. How do I underline a value?
    28. How do I change the size of all cells?
  4. Row
    1. What is a row?
    2. How do I insert a row?
    3. How do I delete a row?
    4. How do I change the height of a row?
  5. Column
    1. What is a column?
    2. How do I change the width of a column?
    3. How do I insert a column?
  6. Worksheet
    1. What is a worksheet?
    2. How do I insert a new worksheet?
    3. How do I delete a worksheet?
    4. How do I hide a worksheet?
    5. How do I unhide a worksheet?
    6. How do I password protect a worksheet?
  7. Workbook
    1. What is a workbook?
    2. How do I create a new workbook?
    3. How do I password protect a workbook?
  8. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Copy
    2. Paste
    3. Undo
    4. Redo
    5. Select contiguous cell range
  9. Select values
    1. How do I select a cell range?
    2. How do I only select cells containing text?
    3. How do I only select cells containing numbers?
    4. How do I only select cells containing blanks?
    5. How do I only select cells containing formulas?
    6. How do I only select cells containing formula errors?

Microsoft Excel

What is Excel and what is it used for?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that allows you to store values in a tabular cell grid containing rows and columns. The layout makes it really easy to perform calculations or manipulating text.

Many companies use Excel to track capital flow, create budgets, graph important data, forecast trends and highlight outliers.

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What is Excel online?

Excel online is a free Excel version that requires an internet connection and a microsoft account, however it lacks some features compared to the paid version.

For example, VBA is not available in the free version of Microsoft Excel. There are other spreadsheets apps online that are free of charge, as well. The most known is perhaps Google spreadsheets.

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Which Excel version am I using?

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click "File" on the ribbon.
  3. Click "Account".

The Excel version is now displayed on your account page.

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What is the default file extension?

Excel version 2007 and later versions use the default *.xlsx file extension, earlier Excel versions use the default file extension *.xls.

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Features

What is the ribbon?

The ribbon was introduced in Excel 2007 and replaces the menus and toolbars in previous versions of Excel. The ribbon is located at the very top of the Excel Program, it contains buttons and icons categorized into tabs.

The tabs are "Home", "Insert", "Page Layout", "Formulas", "Data", "Review", "View" and "Add-Ins".

You can easily hide the ribbon simply by double-clicking on one of the tabs, repeat the process and the ribbon is back. This allows you to get more workspace on screen if needed.

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What is an Excel function?

An Excel function is a predefined tool that you can use in a formula to accomplish a specific task. There are hundreds of functions and more are added by Microsoft in every new Excel version that is released.

For example, functions may perform arithmetic and mathematical calculations, financial and statistical operations.

Please visit the Function Reference to see a list of most Excel Functions and how to use.

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What is a formula?

A formula is a calculation that takes place in a cell or multiple cells, often based on Excel functions, arithmetical operators, cell references and constants.

Check out the basic formulas and the advanced formulas.

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What is conditional formatting?

Conditional formatting is a feature that allows you to change the formats of a cell or cell range based on the value of the cell itself or a formula.

Please check out the Conditional formatting section to find examples.

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How can I filter values?

The easiest way, in my opinion, is to right click on the cell you want to filter. For example, to filter color blue simply right click on one of the cells containing value blue.

Click on "Filter" then on "Filter by Selected Cell's value".

This filters out all values except rows containing value blue in column B.

You can also use the AutoFilter tool or an Excel defined Table to filter values, however, it requires a few extra steps.

I recommend the Advanced Filter if you need to apply more complicated filters.

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How can I sort values?

Simply right click on any value on the column you want to sort. Then click "Sort" and "Sort smallest to largest" or "Sort largest to smallest" if the column contains numbers.

If the column contains text values you will get the option to "Sort from A to Z" or "Sort from Z to A".

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What is an Excel chart?

A chart is a very useful feature in Excel that allows you to visualize data in many different predefined designs. You may also easily change their attributes in several ways.

Check out the charts category for available chart designs, tips & tricks.

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What is a Pivot Table?

A pivot table in Excel is probably the most powerful feature but also the least known. It lets you reorganize and summarize rows and columns without changing the data source.

It is extremely user-friendly and creates reports with incredible speed even with huge amounts of data.

Please visit the Pivot Table category for more in-depth articles.

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What is an Excel defined Table?

It is a cell range containing data that Excel has defined as an Excel Table. This gives you a lot more capabilities like:

  • Easily format data.
  • Filter and Sort.
  • Cell references are easier to create.
  • Table headers remain visible while scrolling.
  • Tables expand automatically.
  • You can add Totals.
  • Formulas are automatically entered in every cell in the same column.
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What is Advanced Filter?

The Advanced Filter lets you extract specific values and copy them to a new cell range, it is a lot more powerful than the AutoFilter tool.

You can use complex criteria such as "AND", "OR", "greater than", "less than", and "wildcard search" in many different combinations.

Check out the "Advanced Filter" category page for more information.

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What is the Excel Solver?

The Solver tool is an add-in that you can install for free, however, it is limited in calculation speed and features. It lets you do what-if analysis or finding an optimal value based on constraints located on the worksheet.

Make sure you visit the Solver category.

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What is a Named Range?

Excel allows you to name a cell in order to make life easier for you, let me explain. A cell reference may look like this AH111 but what it contains may be hard to remember.

If you name the cell taxrate then it is really obvious what it contains. I recommend that you name cells that you often use in your formulas.

This trick mkes it easier for you to write formulas and if you in the future go back to the formula you will easier understand what it does and how it works.

See more articles in the Named Ranges category.

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What is VBA?

VBA stands fore Visual Basic for Applications and is the programming language in Excel and most other Office applications. It allows you to create macros, user-defined functions, events and other cool stuff.

Read more about it in the VBA category.

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What is a macro?

A macro is program that you can write yourself in order to do tedious tasks autopmatically, for example, things you do repeatedly. A great way to learn writing your own macros is to record a macro while you perform tasks.

After you have recorded the tasks you can open the VB Editor and examine the code Excel has made for you. You can also run the macro and apply it to other cells, cell ranges, worksheets and workbooks. The possibilites are endless and much can be learnt from the macro recorder.

Check out macros I have made in the macro category.

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What is a user-defined function?

Excel lets you build your own functions using VBA code. For example, build your own function if you can't find a built-in function that works for you.

The user defined function shows up in the formula bar when you start to type the name of the user defined function. You can also use someone else user-defined function, simply copy and paste to a regular code module and the start using it.

Check out the functions I have made in the user defined functions category.

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What is the formula bar?

The formula bar is a toolbar above the cell grid that you can use to enter values or formulas. The fx button next to the formula bar lets you insert a function using a dialog box that gives you additional information about the formula you want to use.

The button next to the fx button functions the same as if you press Enter and the next button cancels the text you have typed in the formula bar.

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What is the name box?

The name box shows the currently selected cell, it also shows the number of rows and columns of a cell range that you have selected as long as you hold the left mouse button.

The Name Box shows if a cell or cell range has been named using the Name Manager. You can also use the Name Box to quickly create a name range.

Check out the Named range category.

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What is the status bar?

What is the Quick Access Toolbar?

What is a template?

How do I find a specific value on a worksheet?

How do I replace a specific value on a worksheet?

What is AutoSum?

What is the Fill feature on tab "Home" on the ribbon?

Cell

What is a cell?

What is a cell range?

What is a cell reference?

How can I format a cell value?

How can I format a cell range?

How can I validate a cell value?

How do I delete cell formatting?

How do I delete a cell value?

How do I change the cell color?

How do I change the font color?

How do I change the font?

How can I change the font size?

How do I copy a cell?

How do I copy cell formatting?

How do I insert a comment?

How do I wrap text?

How do I increase or decrease indent?

How do I merge cells?

How do I rotate cell values?

How do I align a value vertically in a cell?

How do I align a value horizontally in a cell?

How can I format a data set quickly?

What is a cell style?

How do I insert a cell?

How do I bold a value?

How do I italicize a value?

How do I underline a value?

How do I change the size of all cells?

Row

What is a row?

How do I insert a row?

How do I delete a row?

How do I change the height of a row?

Column

What is a column?

How do I change the width of a column?

How do I insert a column?

Worksheet

What is a worksheet?

How do I insert a new worksheet?

How do I delete a worksheet?

How do I hide a worksheet?

How do I unhide a worksheet?

How do I password protect a worksheet?

Workbook

What is a workbook?

How do I create a new workbook?

How do I password protect a workbook?

Excel Shortcuts

Copy

Paste

Undo

Redo

Select contiguous cell range

Selection

How do I select a cell range?

How do I only select cells containing text?

How do I only select cells containing numbers?

How do I only select cells containing blanks?

How do I only select cells containing formulas?

How do I only select cells containing formula errors?

Additional Info

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