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BASICS OF MS-EXCEL
MS-Excel 2000 is a Windows based application package. It is
quite useful in entering, editing, analysis and storing of data.
Arithmetic operations with numerical data such as addition,
subtraction, multiplication and division can also be done with
Excel. You can sort the numbers/characters according to some
given criteria (like ascending, descending etc.)and solve simple
financial, mathematical and statistical formulas.
After going through this lesson you would be in a position to
l explain the basic features of MS Excel
l set pages and their printing
l modify a worksheet
l enter and edit data in a worksheet
l work on keyboard shortcuts
Basics of MS Excel :: 227
12.3 EXCEL FEATURES
There are a number of features that are available in Excel to
make your task easier. Some of the main features are:
AutoFormat - lets you to choose many preset table formatting
1 AutoSum - helps you to add the contents of a cluster of
2 List AutoFill - automatically extends cell formatting when a
new item is added to the end of a list.
3 AutoFill - feature allows you to quickly fill cells with repetitive
or sequential data such as chronological dates or numbers,
and repeated text. AutoFill can also be used to copy functions.
You can also alter text and numbers with this feature.
4 AutoShapes toolbar will allow you to draw a number of
geometrical shapes, arrows, flowchart elements, stars and
more. With these shapes you can draw your own graphs.
5 Wizard - guides you to work effectively while you work by
displaying various helpful tips and techniques based on what
you are doing.
Drag and Drop - feature will help you to reposition the data
and text by simply dragging the data with the help of mouse.
6 Charts - features will help you in presenting a graphical
representation of your data in the form of Pie, Bar, Line charts
7 PivotTable - flips and sums data in seconds and allows you
to perform data analysis and generating reports like periodic
financial statements, statistical reports, etc. You can also
analyse complex data relationships graphically.
8 Shortcut Menus - commands that are appropriate to the
task that you are doing appear by clicking the right mouse
12.4 STARTING EXCEL
1. Click on (with the help of mouse) the Start button on the
Windows 98 Taskbar at the bottom of the Screen
2. Highlight the Programs item. The program menu will open.
228 :: Basic Computing Skills
3. Select Microsoft Excel from the list of programs. (these steps
are shown Figure 12.1)
4. Click on Microsoft Excel
Symbolically these actions are shown below.
Select Start→Programs→Microsoft Excel commands from your
Throughout the text of your lessons on MS Excel we will be
showing the symbol → to indicate the direction (steps) you have
You can also use the Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar (MSOB) as
shown in figure 12.1 to start your work on Excel.
12.5 EXCEL WORKSHEET
Excel allows you to create worksheets much like paper ledgers
that can perform automatic calculations. Each Excel file is a
workbook that can hold many worksheets. The worksheet is a
grid of columns (designated by letters) and rows (designated by
Basics of MS Excel :: 229
numbers). The letters and numbers of the columns and rows
(called labels) are displayed in gray buttons across the top and
left side of the worksheet. The intersection of a column and a
row is called a cell. Each cell on the spreadsheet has a cell address
that is the column letter and the row number. Cells can contain
either text, numbers, or mathematical formulas.
12.5.1 Selecting, Adding and Renaming Worksheets
The worksheets in a workbook are accessible by clicking the
worksheet tabs just above the status bar. By default, three
worksheets are included in each workbook. To add a sheet, select
Insert→Worksheet from the menu bar. To rename the worksheet
tab, move the cursor to sheet tab, right-click on the tab with the
mouse and select Rename from the shortcut menu. Type the
new name and press the ENTER key.
Sheet Tab Status Bar
Cell Number Box
Standard Tool Bar
Menu Bar Formatting
Row Headings Horizontal
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12.5.2 Standard Toolbar
This toolbar is located just below the menu bar at the top of the
screen and allows you to quickly access basic Excel commands.
1. New - Select File→New from the menu bar, or press CTRL+N,
or click the New button to create a new workbook.
2. Open - Click File→Open from the menu bar, or press
CTRL+O, or click the Open folder button to open an existing
3. Save - The first time you save a workbook, select File→Save
As and name the file. After the file is named click File→Save,
or CTRL+S, or the Save button on the standard toolbar.
4. Print - Click the Print button to print the worksheet.
5. Print Preview - This feature will allow you to preview the
worksheet before it prints.
6. Spell Check - Use the spell checker to correct spelling errors
on the worksheet.
7. Cut, Copy, Paste, and Format Painter - These actions will
be explained to you later in this lesson.
8. Undo and Redo - Click the backward Undo arrow to cancel
the last action you performed like entering data into a cell,
formatting a cell, entering a function, etc. Click the forward
Redo arrow to cancel the undo action.
9. Insert Hyperlink - To insert a hyperlink to a web site on the
Internet, type the text into a cell you want to be the link that
can be clicked with the mouse. Then, click the Insert
Hyperlink button and enter the web address you want the
text to link to and click OK.
10. AutoSum, Function Wizard, and Sorting - These features
are discussed in lesson 15.
Basics of MS Excel :: 231
11. Chart and Drawing - These feature are discussed in
12. Zoom - To change the size that the worksheet appears on
the screen, choose a different percentage from the Zoom
12.6 SELECTING CELLS AND RANGES
To enter data into your worksheet you must first have a cell or
range selected. When you open an Excel worksheet, cell A1 is
already active. An active cell will appear to have a darker border
around it than other cells on the worksheet. The simplest way
to select a cell is with your mouse pointer. Move your mouse to
the desired cell and click on it with right button. Whatever you
type goes into the cell. To select a range of cells, click on one
cell, hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse pointer
to the last cell of the range you want to select. You can also use
keyboard shortcuts given at the end of this lesson for selecting
12.7 NAVIGATING THE WORKSHEET
You can advance through your worksheet by rows with the vertical
scrollbar or by columns with the horizontal scrollbar (see Figure
13.2). when you click and drag the thumb tab on the scrollbar,
a Screen Tip will appear alongside the bar identifying the row or
column to which your view is advancing. You can also use
keyboard shortcuts given at the end of this lesson for navigating
12.8 DATA ENTRY
You can enter various kinds of data in a cell.
1. Numbers: Your numbers can be from the entire range of
numeric values: whole numbers (example, 25), decimals
(example, 25.67) and scientific notation (example,
0.2567E+2). Excel displays scientific notation automatically
if you enter a number that is too long to be viewed in its
entirety in a cell. You may also see number signs (# # # # #
#) when a cell entry is too long. Widening the column that
contains the cell with the above signs will allow you to read
2. Text: First select the cell in which data has to be entered
and type the text. Press ENTER key to finish your text entry.
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The text will be displayed in the active cell as well as in the
Formula bar. If you have numbers to be treated as text use
an apostrophe (‘) as the first character. You cannot do
calculations with these kind of data entry.
3. Date and Time: When you enter dates and times, Excel
converts these entries into serial numbers and kept as
background information. However, the dates and times will
be displayed to you on the worksheet in a format opted by
you. You will learn about date and time formats later in
4. Data in Series: You can fill a range of cells either with the
same value or with a series of values with the help of AutoFill.
12.9 EDITING DATA
Editing your Excel worksheet data is very easy. You can edit
your data by any of the following ways:
1. Select the cell containing data to be edited. Press F2. Use
Backspace key and erase the wrong entry. Retype the correct
2. Select the cell and simply retype the correct entry.
3. If you want only to clear the contents of the cell, select the
cell and press Delete key.
4. To bring back the previous entry, either click on Undo button
on standard Toolbar or select Edit→Undo command or use
keyboard shortcuts CTRL+Z.
12.10 CELL REFERENCES
Each worksheet contains a number of columns and rows. Each
cell of the worksheet has a unique reference. For example, D5,
refers to the cell containing column number D and row number
12.11 FIND AND REPLACE DATA IN A WORKSHEET
You may want to locate a number or text that is already typed in
the worksheet. This is done through Edit→Find. You can also
locate your data and replace with new data with
12.12 MODIFYING A WORKSHEET
12.12.1 Adding Worksheets, Rows, and Columns
1. Worksheets - Add a worksheet to a workbook by selecting
Insert→Worksheet from the menu bar.
Basics of MS Excel :: 233
2. Row - To add a row to a worksheet, select Insert→Rows
from the menu bar, or highlight the row by clicking on the
row label, right-click with the mouse, and choose Insert.
3. Column - Add a column by selecting Insert→Columns from
the menu bar, or highlight the column by click on the col-
umn label, right-click with the mouse, and choose Insert.
12.12.2 Resizing Rows and Columns
There are two ways to resize rows and columns.
1. Resize a row by dragging the line below the label of the row
you would like to resize. Resize a column in a similar man-
ner by dragging the line to the right of the label correspond-
ing to the column you want to resize.
2. Click the row or column label and select
Format→Row→Height or Format→Column→Width from
the menu bar to enter a numerical value for the height of
the row or width of the column.
12.12.3 Selecting Cells
Before a cell can be modified or formatted, it must first be selected
(highlighted). Refer to the table below for selecting groups of
Cells to select Mouse action:
One cell click once in the cell
Entire row click the row label
Entire column click the column label
Entire worksheet click the whole sheet button (at
the intersection of rows and
Cluster of cells drag mouse over the cells or hold
down the SHIFT key while using
the arrow keys
To activate the contents of a cell, double-click on the cell or click
once and press F2.
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12.12.4 Moving and Copying Cells
1. Moving Cells
To cut cell contents that will be moved to another cell select
Edit→Cut from the menu bar or click the Cut button on the
2. Copying Cells
To copy the cell contents, select Edit→Copy from the menu
bar or click the Copy button on the standard toolbar.
3. Pasting Cut and Copied Cells
Highlight the cell you want to paste the cut or copied content
into and select Edit→Paste from the menu bar or click the
Paste button on the standard toolbar.
4. Drag and Drop
If you are moving the cell contents only a short distance, the
drag-and-drop method may be easier. Simply drag the
highlighted border of the selected cell to the destination cell
with the mouse.
5. Freeze Panes
If you have a large worksheet with column and row headings,
those headings will disappear as the worksheet is scrolled.
By using the Freeze Panes feature, the headings can be visible
at all times.
1. Click the label of the row below the row that should re-
main frozen at the top of the worksheet.
2. Select Window→Freeze Panes from the menu bar.
3. To remove the frozen panes, select Window→Unfreeze
Basics of MS Excel :: 235
Freeze panes has been added to row 2 in the image above. No-
tice that the row numbers skip from 3 to 8. As the worksheet is
scrolled, rows 1 and 2 will remain stationary while the remain-
ing rows will move. Following similar steps you can Freeze or
Unfreeze selected columns.
12.13 PAGE BREAKS
To set page breaks within the worksheet, select the row you
want to appear just below the page break by clicking the row’s
label. Then choose Insert→Page Break from the menu bar. You
may need to click the double down arrow at the bottom of the
menu list to view this option.
12.14 PAGE SETUP
Select File→Page Setup from the menu bar to format the page,
set margins, and add headers and footers.
1. Page: The page option allows you to set the paper size,
orientation of the data, scaling of the area, print quality, etc.
Select the Orientation under the Page tab in the Page Setup
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window to make the page Landscape or Portrait. The size of
the worksheet on the page can also be formatted using
Scaling. To force a worksheet to print only one page wide so
that all the columns appear on the same page, select Fit to
1 page(s) wide.
2. Margins Change the top, bottom, left, and right margins
under the Margins tab. Enter values in the header and footer
fields to indicate how far from the edge of the page this text
should appear. Check the boxes for centering horizontally
or vertically on the page.
Basics of MS Excel :: 237
3. Header/Footer tab gives you the option to set the Header
(which will be displayed on the top of every page) and the
Footer (which will be displayed on the bottom of every page).
Add preset headers and footers to the page by clicking the
drop-down menus under the Header/Footer tab.
To modify a preset header or footer, or to make your own,
click the Custom Header and Custom Footer buttons. A
new window will open allowing you to enter text in the left,
center, or right on the page.
Format Text - Click this button after highlighting the text
to change the font, size, and style.
Page Number - Insert the page number of each page.
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Total Number of Pages - Use this feature along with the
page number to create strings such as “page 5 of 10”.
Date - Add the current date.
Time - Add the current time.
File Name - Add the name of the workbook file.
Tab Name - Add the name of the worksheet’s tab.
4. Sheet tab has the option to select the area to be printed
(that is, range of cells). Check Gridlines if you want the
gridlines dividing the cells to be printed on the page. If the
worksheet is several pages long and only the first page in-
cludes titles for the columns, select Rows to repeat at top to
choose a title row that will be printed at the top of each page.
1. Write True or False for the following statements
(a) To modify a preset header or footer click the custom
header and custom footer buttons.
(b) Autofill helps you to add the contents of a cluster of
Basics of MS Excel :: 239
(c) Charts features help you in presenting a graphical
representation of data.
(d) Click the edit button to print the worksheet.
(e) Pivot table allows you to perform data analysis.
12.15 PRINT PREVIEW
Select File→Print Preview from the menu bar to view how the
worksheet will print. Click the Next and Previous buttons at
the top of the window to display the pages and click the Zoom
button to view the pages closer. Make page layout modifications
needed by clicking the Page Setup button. Click Close to return
to the worksheet or Print to continue printing.
To print the worksheet, select File→Print from the menu bar.
1. Print Range - Select either all pages or a range of pages to
2. Print What - Select selection of cells highlighted on the
worksheet, the active worksheet, or all the worksheets in
the entire workbook.
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3. Copies - Choose the number of copies that should be printed.
Check the Collate box if the pages should remain in order.
4. Click OK to print.
12.17 FILE CLOSE AND EXIT EXCEL
When your work is finished and it has been saved properly:
1. Select File→Close command and then click mouse to close
2. Select File→Exit command and then click mouse to close
12.18 WORKBOOK PROTECTION
You have learned how to save your workbook as a file. Some
times your data can be very confidential which you would like to
protect from unauthorised people. Protection prevents changes
to all or part of a document. You can also assign a password so
that other users can be limited in accessing protected informa-
tion. A password is case sensitive, can be up to 255 characters
long, and can contain any combination of letters, numbers, and
symbols. When a document is protected, this command changes
to Unprotect Document.
You can restrict access to your workbook in three ways.
1. Protect Sheet: Select Tools→Protect Sheet commands and
click. This feature prevents changes to cells on worksheets,
items in a chart, graphic objects on a worksheet or chart
sheet. When the active document is protected, the command
name changes to Unprotect Sheet. If you want to unprotect
a sheet that has been already protected. Select
Tools→Unprotect Sheet commands and click.
2. Protect Workbook: Select Tools→Protect Workbook
commands and click. This feature protects a workbook’s
structure and windows. You can prevent changes to the
structure of a workbook so that sheets can’t be deleted, moved,
hidden, unhidden, or renamed, and new sheets can’t be
inserted. You can also protect windows from being moved or
resized. When the active document is protected, the
command name changes to Unprotect Workbook. If you
want to unprotect a workbook that has been already
protected. Select Tools→Unprotect Workbook commands
Basics of MS Excel :: 241
3. Protect for Sharing: Select Tools→Protect and Share
Workbook commands and click. This feature protects the
sharing and change history tracking in a shared workbook
so the features can’t be turned off. If you select this check
box and click OK when the workbook isn’t a shared workbook,
you are asked if you want to save it as a shared workbook. In
a workbook that is already shared, you can turn on protection
for sharing and the change history, but you can’t assign a
password for this protection. To assign a password, you must
first remove the workbook from shared use. When the active
shared workbook is protected, the command name changes
to Unprotect for Sharing. If you want to unprotect a share
workbook that has been already protected. Select
Tools→Unprotect Workbook commands and click.
12.19 KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
Keyboard shortcuts can save time and the effort of switching
from the keyboard to the mouse to execute simple commands.
Print this list of Excel keyboard shortcuts and keep it at your
computer desk for a quick reference.
Open a file CTRL+O
New file CTRL+N
Save As F12
Go to F5
One cell up up arrow
One cell down down arrow
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One cell right Tab
One cell left SHIFT+Tab
Top of worksheet (cell A1) CTRL+Home
End of worksheet
(last cell with data) CTRL+End
End of row Home
End of column CTRL+left arrow
Move to next worksheet CTRL+PageDown
Apply AutoSum ALT+=
Current date CTRL+;
Current time CTRL+:
All cells left of current cell SHIFT+left arrow
All cells right of current cell SHIFT+right arrow
Entire column CTRL+Spacebar
Entire row SHIFT+Spacebar
Entire worksheet CTRL+A
Edit active cell F2
Basics of MS Excel :: 243
Format as currency with SHIFT+CTRL+$ 2 decimal places
Format as percent with no SHIFT+CTRL+% decimal places
Format cells dialog box CTRL+1
Note: A plus sign in the above list indicates that the keys need to
be pressed at the same time.
Fill in the blanks
(a) When the active document is protected the command name
changes to ____________ workbook.
(b) Select __________ from the menu bar to view how the
worksheet will print.
(c) A pasword can be upto ____________ characters long.
(d) You can restrict access to your workbook in __________ ways
(e) Check ___________ if you want the gridlines dividing the cells
to be printed on the page.
12.20 WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT
In this lesson you learnt about starting Excel and working on a
worksheet. You can select a cell or a range of cells. Also you can
enter data in a worksheet. You can define the size of a page by
going to page set up and insert a page break. You have learnt
about page-preview which gives an idea on how the print out will
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12.21 TERMINAL QUESTIONS
1. List any four applications of MS Excel.
2. What are the main features of MS Excel?
3. Differentiate between a worksheet and a workbook?
4. What are the different types of data that can be entered into
5. Explain three different ways you protect your workbook.
6. What are the three different ways you save your workbook?
7. How do you find a single number or name you want in a
large worksheet containing thousands of numbers and
names? Is it possible to replace a name or number with
some other name or number? How?
8. How do you select a single cell, a single column, a single
row, a cluster of cells, and a entire worksheet?
9. Difference between Move cells and Copy cells
10. Explain the use of Freeze Panes
11. What are the different features available in Page setting
12. Describe different features available in Print command
12.22 KEY TO INTEXT QUESTIONS
1. (a) True
Basics of MS Excel :: 245
2. (a) Unprotect
(b) Print preview