Excel Basics


Excel is an incredibly powerful tool for getting meaning out of a vast amount of data. It works really well while dealing with all simple and complex calculations. Excel is able to track almost any kind of information. In this article you will get to know all the basics of excel i.e elements of a workbook right from the start, that is, how to open a workbook?

How to Open an Excel Sheet

To learn Excel, you need to open it first. Haha! That sounds so obvious. So, the easiest way to open Excel is to have a Shortcut on desktop. And then you just need to double-click on it. The other method is to go to the Start button towards the bottom left corner of your screen. And there you will find all Apps, from which you can select Excel and double-click on it. Similarly, you can even Search for the Excel in the search option. One more easy way is to pin it to the Taskbar, so that the next time you open Excel it is pretty simple.

So, those were the ways you could open Excel. Now, as we have learnt how to open Excel, let’s open it by double clicking.

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Basics Of Excel

This is the Home Page of Excel, where you can click on Blank Workbook, and the screen that appears is nothing but your Excel Workbook. First thing to notice here, is the Name of the Workbook. Excel by default saves it as Book1. Now, let us understand the structure of the Workbook from the very scratch.

In the extreme Right Corner, we have three options:

  • Minimize – to minimize your screen
  • Restore – Let’s see what happens when you press the restore button.
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What really happened is the screen is shortened.

Close button – to close the workbook.

In the Top Left Corner, we have the Quick Access Toolbar. This Quick Access toolbar comes with default set of options like:

  • Save
  • Undo
  • Redo
  • AutoSave – Only in Microsoft 365

Apart from these, if you wish to add any other commands to your Quick Access toolbar, you can do so by clicking on the down faced arrow at the top right side, where you will get various options and you can just click on it and those options will be visible on your toolbar.

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If you want to add the commands which are not mentioned in the above list, then simply click on More Commands. Once you click on More Commands the Excel Options dialog box will pop up, as shown in the below image. To see all the commands, you can click on Choose Commands from >> All Commands.

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The just select any Command >> click on Add >> OK. You will see that it gets added to your Quick Access Toolbar.

The Next thing you need to know are the Tabs, just below the Quick Access toolbar.

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In the above image you can see the tabs which are:

  • File Tab
  • Home Tab
  • Insert Tab
  • Page Layout Tab
  • Formulas Tab
  • Data Tab
  • View Tab
  • Help

Note: In each Tab, we have different Groups and each group is separated by a line.

The area below the Tabs is called the Ribbon. If you do not wish to see the Ribbon, just click on the small arrow towards the bottom right corner of the ribbon, as shown the image below.

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You can also Press Ctrl+F1 or Ctrl+Fn+F1 to hide the Ribbon. Once you hide the Ribbon, your workbook will look as follows.

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If you want to see your Ribbon again then Press the Ctrl+F1 button one more time or you can also click on the Home Tab and the Pin icon

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Below the Ribbon, we have the Name Box, if you are on the cell A1, the Name Box will show it as A1. It basically potrays the cell addresses. If you are on cell C3, it will show you C3. Alternatively, you can type the cell address inside the Name Box and click on Enter, and you will be redirected to that cell.

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Now, besides the Name Box, we have the Formula Tab. We use this particularly for displaying our formulas and the cell entries. For example, if I type 1 in any of the cell, it will be visible in Formula Tab. You can even use it for editing. You, can even expand your Formula tab using the small arrow at the end of the tab.

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Now, coming to the work area, where we have lot of Columns and Rows.

  • Columns are represented by alphabets.
    • Rows are represented by numbers.

So, now you may think what is a Cell?

The area where the columns and rows intersect is called a Cell. You can use the Arrow keys to navigate between the cells.

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If you want to know the number of rows and columns in the Excel, then it may vary as per the version you use. In Microsoft 365, we have 16384 columns. To go to the last column, press Ctrl and Right arrow.

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This column XFD is the last column of the worksheet. Similarly, to go to the last row of the sheet, press Ctrl and Down arrow key.

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In the above image you can see that there are 1048576 rows in this Worksheet. Go back to column 1 and row 1 by clicking on Ctrl Left arrow and Ctrl Top arrow keys.

Towards the bottom of the Worksheet we have something as Sheet 1, there you can even add other worksheets by clicking on the plus sign just next to the Sheet, as shown in the image below.

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  • If you want to Delete the Sheet, then just right click on the Sheet and select the Delete option.
  • If you want to Rename the Sheet, then either double click or Right click >> Rename option.

Lastly, we also have:

  • Zoom bar, where you can Zoom out
  • Scroll, where you can scroll up and down, even right and left.

So this was all about the basics of Excel.

Hope you got a precise knowledge of the basics of Excel.

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