Microsoft Excel

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I.       Introduction

Describes the general application and use of any version of Microsoft Excel.

Link to illustrated description of Excel 97 (part of Office 97)

Microsoft Excel 2000 (part of Office 2000):

II.      The File Menu

A. New..., Open..., Close, Save and Save As...
B. Save as Web Page
C. Save Workspace...
D. Web Page Preview
E. Page Setup... & Print Area
F. Print Preview
G. Print...
H. Send To
I. Properties ...
J. Recent Documents & Exit

III.      The Edit Menu

A. Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste
B. Paste Special...
C. Paste as Hyperlink
D. Fill
E. Clear
F. Delete
G. Delete Sheet
H. Move or Copy Sheet...
I. Find..., Replace...
J. Go To...
K. Links...
L. Object

IV.      The View Menu

A. Normal
B. Page Break Preview
C. Toolbars
D. Formula Bar
E. Status Bar
F. Header and Footer...
G. Custom Views...
H. Full Screen
I. Zoom...

V.      The Insert Menu (for WorkSheets)

A. Cells...
B. Rows
C. Columns
D. Worksheet
E. Chart...
F. Page Break
G. Function
H. Name
I. Comment
J. Picture
K. Object...
L. Hyperlink...

VI.      The Format Menu

A. Cells (Ctrl+1)
B. Row
C. Column
D. Sheet
E. AutoFormat...
F. Conditional Formatting
G. Style...

VII.      The Tools Menu

A. Spelling... F7
B. AutoCorrect...
C. Share Workbook...
D. Track Changes
E. Merge Workbooks...
F. Protection
G. Online Collaboration
H. Goal Seek...
I. Scenarios...
J. Auditing
K. Macro
L. Add-Ins...
M. Customize...
N. Options...

VIII.      The Data Menu

A. Sort...
B. Filter
C. Form...
D. Subtotals...
E. Validation...
F. Table...
G. Text to Columns...
H. Consolidate...
I. Group and Outline
J. Pivot Table and PivotChart Report...
K. Get External Data
L. Refresh Data

IX.      The Window Menu

A. New Window
B. Arrange...
C. Hide
D. Unhide...
E. Split
F. Freeze Panes
G. Windows List

X.      The Help Menu

A. Microsoft Excel Help
B. Show the Office Assistant
C. What...s This?
D. Office on the Web
E. Lotus 1-2-3 Help...
F. Detect and Repair...
G. About Microsoft Excel

Charts and Graphs

Menus change their contents when a chart is selected.

I.       How to Insert a Chart

II.      The (Chart) Insert Menu

A. Picture
B. Worksheet
C. Chart...
D. Hyperlink...

III.      The (Chart) Format Menu

A. Selected Chart Area... [Legend, Title, Label, etc.]  Ctrl+1
B. Sheet

IV.      The Chart Menu

A. Chart Type...
B. Source Data...
C. Chart Options...
D. Location...
E. Add Data...
F. Add Trendline...
G. 3-D View...

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Microsoft Excel

I.       Introduction

Excel is an amazingly powerful and useful program. To keep from overwhelming you with all of its features, I have provided descriptions of only the most commonly-used menu options below.

Excel is used to organize, calculate and analyze business and scientific data. It can be used to create budgets and invoices, to process large quantities of data, handling repetitious tasks and outputting results numerically and graphically.

Excel documents were originally limited to one page. These documents are called Worksheets. After the first few releases of Excel, Microsoft introduced the concept of Workbooks, which contain multiple Worksheets. The Worksheets in an Excel Workbook are accessed by clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the Workbook window.

Each worksheet organizes data in cells, rows and columns. Columns and rows can be resized by clicking on the divisions between the row or column headings. Rows go across the page and columns go up and down the page. Row headings are denoted by numbers (1, 2, 3, ...) and column headings are denoted by letters (A, B, C, ...).

Cells are denoted by the column and row where they located. Cell E3 would be the fifth cell across and the third cell down. It would be desirable to denote a range of cells if one wanted to perform an operation on them, for example to add their contents. A range of cells is denoted by the first cell and the last cell of the range, separated by a colon. For example, A1:C18 denotes all cells from column A, row 1 through column C, row 18.

The cursor in Excel changes from an arrow to a "plus" when it is placed over cells. The "plus" is called the cell selection tool, and can be used to select a single cell by clicking on it, and a row or column by clicking on the heading. You can select contiguous groups of cells by clicking on one cell in a corner of the group and dragging the cell selection tool to the opposite diagonal corner of the group.

If you have Excel in on your computer, open it and try selecting cell ranges, rows and columns. Try to resize rows and resize columns.

A cell does not always display what you have entered into it. If you enter a formula into a cell, then the cell will display the results of that equation. While the result will be displayed in the cell, the formula will be displayed in the formula bar when the cell is selected. The formula bar is located below the toolbars, above the Worksheet window, and the selected (active) cell is listed to its left.

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Microsoft Excel 2000

II.      The File Menu

A.    New..., Open..., Close, Save and Save As... should all be familiar

The main point of confusion for these menu items is the difference between Save and Save As... When you select Save As... you are prompted where you want to save your document, what to name it, and what format you want to save it in. For a brand new document that has never been saved before, selecting Save will bring up the Save As... options the very first time you save your document. After that, Save just saves the document in the same place, with the same name and the same format as the last time it was saved.

B.    Save as Web Page

Allows you to save the Excel worksheet as a web page.

C.    Save Workspace...

Save Workspace... allows you to save information about the current set of open documents along with their window positions. It does not save the documents, but rather allows you to open a group of documents at the same time.

D.    Web Page Preview

Previews what your document will look like if you save it as a web page.

E.    Page Setup... & Print Area

Excel Worksheets extend infinitely in all directions, but only rows and columns that contain data, or which are selected with the Print Area › Set Print Area command in the File menu are printed. To go back to the default print area, go to File Print Area › Clear Print Area.

Excel has different printing settings than most other programs. There are four tabs in the Page Setup dialog. From any of the tabs, you can also access printer-specific Options, Print Preview, and you can Print. The four tabs are:

  1. Page: Here you can select Portrait or Landscape page orientation. Spreadsheets are frequently best viewed in landscape orientation. You can also scale the selected print area or fit it to a specified number of pages.
  2. Margins: Here you specify margins on all sides of the printout. You can also specify if the printout will be centered horizontally or vertically on the page.
  3. Header/Footer: Allows you to edit the header and footer information.
  4. Sheet: Excel does not print gridlines by default. You can format cell gridlines with borders, which always print, or you can select that gridlines are printed in the Page Setup dialog, under the Sheet tab. Check the box below Print, next to Gridlines. You can also print Row and Column Headings (1, 2, 3, A, B, C, etc.). Other option are self-explanatory.

F.    Print Preview

This feature allows you to see what your document will look like before you print it out. You may also adjust margins in this view.

G.   Print...

The Print dialog in Excel adds the option to print the Selection, the Selected Sheet(s), or the entire Workbook. You can also access the Print Preview screen from here.

H.   Send To

Send allows you to email your workbook to people directly from Excel. Routing allows you to submit your document to people on your network in a specified order so that they may review it.

I.      Properties ...

  1. General
  2. Summary
  3. Statistics
  4. Contents
  5. Custom

J.     Recent Documents & Exit

These should be familiar.

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III.         The Edit Menu

A.    Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste

These all have the identical keyboard shortcuts as they do in most programs (ctrl+z, ctrl+y, ctrl+c, ctrl+x, ctrl+v, respectively).

B.    Paste Special...

When you copy a cell, you copy what appears in the formula bar. The formula will be modified according to where you paste it. This is usually quite helpful, but sometimes it doesn't work. For example, if your formula, ...=A5*D5... is contained in row 5, then you paste it into row 6, the formula will become ...=A6*D6....

Sometimes you want to refer to a specific cell without shifting the formula. In this case, you would select Paste Link from the Paste Special dialog box.

If you just wish to paste the numerical value of an equation, but not the equation itself, then check Values under Paste in the Paste Special dialog.

If you wish to copy a column of information, but wish to reverse the items' order (first item last and vice versa), then check Transpose.

You can also perform Operations between what is in the clipboard (i.e. what you are about to paste) and the contents of the cells you are about to paste into. If you past a cell whose content is the value 2.75 into a cell whose content is the value 100 and check Multiply under Operation, then your result will be a cell whose content is 275.

You should be able to deduce the other options from these examples.

C.   Paste as Hyperlink

Allows you to paste a link to a web page into your document.

D.   Fill

This is a command that you will use all the time when working with columns of numbers with which you wish to perform repetitious operations.

Learn by example:

Create a column of Quantities and a column of Unit Prices. Fill in these columns with values. Create a third column of Totals. Multiply the first items of the Qty. and Unit Price column to yield a value in the Total column. Fill down (Ctrl+D) to repeat the operation.

Insert an Item Number column on the left. Put a 1 to the left of the first item in the Quantity list. Fill Series, Linear, Step value of 1.

Make a calendar. Enter Sunday in A1. Fill Series Autofill across six more cells (A:G). Enter 10/10/1999 in cell A2. Fill Series in Rows, Date, Day, Step Value 1. Next fill the entire series in Columns, Date, Day, Step Value 7 down the page to get a calendar.

E.    Clear

Clear and delete do two different things. Clear affects the contents of a cell, while delete affects the cell itself. You can clear:

  1. All
  2. Formats
  3. Contents
  4. Notes

F.    Delete

Gives you the option of how to move the surrounding cells once you remove a block of them from your Worksheet.

G.   Delete Sheet

Deletes the entire sheet that you are currently working on.

H.   Move or Copy Sheet...

Allows you to reorder a sheet as it appears in the tabs at the bottom of the Workbook window. Check Create a Copy to duplicate an existing sheet if you wish to modify the sheet but don't want to change the original. You can also move or copy the sheet to a new or existing entirely separate workbook document.

I.      Find..., Replace...

Find lets you search by row or column for Formulas, Values or Notes containing the specified text. Replace... lets you replace what you have found.

J.     Go To...

Go To lets you go to a specific cell. The cell can be specified by its column and row designation (e.g. H9) or by a name that you have given it using the Insert menu, Name > Define... command. It may be helpful to refer to frequently accessed cells by name rather than by column and row designation.

K.    Links...

Sometimes a Worksheet has a link pasted into it from a different Workbook. This command allows you to go to the location to which the selected cell is linked and edit the source.

L.    Object

When an object such as an image file is inserted into a Worksheet, this command allows you to format the object.

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IV.         The View Menu

A.    Normal

B.    Page Break Preview

This hides all of your worksheet except for what is to be printed out.

C.   Toolbars

This command opens a menu which allows you to turn on or off the display of Excel's various toolbars.

D.   Formula Bar

Checking Formula Bar in the View menu causes the Formula Bar to be displayed above the worksheet window. The Formula Bar displays the constant value or formula used in the active cell. If you wish to copy a formula without moving its references, then copy it from within the formula bar, not from the cell. This will put the formula text into the clipboard.

E.    Status Bar

Checking Status Bar in the View menu causes the status bar to be displayed (default) at the bottom of the application window. The status bar tells you information about the currently selected command or option.

F.    Header and Footer...

Opens up the Page Setup window directly to the Header and Footer tab.

G.   Custom Views...

Allows you to save the view settings of your current document, along with Print Settings, Hidden row, column and filter settings.

H.   Full Screen

Puts you in full screen mode, where the application window title bar and status bar are hidden to yield the largest possible work area on the screen. You exit this view mode by clicking on the window button in the floating palette.

I.      Zoom...

Allows you to set the magnification or to fit your selection to the screen.

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V.           The Insert Menu (for WorkSheets)

A.    Cells...

Brings up the Insert dialog which prompts if you want to shift cells Left or Up, insert an entire row or an entire column.

B.    Rows

Inserts a row above the row or cell selected. Command not available when a column is selected.

C.   Columns

Inserts a column to the left of the column or cell selected. Command not available when a row is selected.

D.   Worksheet

Inserts a worksheet whose tab is to the left of the one currently working on.

E.    Chart...

Opens up the Chart Wizard to insert a chart in your document. If this is done, then the contents of the menus change to chart commands.

F.    Page Break

Inserts a page break above a selected row and both above and to the left of a selected cell. I can't figure out how to get rid of page breaks.

G.   Function

Opens a window listing a multitude of various functions to insert into your cell.

H.   Name

  1. Define
  2. Paste
  3. Create
  4. Apply

I.      Comment

Allows you to insert a pop-up box with comments about a particular cell.

J.     Picture

Allows you to insert picture files or clip art (if installed).

K.    Object...

Inserts an OLE object into your document.

L.    Hyperlink...

Inserts a link to a web page into your document.

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VI.         The Format Menu

A.    Cells (Ctrl+1)

  1. Number
    a.) Categories include: General, Number, Currency, Accounting, Date, Time, Percentage, Fraction, Scientific, Text, Special and Custom.
  2. Alignment
    a.) Vertical and Horizontal
    b.) Wrap Text
    c.) Orientation
  3. Font
  4. Border
  5. Patterns
  6. Protection

B.    Row

  1. Height...
  2. AutoFit
  3. Hide
  4. Unhide

C.   Column

  1. Width...
  2. AutoFit Selection
  3. AutoFit
  4. Hide
  5. Unhide
  6. Standard Width...

D.   Sheet

  1. Rename...
  2. Hide
  3. Unhide...
  4. Background...

E.    AutoFormat...

Formats the tables using built-in templates for borders, shading and font style.

F.    Conditional Formatting

The format of the cell(s) is controlled by conditions such as the cell contents.

G.   Style...

Allows you to define cell formatting styles, that is groups of formats that are applied in one step.

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VII.      The Tools Menu

A.    Spelling... F7

B.    AutoCorrect...

Brings up the options for Correct Two Initial Capitals, Capitalize Names of Days and Replace Text as You Type.

C.   Share Workbook...

When you want to give a group of people access to the same document simultaneously, then you use the Share Workbook... command. In order for this feature to be useful, the file must be saved in a location where multiple users can access it, such as a public folder on the network.

Before sharing a document, you might wish to consider protecting it. When protection is enabled, all cells are locked, by default. But you can unlock individual cells that you wish users to be able to modify. Cells must be designated as unlocked before protection is enabled. To do this, select the cells you wish to unlock, then go to the Format menu, select Cells... then click on the Protection tab and uncheck Locked. After you have unlocked the cells you wish to allow access to, then click on the Tools menu, select Protection, then Protect Sheet... or Protect Workbook... from the submenu.  You may wish to use a password to protect the workbook, but do not forget it or else you will be unable to unlock the document. Once you have protected your worksheet(s) or workbook, it will be safe to share it. Go to the Tools menu, then select Share Workbook... Click on the Editing tab and check Allow changes by more than one user at the same time, then click OK. The Editing tab also lists the users who currently have the workbook open.

The Advanced tab of the Share Workbook dialog box allows you to control how changes made by multiple uses are tracked. A new Worksheet is added to the shared Workbook that contains columns with the headings: Action, Type, Date, Time, Who, Change, Sheet Location, Cell Location, and Value. This will let you keep track of modifications.

D.   Track Changes

E.    Merge Workbooks...

F.    Protection

(see Share Workbook...)

  1. Protect Sheet...
  2. Protect Workbook...
  3. Protect and Share Workbook...

 In addition to sharing a workbook via Tools > Share Workbook..., you can also protect and share a workbook at the same time by selecting Protect and Share Workbook... , but there are fewer options given here.

G.   Online Collaboration

  1. Meet Now
  2. Schedule Meeting...
  3. Web Discussions

H.   Goal Seek...

The dialog box that this opens has three sections:

I.      Scenarios...

J.     Auditing

  1. Trace Precedents
  2. Trace Dependents
  3. Trace Error
  4. Remove All Arrows
  5. Show Auditing Toolbar

K.    Macro

A macro is an automated action or program that is embedded into a document. Ms Excel 4.0 had its own Macro language. MS Excel for Office 95 and later use the Visual Basic programming language for their Macro language. This language would require an entire course devoted to learning it alone. However, it is possible to have Excel write a Macro for you by merely recording your actions, which you can play back at any time.

  1. Macros...
  2. Record New Macro
  3. Security...
  4. Visual Basic Editor
  5. Microsoft Script Editor

L.    Add-Ins...

Allows you to install software components that are not included with the default installation of Excel.

M.   Customize...

Allows you to customize Excel's menus and toolbars. There are three tabs:

N.   Options...

  1. View
  2. Calculation
  3. Edit
  4. General
  5. Transition
  6. Custom Lists
  7. Chart
  8. Color

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VIII.    The Data Menu

This menu switches to the Chart menu when you have a chart selected.

A.    Sort...

B.    Filter

  1. AutoFilter
  2. Show All
  3. Advanced Filter...

C.   Form...

D.   Subtotals...

E.    Validation...

F.    Table...

G.   Text to Columns...

H.   Consolidate...

I.      Group and Outline

  1. Hide Detail
  2. Show Detail
  3. Group...
  4. Ungroup...
  5. Auto Outline
  6. Clear Outline
  7. Settings...

J.     Pivot Table and PivotChart Report...

K.    Get External Data

  1. Run Saved Query...
  2. New Web Query...
  3. New Database Query...
  4. Import Text File...
  5. Edit Query...
  6. Data Range Properties
  7. Parameters...

L.    Refresh Data

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IX.         The Window Menu

A.    New Window

B.    Arrange...

C.   Hide

D.   Unhide...

E.    Split

F.    Freeze Panes

G.   Windows List

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X.           The Help Menu

A.    Microsoft Excel Help

B.    Show the Office Assistant

C.    What's This?

D.    Office on the Web

E.    Lotus 1-2-3 Help...

F.    Detect and Repair...

G.    About Microsoft Excel

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Charts and Graphs

I.           How to Insert a Chart

  1. Select the data range you wish to chart from your spreadsheet.
  2. From the Insert menu, select Chart, or click the chart wizard button on the toolbar:Chart Wizard Tool
  3. You will be brought to the chart wizard. There are four steps:

Step 1: Select a chart type from the Standard Types or Custom Types tab.

Step 2: Verify your data range and select whether your data series is in columns or rows under the Data Range tab. Under the Series  tab you can select which column (or row) to use for X-axis labels, and which row (or column) to use for legend text (this is usually your column header row).

Step 3: Add legend, chart title and axis titles. This brings up the Chart Options dialog box under the Chart menu (see below for details).

Step 4: Choose to insert the chart as a new sheet or as an object in an existing sheet (this is the same as the Chart Location dialog box in the Chart menu (see below).

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II.           The (Chart) Insert Menu

If you have inserted the chart on an existing sheet, then double-clicking on the chart, or selecting the chart then going to the Edit menu and selecting Object changes the contents of the Insert menu to chart commands and makes the Data menu disappear

A.    Picture

B.    Worksheet

C.   Chart...

D.   Hyperlink...

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III.         The (Chart) Format Menu

A.    Selected Chart Area... [Legend, Title, Label, etc.]  Ctrl+1

You can also click on an element to select it to be formatted, or right click on the item an select Format [item] from the popup menu to format it. Hitting the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard also toggles through selecting the various components in a chart that can be formatted.

B.    Sheet

  1. Rename...
  2. Hide
  3. Unhide...
  4. Background...

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IV.         The Chart Menu

This menu is only visible when a chart is selected.

A.    Chart Type...

B.    Source Data...

C.   Chart Options...

Opens a dialog box with a multitude of assorted options to control what and how things are displayed:

D.   Location...

Allows the chart to be moved between sheets or to be moved to its own sheet.

E.    Add Data...

F.    Add Trendline...

G.   3-D View...

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Last updated on the twenty-eighth of March, 2003.
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