If you have never used Excel before or you need to go through some Excel-basics to be more confident Beginners in Excel is where to start. Since I believe the best way to learn Excel is to practice and play around with it I’ll try to make this page as short as possible. It’s by trying and making mistakes and errors you’ll become a true Excel master. Further down I have a simple example that guides you how to sum a list of number.
From workbook to cell basics
To use Excel you need to open a workbook. Like other books it has sheets. The sheet is a grid pattern with a lot of cells. Every square you see is a cell. The cell is where the information is. The sheet is just a structured place where you put your information. Like a page in a notebook.
Open a new workbook
When you open Excel choose new / blank workbook to open a new fresh workbook. The workbook only contains one sheet by default.
At the bottom of the Excel grid you find the sheet tabs. If you click a the (+) you open a new sheet. You can then rename your sheets.The sheets are your artboard, white board, calculator or whatever you want it to be. The most common use for the sheets is to structure data or summarize.
The Excel cell is where all magic happens. It’s like the display on your calculator but it can do so much more. Of course you can use Excel as an advanced calculator. But you can also change formatting, you can combine cells and use cells for creating the most beautiful charts or even art. You can convert from metric units to Imperial units, you can show today’s date… I could go on forever with ideas of what Excel can do for you. The best thing with Excel is that it is totally flexible. When you nkow the basics you can make Excel work for you, not the opposite way.
When you want a cell to perform a calculation you always begin with “=“. If you don’t start with “=” Excel won’t make the calculation.
Every cell has its unique coordinate for example the first cell has the coordinates A:1 (column A and row 1).
How to sum a list of numbers – example
To round up this short “Beginners in Excel” page I will show you an example. My guess is that summarizing is the most common use of Excel. So adding a bunch of numbers is what we shall do. Let’s say you want to sum up a bunch of receipts and invoices.
- First click to open a new Excel Workbook.
- Type the first value in the first cell (A:1) A stands for column A and 1 for row number 1.
- Continue with the rest of the numbers you want to sum in the following rows (A:2, A:3 etc). You can ad as many as you want.
- When you are ready you should activate the cell underneath the last number in the row. Press the autosum symbol
You’ll find more useful Excel functions in here.