Lets begin at the beginning….
Excel is a spreadsheet program which stores, sorts and very efficiently crunches numbers. Whether you are an accountant, want to run your own business, or analyse data as a student, knowing the basics will give you a head start.
Parts of the spreadsheet.
The Excel spreadsheet contains tree main parts:-
- Columns- these are the vertical segments that are labelled with letters.
- Rows- these are the horizontal segments that are labelled with numbers.
- Cells – these are the individual boxes on he sheets where a row and a columns intersect.
This is the basis for the labelling or referencing for the cells in Excel.
The very first cell is A1 that is column A (the first column) and row 1 (the first row), the reference for this cell is therefore A1- simple!
These cells in Excel can store various types of data, for example
- text(labels, this is text with no numbers),
- numbers(constants- a number or constant value)
- formulas(the mathematical equations that to do hard work). These MUST begin with an = (equal) sign.
Labels are TEXT entries and do not have a value associated with them. Labels are typically used to identify what we are referring to or talking about. The labels are for humans!
So in Example 1 the labels are
Employee Name | Basic Salary | % Bonus | Bonus Total | Total |
The NUMBERS or constants are cells the likes of B4,B5 and B6 as well as C4,C5 and C6, these are the numbers we have entered into the spreadsheet and in this case they are the basic salary data ans the % bonus each person is to receive.
FORMULAS are entries that have an equation that calculates the value to display, we do not enter in the result we want as Excel will do all the work for us. So in this example the formulas are contained in cells D4, D5 and D6 – they calculate the % bonus of the basic salary, as well as E4, E5 and E6 which calculates the basic salary plus the bonus total. When you click in these cells, notice in the top bar of excel the acutal formula is displayed.
Remember Formulas MUST BEGIN with an equal sign (=).
Again, we use formulas to CALCULATE a value to be displayed. Let excel do the work!.
This was a very brief introduction to Excel to give you an idea of what it can do, how it looks and feels. Have a click around the site for more information on Excel.