Excel: An Introduction

Excel is Microsoft’s spreadsheet program. It is so well known, that for many the words Excel and spreadsheet are used interchangeably.

What is a spreadsheet? A spreadsheet is a computer program that uses columns and rows to store and perform calculations on data.

Notice in Excel, columns are denoted by letters and rows are denoted by numbers. The spaces are called cells. We refer to the cells by their letter and number designation. A1, B1,C2, etc.


Getting started, just click on A1 and enter “a”. Next click on B1 and enter 1.

Note how “a” hugs the left side of the cell and “1” hugs the right. This is because Excel automatically tries to define the data type in the cell. This this case, “a” is text and 1 is numeric.


Now right click on the cell holding 1 (B1) and select Format Cells…


From the pop up window, select Text and click okay. This converts 1 from Number to Text


Now see how both cells hug the left.


Cool Tricks

Excel has some cool tricks. I know most intro lessons don’t jump into what I am about to cover, but learning something cool always makes the learning process more fun.

Go to cell A3 and type “Monday”

Now notice the small green box in the bottom right corner of your cell. Click on that box, holding your mouse button key, drag your cursor down to A9


How cool was that?


Try it with month names.


Now, trying it a number is a little different. Try placing 1 in a cell and dragging it down a couple cells. The numbers just repeat themselves.


To get the numbers to work, type 1,2,3 in 3 consecutive cells.


Highlight all 3 cells and click on the small green box. Now drag down a few cells and see what happens.


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