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How To:Excel © R. Craig Collins, 2005, 15

Word Tables to Excel Tables (pdf)
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Using Word and Excel for basic Database functions (pdf)

The nice thing about Excel is the layout is very similar to Word; same icons, similar ribbon items, etc. And if you have used tables in Word, you already have an idea of what spreadsheets do. The biggest difference is that a spreadsheet table can manipulate numbers much better than just adding a row, as you can in Word... and Excel does all the math. (Note, a video demonstrating key points is here)

      Excel Key Points
      Excel is a spreadsheet, a program for manipulating numbers.
      A spreadsheet is composed of tables, which are made up of rows and columns; the intersection is a cell
      Most work in spreadsheets are done using formulas, such as =3+5, or =A1-B2
      Compound or complex formulas are called functions, such as =sum(A1:B2)

Lesson: Entering Data into an Excel Worksheet

Understanding Excel Data Types
Spreadsheets are designed to calculate formulas, analyze numerical data, and display information in charts. Instead of typing in just words, which are called labels in a spreadsheet, you may also enter numbers, called values, or manipulate the numbers with functions and formulas.

Entering Text
Rows are divided into cells, into which you can type labels, values, formulas, or functions. Select a cell with your mouse, or use the arrow keys, the type a word or phrase, and then hit the Enter key. Text is left aligned, by default.

 
A
B
C
D
E
F
1   Test 1   Test 2   Test 3   Test 4   Test 5  
2 Student 1            
3 Student 2            
A sample table with column and row labels

Tips on Entering Column and Row Labels
If you are typing labels, hitting Enter moves you down one row, while Tab moves you one column to the right.

Adding Comments to Cells
You may also add the equivalent of a post-it note on a cell, called a comment. Choose Review/New Comment and type in your note, then click someplace else and it shrinks to a little marker. To read it again, place the mouse pointer on the marker.
Excel Review Ribbon

Entering Numbers
To enter values, just type the numbers in a cell. They will right align.
 
A
B
C
D
E
F
1   Test 1   Test 2   Test 3   Test 4   Test 5  
2 Student 1     99   96   94   87   26
3 Student 2     99   100   89   93   99
A sample table with values entered

Entering Dates and Time
If you type in 04/09/2005, Excel recognized that as a date. If you type in 10:00 pm Excel recognizes that as a time. You may always change the way the time or date is formatted, by right clicking and choosing Format/Cells. Other formatting is on the Home tab.
Excel 2007 Home Ribbon

Copying (Filling) the Same Data to Other Cells
If you point at the lower right corner of a cell, the cursor turns to a +. If you were to click and drag that, it would copy the value to the next cell. This has variations, which are covered in the next section.

Entering a series of Numbers, dates, and other data
If you enter a 1 in a cell, then enter a 2 in the cell below it, the Copy function works differently. If you select the two cells by dragging across them, then point at the lower right corner of the bottom cell, the cursor again turns to a +. If you were to click and drag that pointer down 5 cells, it would place a 3 in the next cell, a 4 in the following cell, etc. This works only if Excel recognizes a pattern, such as Months, Days, and numerical patterns.


A shortcuts option box will help you if Excel doesn't see the right pattern.


Take advantage of AutoComplete
If you are constantly putting Test as a label, Excel will also recognize this as a pattern, and will complete what it thinks you are typing. If this AutoComplete is what you want, just hit Tab or Enter. If not, just keep typing and the AutoComplete will go away and be replaced by the word(s) you enter.

Lesson: Performing Simple Calculations in Excel

Understanding Excel Formulas
To add two numbers, Excel needs to know that you are entering a formula, not just values. Formulas begin with '='. Enter in =2+2 and press the enter key... The solution appears in the cell. Click on the cell holding the solution, and the formula bar shows you what generated the answer.


You may also use your high school algebra, and enter =(2+2)/8 to get .5. Order of operations are discussed later in the book.
You may also use =A1+A2 to add the values currently held in Cell A1 (top left) and A2 (right next to it).

Order of Operations
Operation Normal Math How Entered
Parens (2+2) + 8 =(2+2)+8
Exponents 53 =5^3
Multiplication 2 x 2 =2*2
Division 4÷2 =4/2
Addition 2+2 =2+2
Subtraction 2-2 =2-1


Entering Formulas
Aside from entering =31+A, you could also type =31+ then using the mouse, click on A1. Press Enter when finished.

Using the Status Bar AutoCalculate Feature
If you highlight a series of cells, on the status bar on some versions of Excel appears the sum of the numbers. This is only a preview feature. You may also right click the sum to get other calculations.

Note the Sum=7 preview on the status bar

Editing Formulas
If you decide to change a formula that has been entered, select the cell, then make the changes in the formula bar. Or select the cell, and click [F2]

To reveal all formulas, press Control + [`] (the unshifted ~). To go back to normal view, press Control + [`] again

Lesson: Performing Calculations with Functions
What are functions
Functions are stored formulas, so instead of typing in =A1+A2+A3, you could do =SUM(A1:A3), which means add values in A1 through A3.
There are many useful functions, such as AVERAGE, COUNT, plus financial, statistical, database, etc. Using Excel's Help, read Function Reference. You may quickly tell Excel you want to use a function by clicking the fx next to the formula bar, or use the Formula tab.
See Functions below for more on the Formula tab.


Using Auto-Sum (Sum)
If you click under a column of numbers, and press the [] button, Excel will automatically Sum those numbers.
Excel 2007 Home Ribbon

Using the Insert Function Feature
As shown above, you may click the fx button to enter a function, but you may also choose the Formula tab. Dialog boxes will assist you with complex functions. Drag across cells to input them into the dialog box, and use different ranges of numbers (such as A1:A3 andA17). If you have trouble seeing the cells to click on, click the Collapse button on the Number text box, choose the number, the click the Expand button to get back to the dialog box. (Just like minimizing any window...)
Excel 2007 Formula Ribbon

Lesson: Resizing Columns
Note, you don't resize cells, you resize columns.
If text is too large to fit in the cell, it may spill into the next cell (as in row 2),
however, the second something is added to the cell to the right (as in row 3), the words will be truncated.

Example
 
A
B
C
D
E
1   Test 1   Test 2   Test 3   Test 4  
2 Student 1      
3 Stud   99   96   94   87
         

The problem is, if numbers were spilling into the next cell, truncation might mislead you as to what the actual number was...
is it 50 or 500000? So numbers don't truncate... instead, if the column is not wide enough to hold a number, it displays #####

Example
 
A
B
C
D
E
F
1   Test 1   Test 2   Test 3   Test 4    
2 Student 1        
3 Stud   99   96   94 ###  
           

To correct this situation, resize the column.
Three methods
1. Place your cursor between the two columns, the cursor changes to a double sided arrow, click and drag to resize
     Excel resize cursor

2. Highlight all the columns that need to be resized, the double click the line between any two of the columns

3. On the Home tab, choose Format, then choose Column Width
     Excel Home\Format

Lesson: Formatting
To change text color, alignment, fill color:
Choose the cell, then choose the Home tab, then select Format, then Format Cells...
(See image above)
You may also right click the cell.

Lesson: Creating Charts
Understanding Charting Terminology
Add the following to an Excel Spreadsheet:

Grade Count
A 7
B 6
C 2
D 1

Select all the cells except the labels at the top, and using the Insert tab, select pie chart, and then Finish.
Excel Insert Ribbon

Now you are ready to understand some terms.
The pie wedges represent data series, in this case, the number of As (7) or Bs (6).
Categories would be the labels. They aren't in this chart, because they weren't selected.
Some charts are on a grid, the horizontal and vertical lines are called axis. The dividing lines are called gridlines.
The legend indicates which color is for A, for B, etc.

Working with different Charts Types

Pie is for parts of a whole; Bar and Column are for comparing values at a point in time; Line, Area and Scatter show trends.

Creating and Saving a Chart
Instead of jumping to Finish, as we did earlier, There are many steps you may add to control whether or not your data is in rows or columns, includes categories or not, controlling the legend, etc. Look on the new ribbon when a chart is selected. Experiment!

Moving and Resizing a Chart
Once a chart is created, it can be dragged and resized. Click on the outside border to move, or click and drag one of the square box edges that show up after being clicked to resize. Hold the shift key down to keep it proportional.

Printing a Chart

If you wish to print just the chart, and not the whole workbook, select the chart, and then choose Office Button/Print. The Selected Chart button should already be selected... choose [OK]