Learn how to set up and use the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet editor on a Windows or Mac OS X computer.
Part 1 of 5: How to Prepare to Use Excel
Step 1. Install Microsoft Office if it is not on your computer
Microsoft Excel cannot be installed as a standalone program - it is included with a Microsoft Office package or subscription.
Step 2. Open an existing Excel spreadsheet
To do this, just double-click on it. The table will open in an Excel window.
Skip this step if you want to create a new Excel spreadsheet
Step 3. Start Excel
Click or double-click on the white X on a dark green background.
Step 4. Select a template (optional)
If you would like to use an Excel template (such as a budget planning template), scroll down to find the appropriate template, and then click on it to open.
To simply create a blank table, click New Book in the upper left corner and skip the next step
Step 5. Click Create
It's an option to the right of the template name.
Step 6. Wait for the table to open
It will take a few seconds. As soon as the screen displays an Excel template or a blank table, you can start entering data.
Part 2 of 5: How to enter data
Step 1. Become familiar with Excel tool ribbon tabs
There are several tabs on the green toolbar at the top of the Excel window. Each of these tabs contains a corresponding set of tools. The main tabs are:
- Home - includes tools for formatting text, changing the background of a cell, and so on.
- Insert - Includes tools for working with tables, charts, graphs and equations.
- Page Layout - Includes tools for customizing margins, orientation, and themes.
- Formulas - includes tools for working with formulas.
Step 2. Use the cells of the first row for headings
If data is entered into an empty table, in the first cells of each column (for example, cells A1, B1, C1 and so on) enter titles. This is useful when creating graphs or tables that require labels.
Step 3. Select a cell
Click on the cell where you want to enter data.
For example, if you are using a budget planning template, click the first blank cell to select it
Step 4. Enter text or number
Step 5. Press ↵ Enter
The text or number is added to the cell, and you move to the next available cell.
Step 6. Change the data
To change the entered data, click on the corresponding cell and edit the data in the text box, which is located above the first row of cells.
Step 7. Format the text (optional)
To change the format of the text in a cell (for example, switch from currency format to date format), go to the "Home" tab, open the menu at the top of the "Number" section and select the desired data format.
You can also use conditional formatting to change cells according to specified conditions (for example, if the number in a cell is less than a certain value, the cell will turn red)
Part 3 of 5: How to use formulas
Step 1. Select the cell where you want to enter the formula
To do this, click on the desired cell.
Step 2. Perform basic math operations
Cell values can be added, subtracted, divided, and multiplied using the following formulas:
- Addition - enter = SUM (cell + cell) (for example,
= SUM (A3 + B3)) to add the values of two cells, or enter = SUM (cell, cell, cell) (for example,
= SUM (A2, B2, C2)) to add the values of multiple cells.
- Subtraction - enter = SUM (cell-cell) (for example,
= SUM (A3-B3)) to subtract the value of one cell from the value of another cell.
- Division - enter = SUM (cell / cell) (for example,
= SUM (A6 / C5)) to divide the value of one cell by the value of another cell.
- Multiplication - enter = SUM (cell * cell) (for example,
= SUM (A2 * A7)) to multiply the values of the two cells.
Step 3. Add up the numbers of one column
To do this, enter = SUM (cell: cell) (for example,
= SUM (A1: A12)) in the cell that displays the addition result.
Step 4. Use a complex formula
To do this, you need the "Insert function" option. First, click on the cell where you want to enter the formula.
Step 5. Click Formulas
It's a tab at the top of the Excel window.
Step 6. Click Insert Function
It's on the left side of the Formulas toolbar. A window will open.
Step 7. Select a function
In the window, click on the desired function and then click "OK".
For example, to select a function to calculate the tangent of an angle, scroll down and select TAN
Step 8. Enter a number or select a cell
When prompted, enter the number (or select the cell with the number you want) to apply the formula to.
- For example, if you selected the "TAN" function, enter the angle value for which you want to calculate the tangent.
- Depending on the function you have selected, you may have to click on several prompts on the screen.
Step 9. Press ↵ Enter
The formula will work, and the result will be displayed in the selected cell.
Part 4 of 5: How to Build a Graph
Step 1. Think about what data to select to build a graph
For example, to plot a line or bar graph, use one data bar for the horizontal axis and one data bar for the vertical axis.
Typically, the left column is used for the horizontal axis and the right column for the vertical axis
Step 2. Select data
While holding down the left mouse button, move the pointer from the upper left data cell to the lower right data cell.
Step 3. Click Insert
It's a tab at the top of the Excel window.
Step 4. Click Recommended Charts
You will find this option in the Charts section of the Insert toolbar. A window will open with various chart templates.
Step 5. Select a chart template
To do this, click on the desired chart template.
Step 6. Click OK
It's a button at the bottom of the window. The diagram will be created.
Step 7. Change the title of the graph
Double-click the title at the top of the chart, then delete the current title and enter yours.
Step 8. Change the titles of the chart axes
To add axis titles, click the green ＋ icon to the right of the graph and then use the Chart Elements menu.
Part 5 of 5: How to save an Excel spreadsheet
Step 1. Open the File menu
It's in the upper left of the window / screen.
Step 2. Click Save As
It's an option on the left side of the page (on Windows).
On a Mac, you will find this option in the File menu
Step 3. Double click on This PC
It's in the middle of the page.
On your Mac, click On My Mac
Step 4. Enter a name for the table
Do this in the File Name (Windows) or Name (Mac) text box in the Save As window.
Step 5. Select a folder to save
Click on the folder where you want to save the spreadsheet.
On a Mac, you may need to first open the Where menu and then select a file
Step 6. Click Save
It's a button at the bottom of the window. The spreadsheet will be saved in the selected folder under the specified name.
Step 7. Save your changes using the keyboard shortcut
While working on a spreadsheet, press Ctrl + S (Windows) or ⌘ Command + S (Mac) to save your changes without opening the Save As window.