Simple Directions for Excel Spreadsheets

by Carl Carabelli

Microsoft Excel allows a computer user to replicate an account ledger by using spreadsheets. The user can enter data, manipulate cells and create formulas to perform a number of mathematical functions. While Excel is capable of a variety of functions, the average user can benefit greatly by learning a few basics.


Right click any cell. Click "Format." From the menu that pops up, you can perform several functions. You can change the font, the background color and create a border. Most importantly, you can set the format for numbers that you type in the cells. These styles include general (for example, "100"), number (100.00), percentage (100.00%) and currency ($100.00) among others. You can also set the number of decimal places and the style for negative numbers.


Manipulate multiple cells by placing the cursor in the first cell. Click to highlight it, but do not release the mouse button. Drag the cursor over all the cells you want to manipulate.


Highlight the entire spreadsheet by clicking the square between the row numbers and column letters in the top left corner of the screen.


Insert rows by right-clicking the row number(s). Click "Insert" in the box that pops up.


Insert columns by right-clicking the row letter(s). Click "Insert" in the box that pops up.


Increase or decrease the sizes of rows or columns by clicking the area between them. Drag a row or column to the desired length. Return it to the original length by double-clicking the area between the rows or columns.


Type formulas in the bar marked with an "Fx." These will allow you to perform a variety of mathematical functions. For example, if you type "=SUM(A1:A5)" in the formula bar, Excel will add all the data from Column A, Row 1 to Column A, Row 5. For a list of commonly used formulas, refer to the link in the "References" section below.


Right-click the tab at the bottom of the screen. From the box that pops up, you can move, copy or delete your entire spreadsheet. This is useful if you require several sheets with similar data.

About the Author

Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.

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