Excel Module

  • In the next section of this course we will be dealing with Microsoft Excel. Excel is a spreadsheet, but what does this mean? Well it simply means that it has been specifically designed to work with numbers. Can you think of any instances where we may use a spreadsheet? Financial (monetary) presentations, like budgets, profit and loss statements, teachers making use of excel to keep track of students marks, or keeping track of your own personal finances are some of the areas where a spreadsheet can be handy. We can also use excel to draw graphs and tables that illustrate numerical information. An Excel spreadsheet is made up of smaller sections called worksheets, a worksheet is a single page document, you could also have a number of worksheets that belong to a single document and these together will be referred to as a "Workbook‟. So just as you could have a Word document that has multiple pages, you can also have multiple pages in a Spreadsheet.

    Microsoft Excel

    Below is a screen capture of an Excel Worksheet. There are a number of things I would like you to take note of before we open the program. Study the diagram below carefully and see if you can identify any features that look similar to the features you used in Word.

    Opening a Workbook

    I now want you to open Excel: Go to your Desktop,
    • Click on
    • The Microsoft Office Button
    • All Programs
    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Excel 2010
    Let’s have a closer look at the Ribbon: You will notice that although the ribbon looks similar to the ribbon in Word some of the headings are different, this is because as we said earlier Word is designed for "word‟ processing whereas Excel is designed for "number‟ processing.

    The Ribbon

    Excel's ribbon contains the following headings:
    File, Home, Insert, Page layouts, Formulas, Data, Review, View, Add-Ins and Acrobat. Each heading or tab as they will be referred to from now on, is divided into different groups. These groups contain the features that fall under each specific tab(heading).

    Home: Clipboard, Fonts, Alignment, Number, Styles, Cells, Editing.
    Insert: Tables, Illustrations, Charts, Links, Text.
    Page Layouts: Themes, Page Setup, Scale to Fit, Sheet Options, Arrange.
    Formulas: Function Library, Defined Names, Formula Auditing, Calculation.
    Data: Get External Data, Connections, Sort & Filter, Data Tools, Outline.
    Review: Proofing, Comments, Changes.
    View: Workbook Views, Show/Hide, Zoom, Window, Macros.



    • Click on a column (right at the top by the column name).
    • Right click your mouse.
    • On the drop down menu that appears select insert.
    • A new column will appear.
    • You can insert rows in the same manner.


    • To delete a column.
    • Click on the column you want to delete.
    • Right click.
    • Select delete on the drop down menu and click on it.
    • The column you just created will be erased.
    • If you click on a single cell and follow the procedure described above.
    • (right click and select insert/delete) you will be prompted to choose between moving cells or entire rows.
    • This is useful if you only want to move one cell over.
    • It is quicker and easier than cutting and pasting the cell to the next block.

    Make sure you can use the right click feature comfortably, as it is a short cut to many of the Excel and Word menus.

    Resizing Cells

    Sometimes when we are working with tables the columns are all required to be the same size. In our case the size they are set to is too small so how do we change them so that all the columns stay equal sizes.
    • Highlight the cells we need to change
    • On the Home tab, click on Format
    • Cell Size
    • Column width
    • Change the width to 12
    • Ok
    • Click on the undo button
    • The cells will return to how they were.

    If it was not necessary for the cells to be of equal size we could go the easy root and just change the width of the offending column.

    • Move your cursor to the top of your column and slowly move the mouse over the line that separates the columns.
    • You will notice the cursor changes to a line with two arrows.
    • Click on the line and drag it to the right.
    • A box that gives the column width will appear, keep dragging till you get to the desired size
    • Release the mouse button.

    Just the one column will now have changed.

    Adding up Columns

    In order to make Excel add the columns for us we need to enter a ‘Formula’. A formula is a set of mathematical instructions that Excel uses to perform calculations. Whenever we enter a formula it always starts with an = sign. There are various ‘elements’ that make up an excel formula, it is easier for you to understand what you are asking the computer to do when you type in a formula rather than just trying to memorise it.

    When we enter the = we are telling the computer we need it to find the answer. (= means find the answer) Next we need to tell the computer what we need the answer to, in other words: if, we want to find the totals for a bunch of columns this is the procedure we would follow: (Look at the image to see our example)

    • We will start with the first column, column A
    • We want our answer to appear below the information is column A so we click on A8 and enter an =
    • A small drop down menu will appear, you can either scroll down the menu till you get to SUM or you can type in SUM
    • We then open our brackets ( and move the cursor to A4 (That is where we want to start adding)
    • Click on A4 we then type a .(full stop) this tells Excel that we want to add a string of numbers.
    • Now move the cursor down and click on A7 and close your brackets ) press enter
    • The total for the column will appear in cell A8

    Saving a Workbook

    To save a Workbook (Spreadsheet):
    • Click on:
    • File
    • Save as
    • Select the folder you want to save the document into
    • Type the name of the document into the document name line
    • Click on Save
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