Tips & Tricks

Easy-to-Understand Basics of Excel

This is a brief yet concrete introduction to the world of Excel. This list should be helpful when you’re just getting started using excel. You can use it to create a foundation upon which you will further build your knowledge (with additional study).

Basics Overview:


  • MS EXCEL is used for calculations, databases, and to create reports, etc. that contain numerical data.
  • An Excel worksheet is divided into cells.
  • Each cell is identified by the column and row in which it is located: A3, G6, etc.
  • The active cell is highlighted; it is the cell where data is about to be entered or altered. Upon opening a blank Excel worksheet, A1 is the active cell.
  • Data in the active cell also appears in the function (fx) box above the worksheet.
  • Navigate by using the arrow keys.
  • Access a cell: Navigate to OR click on desired cell.
  • Enter data: Go to desired cell and type in the data/ or an arrow key
  • Alter data: Go to desired cell //use arrow keys to go to desired position in cell
  • Delete data: Go to desired cell /; OR
  • Block desired cells /
  • Alter row width: Block cells to be altered/Format/Column/Width; change the measurement to your specification
  • Alter column width: Block cells to be altered/Format/Row/Height; change the measurement to your specification; OR, at the top of the worksheet where the column letters are located, place cursor on column line between the column to be expanded or retracted and the column to its right; opposing arrows appear; drag column to desired width
  • If no cell can be activated after pasting a formula: ,OR left-click in the function (fx) box above the worksheet then Left-click on any cell

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