Introduction to Microsoft Excel
By Stephen Bucaro
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application used to perform financial calculations,
statistical analysis, and other mathematical operations. A spreadsheet is an interactive
program that displays rows and columns. Using a spreadsheet, you can manipulate and
analyze data in ways that would be difficult to do manually.
Excel files are known as "workbooks". A workbook consists of "sheets", each of which
contain 256 columns labeled from A to IV (the letters IV, not Roman numeral 4) and
65,536 rows numbered from 1 to 65,536.
The intersection of a row and a column is called a "cell". 256 columns x 65,536 rows
gives you 16,777,216 cells per sheet. A workbook can have as many sheets as your computer
can store in memory. A cell can hold text, a number, a formula, or it can hold nothing at all.
Each cell has an address, which is the column row location of the cell. For example
the address of the cell in the upper-left corner of a worksheet is A1. The address of the
cell in the sixth column and the tenth row is F10. The address of the cell at the farthest
lower-right corner of a worksheet is IV65536.
Lets create a simple example spreadsheet
To open Excel, select Start | All programs | Microsoft Office | Microsoft Excel.
The Excel program window appears. When you open Excel, by default it creates a blank workbook
A worksheet always has one active cell. The active cell is the one that is currently
selected and has a thick border. The contents of the active cell is displayed in the
"Formula Bar" located just above the column headings. When you first open Excel, the
active cell is A1.