This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.
1
A Guide to Using Excel in Physics Lab
Excel has the potential to be a very useful
program that will save you lots of time.
Excel
is especially useful for making repetitious
calculations on large data sets.
It keeps track
of your numbers, and can do the math for you.
It does, however, have a learning curve that
can be rather steep.
Hopefully, this handout
will make Excel more accessible and easier to
use. In the meantime, remember the first law of
computer use: computers are amazingly
powerful, and equally stupid.
Data Entry:
We will begin with how to enter data into an
Excel spreadsheet.
When you open a new file
in Excel, you will see a blank page
(spreadsheet) with a lot of little boxes (cells)
that says “Book1” in the upper left hand corner.
Book1 is simply the default
filename, which will change once you save and name your file.
All Excel files will
appear as “Filename.xls”, just as Word documents are “Filename.doc”.
Entering
data directly into the spreadsheet is fairly straightforward; you pick a column, label
it accordingly, and enter your data.
So if you had measured, say, the distance an
object had traveled
x
and had 10 data points, you would label column A [
x
(m)],
and enter your data down the column
filling up rows until row 11.
See Fig. 1
for a visual.
Calculations:
You can also perform calculations in
Excel.
If, for example, you measured the
time it took an object to cover a known
distance, and want to know the velocity,
you can use Excel to do the calculation.
After entering the time and distance data
into the spreadsheet, you will have two
columns of data, labeled distance and
time.
You can now make a third column,
labeled velocity.
In this column you will
not enter data, but a function.
If distance
is in Column A and time is in Column B,
then you would put “=A2/B2” in the
Column you labeled velocity, say
Figure 1:
Suggested layout for data.
Figure 2:
This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.
View Full Document
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
to
access the rest of the document.
This note was uploaded on 07/24/2009 for the course PHY 092342 taught by Professor Knott during the Spring '09 term at Cosumnes River College.
 Spring '09
 Knott
 Physics

Click to edit the document details