First steps with Excel Dr. M. Lawrence Clevenson Starting Excel To start Excel, there may be an icon for Excel on your screen; if so, double-click it. Also, the Start menu may have Open Office Document; click on Start in the lower left corner, and see if an icon for New Office Document appears. After clicking on that, see if one of the choices is Blank Workbook with a green X. If so, double-click on that choice. The choice that will surely be available for everyone is to first click on Start, then Programs, then either Microsoft Excel or MS Office 2000 and then Microsoft Excel. Moving Around Once “in” Excel, you will see a rectangular array of cells, above which are rows of menu choices and icons. The cell in row 1 and column A has a darker border than the others; it is the active cell, which means that anything that you input with the keyboard will go will go in that cell, called A1. You can change the active cell with the mouse, by clicking, or with the navigation keys, arrow keys and Page Up and Page Down keys. The End key in combination with an arrow key moves the active cell to the last nonblank cell if you start in a nonblank cell, and the first nonblank cell if you start in an empty cell. All of your cells should start empty (blank), so End (just press once and release; do not hold down) DownArrow and End RightArrow should bring you to cell IV65536 , which informs you that Excel allows 65,536 rows and 256 columns, labeled A, B, C, …, Z, AA, AB, …, AZ, …, IU, IV. To return to A1, try End UpArrow and End LeftArrow, or Ctrl+Home, a command that (usually) returns to A1. Entering Data The cells in Excel are either empty or contain labels, values, or formulas. Let’s start with a simple example: enter Marital Status of US Adults in A1. In B2 and C2 enter Marital Status and Count (millions) . Then make a column of entries beneath these two headings that look like the columns below Never married 43.9 Married 116.7 Widowed 13.4 Divorced 17.6 Most likely the labels in B2, C2, and B3 through B6 don’t fit in the cells, but Excel is recording all of the characters. To see them, use the mouse to click on the space between the column labels B and C, and then click and drag it to the right; this adjusts the width of the column. If you double click between the column labels, Excel will make the width just large enough to cover all the existing entries in that column. The menu command is Format > Column > Autofit or Alt+o c a (with the cells selected or highlighted) First steps, p. 1 of 6, Dr. M. Lawrence Clevenson
First Graph There are many ways to make graphs with Excel. One of the easier ways is to use the “Chart Wizard.” Highlight the range from B2 to C6. For a small area like this, the easiest way to highlight is to click on any “corner” (B2, C2, B6, or C6), and drag to the opposite corner. Very large areas are highlighted more quickly by holding the Shift key and then using the End and Arrow buttons. Try that method also. While this area is highlighted, click on the Chart button; this icon looks like a blue, yellow, and red bar graph. Excel gives you many choices and sub-choices of graphs.
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