1) File names: The extension (.xls) tells you at a glance that this is an Excel file: for example, "budget1.xls".

2) Help Menu: 1) When in doubt, pull down the Help menu. You can click on any green words to find out more about those items. Or type the first few characters of the topic you want help on, then select or search further for the topic highlighted. Then click on Show Topics. Select the topic you want, then click Go to.

3) File Menu: 1) Pull down the File menu by clicking on the File at the upper left hand corner of the screen.

4) Open/New: 1) Click on New from the File Menu to create a new spreadsheet. 2) Click on Open to open an existing spreadsheet. (Insert a floppy drive and change disk drives to A: or B: first if the spreadsheet you want to work on is on a floppy diskette instead of your hard drive (usually the C:\ drive).) Scroll and find the right file name and double-click on it to open it.

5) Save/Save As: Click on Save As the first time you save your spreadsheet in order to give it a name. Click in the "File Name" box in the upper left hand corner to move the flashing cursor there, and then type the file name you want.

    Click on Save the next time you save the document. (You don’t need to use Save As because your document already has a title.)

6) Close: Click on Close, when you are finished with your spreadsheet. If your spreadsheet has not yet been saved, the computer will ask you if you want to save it. Click on No if you don’t, Yes if you do (and then type in a file name for the spreadsheet).

7) Column width: To change the column width, move the pointer to the line between the, for example, A and B in the header above the cells of the spreadsheet. The pointer will change from an arrow to a double arrow pointing left and right. Hold down the left mouse button and drag left to make the whole A column narrower, or drag right to make the A column wider. Let go of the mouse button when you are satisfied with the column width.

8) Inserting column/row: Click on, say, the A column again. Move the pointer up to the Menu Bar and click on Edit. Then select Insert. Do this however many times you need for the number of columns you want to insert. Likewise, click on a row number (which are found along the left edge of the spreadsheet) and use Edit and Insert to insert a new row.

9) Delete column/row: Click on a column or row to highlight it, but this time select Delete under the Edit menu.

10) Cells, cell references: Cells are referred to by, first, the column, then the row in which they are found. So B5 is in the B column and #5 row. If you insert a new row above the #5 row, the formula or value in B5 will be pushed down into the B6 cell. If you have another cell, say C2, that uses a formula or value in B5, the formula will automatically be "updated" to reflect the change. (In other words, the formula will now contain B6, not B5.)

     If you do not want the formula to be updated, use the following "syntax" in your formula in C2:

$B$5 (the result of the formula in C2 will depend on whatever is in B5, and not B6).

11) Labeling headers/rows: Instead of using a cell name such as C1 or a range of cells such as C1: C16, you can name the cell or the whole range using Create Name under Formula on the Menu Bar. (You could name the aforementioned cell or range "Amount," for example.) You can then use this name instead of the cell name, like this:

SalesTax = 0.0775*Amount

      in a formula elsewhere in your spreadsheet.

12) Formulae: You insert a formula into a cell by first clicking on that cell to highlight it, then typing a "=" (without the quote marks).

13) Summing: To sum just a few cells, type the cell names separated by a + , like this:


     For a much longer range of cells, you can type SUM after the = and then, in parentheses, type the range of cells you want to sum, separated by a colon, like this:


14) Autosum: If you want to put the sum right under the above column of cells (i.e., in cell D26), you can do so by highlighting cell D26 and then clicking on the Autosum button in the Tool Bar (the Autosum button looks like this:      ).

15) Multiplying, dividing, exponents: Substitute an * for the X for multiplication. Use a / instead of the ¸ for dividing. For exponents, use ^ (Shift-6), like this:

=D1^2 (which would equal 25, if D1 = 5).

      Use parentheses to separate different parts of your formula and to force the computer to calculate these different parts before other parts of your formula. Example:

=(A1+A2)*(A3+A4) would equal 21 (and not 11), if A1=1, A2=2, A3=3 and A4=4

16) Fill down, Fill right: Click on a cell with a value or a formula and drag down however many cells you want to "Fill down" with the same value or formula. (Or do this horizontally with a row for "Fill right.") If what you had in the first cell is a formula that refers to or uses an adjacent cell, the formula in each subsequent cell will be modified for each cell in the series to use the updated cell reference. For example,




























 Filling down from cell C1 Ý

You should see the following sums in the C column:






17) Print/Print preview: To see a document on the screen before you print it out on the printer, go up to the File Menu and select Print Preview. To print the document to the Printer, select Print. Select the number of copies you want. Select the numbers of the pages you want printed out. Use the Tab key to jump from the "From" (Page No.) to the "To" (Page No.) boxes. If you want all the pages to print out, leave "ALL" selected. (If you want just page 1 to print out, type in "1" in both the "From Page No." and the "To Page No." boxes.)

18) Page setup: "Landscape" vs. "Portrait"–Landscape means the page will be turned on its side so that it is wider than it is high (i.e., 11" wide X 8½" high). Portrait means 11" high X 8½" wide. The above assumes that you are printing on "Letter Size" paper. (Generally, for spreadsheets with many columns, you will want to use "landscape.")

19) Print area: To select a print area smaller than your whole spreadsheet, drag and highlight the whole range diagonally, then click on Options on the Tool Bar and then Set Print Area. You can grab any border, or the "handle" at the lower right hand corner (the pointer will turn into a cross when you do so), and drag to change the print area as you wish.

20) Page numbers: Go to File in the Menu Bar, select Page Setup and then click on Footer. Note that the center window says "Page &P". This means that "Page" will print on the bottom of each page you print out, with the appropriate page number following. If you want the page number to print on the bottom right corner, delete the above from the center window and type the same into the right window. (You can also click on the button that looks like a piece of paper with a "#" in the middle of it, but do this only after you click the flashing cursor into the right box and the right place in the box. This can also be done in the Header boxes.) [You can also have the file name of your spreadsheet automatically printed out on each page. (Use "&F" in the Header or Footer.)]