spreadsheet basics - handouts... spreadsheet. the focus is on microsoft excel and google drive...
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Class Description This is an introduction to the basics of spreadsheets, with a focus on Microsoft Excel and Google Drive Spreadsheets. The main topics are navigation, editing, basic formatting, using auto‐fill, and using filters. All ages are welcome.
Class Length One and one‐half (1½) hours
Introduction After word processing, spreadsheets are probably the most important and widespread computer application. In fact, the first two ‘killer applications’ (an application regarded as so necessary or desirable that it sells the larger product which it uses) for personal computers were spreadsheet applications: VisiCalc for the Apple II and Lotus 1‐2‐3 for the IBM PC. Originally designed to replace accountants’ columnar paper, spreadsheets have become the norm wherever tabular data needs to be built, organized, and shared.
This class is targeted at beginning users and is intended to provide an introduction to the basics of using a computer spreadsheet. The focus is on Microsoft Excel and Google Drive Spreadsheets, but the lessons can be applied to other computer spreadsheet applications.
Objectives Learn the terminology of spreadsheets, especially cell, address, range, data region, column, row, and
sheet or worksheet
Learn how to quickly and easily move around in a spreadsheet Learn how to enter, change, and delete information entered into cells Learn how to use auto‐fill Learn basic formatting Learn how to create and use filters
This manual is a handout for you to keep. Please feel free to use it for taking notes.
Before We Begin: Please open Microsoft Excel and, if you wish, open Google Drive (drive.google.com). If you don’t already have a Google account, you can go to accounts.google.com/SignUp and register an existing e‐mail address (click on the I prefer to use my current email address link) or create a free gmail.com address; or, if you prefer, ask for the User ID and password for one of the genevalibraryclass(number)@gmail.com accounts — (please don’t change the password!).
If you want to do the exercises in just Google Drive Spreadsheets, that is fine; if you want to do the exercises in just Microsoft Excel, that is also okay.
Spreadsheet Terminology Each file (workbook in Microsoft Excel terminology; spreadsheet in Google Drive Spreadsheets terminology) can contain multiple sheets (Google Drive Spreadsheets terminology) or worksheets (Microsoft Excel terminology).
Each sheet/worksheet is divided into columns and rows. Columns are vertical; rows are horizontal. Columns are labelled, left‐to‐right, with letters (A, B, C …. Z, AA, AB … AZ, BA, BB ……. ZZ, AAA, AAB …..). Rows are numbered (Arabic numerals) top‐to‐bottom.
The most fundamental unit of spreadsheets is the cell (a box for holding information), which is the intersection of a column and a row. Its address is the letter(s) of its column, immediately followed by (no space) its row’s number. Thus, a sheet’s leftmost (column A) and topmost (row 1) cell is A1. Move two columns to the right (column C) and down twelve rows (row 13) and that cell’s address is C13.
Groups of cells are called ranges and may contain one or more columns and one or more rows (but are always rectangular). Ranges are referred to by the addresses of the first and last cell separated by a colon. In the example below, the numbers 1 through 8 are in range B2:B9, the numbers 9 through 24 in range C2:D9. All the numbers are in the range B2:D9.
Finally, a data region is an area of two or more contiguous cells which are not blank, regardless of whether they have been selected, bordered by either blank cells or by the edge of a (work)sheet. They may contain numbers, formulas, text, or some other thing. In the above example, the data region has been selected and is the same as the range.
When a range is selected, a spreadsheet will highlight the cells as well as the letter and number labels of the column(s) and row(s) involved.
When starting Microsoft Excel, the default workbook has three worksheets by default (which can be changed) and additional worksheets can be added (the maximum is determined by available memory of the PC). Each worksheet has 16,384 columns (A through XFD; cannot be changed) and 1,048,576 rows (cannot be changed) for a total of 17,179,869,184 cells.
When starting a Google Drive Spreadsheet (‘new Google Sheets’, introduced April 2014), there is a single sheet (more can be added; the old maximum was 200) with 26 columns (A through Z; more can be added to a maximum of 18,278 [ZZZ]; old limit was 256 columns) and 1000 rows (more can be added to a maximum well over 500,000). Although there is no official limit to the number of rows or cells (old limit 400,000), your browser will become sluggish and may crash with very large spreadsheets.
Although sharing a Google Drive Spreadsheet with others and working on it concurrently is easier than with Microsoft Excel, if you need a large spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel is much more capable.
Ranges—the following are equivalent: B2:D9, B9:D2, D9:B2, and D2:B9, but the convention is to start from leftmost and topmost to rightmost and bottommost. If you use a range in a non-standard order in a formula, spreadsheets will rearrange the range to a conventional order.
Equivalents: A file (workbook/spreadsheet) is like a file folder holding one or more pieces of columnar paper. A worksheet/sheet is like a piece of columnar paper. Columns are (vertical) columns; rows are (horizontal) rows; and each box in columnar paper is the equivalent of a electronic spreadsheet’s cell.
Navigating a Spreadsheet Both the keyboard and the mouse can be used for navigating a spreadsheet. A partial list of keyboard shortcuts is given in the following pages. The mouse can be used to
select a single cell (move the mouse pointer to cell and click on it)
a range of cells (move the mouse pointer to one corner of the cells you want to select, click and hold the left mouse button down whilst moving the mouse pointer [dragging] to the opposite corner of the cells you want to select, then release the mouse button)
scroll left and right using the horizontal scroll bar
scroll up and down using the vertical scroll bar or using the mouse wheel
1. In an empty cell, type January and press I. This is the basic way to enter data into a cell.
2. Move back to the cell containing ‘January’. Position the mouse pointer over the lower‐right corner of the cell where there is a very small square. The pointer should change from: (Excel default) or, in Google Drive Spreadsheets, the mouse pointer your browser uses to a a plain, black plus sign (especially large in Google Drive Spreadsheets).
(In Microsoft Excel, if you miss the lower right corner, but are over an edge of the cell border, you might see something like this: — that is for dragging cell(s) to a new place on the spreadsheet. To use the Auto‐fill, you need to be sure you are holding the mouse pointer over the lower‐right corner of the cell.
You should see something like this:
3. Click and hold the left mouse button while moving the mouse down (dragging) across several cells. As you do so, you will see the names of the other months. Drag down at least a dozen cells before releasing the left mouse button.
This is the Auto‐fill feature.
4. Move to a blank cell, type Sunday and press I. 5. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, but drag the mouse to the right instead. The Auto‐fill feature works in all four directions
for any sequence of numbers (to use Auto‐fill with numbers, at least two numbers must be entered) and for any ‘Custom list’. There are four pre‐defined lists:
Sun, Mon, Tue ... Sunday, Monday, Tuesday ... Jan, Feb, Mar ... January, February, March ...
6. Experiment with the Auto‐fill using short (three‐letter) and complete names of the days of the week and months in ALL CAPS, mixed case, and lower case. Experiment with number sequences, too.
Note: You can enter any month or any weekday to begin an Auto-fill list. It isn’t necessary to start with the first one.