Excel Basics – Getting them right is the most important step to using Excel
Microsoft Excel is not a difficult program to understand and I recommend understanding the Excel basics before jumping too far forward. The only barrier to becoming an Excel expert is your own confidence. This is a challenge with any new software, as we humans always put ourselves down when faced with something new. This is the same when we use new software, we immediately admit defeat and say we do not understand.
This is even more of an issue when it comes to learning Excel because not only do you have to learn new software, you need to tackle your understanding of maths. This is another area where people do not feel confident. When it comes to maths many people are happier to admit defeat and say they don’t understand rather than push themselves to understand maths and numbers better.
So if you’re feeling nervous about learning Excel perhaps you should consider it’s most likely your own barriers, which is causing this. Once you put all your insecurities about understanding maths to one side, you can get on with understanding Excel for what it is; a software program like any other software program.
Understanding Excel basics will make you feel more confident
The key to being successful with any new software is to understand the absolute excel basics. It’s not uncommon to start using new software and completely ignore the fact that you’ve come across things you don’t understand. This is fine to an extent because you need to discover new things without asking questions about anything that pops in your head. However, it’s also important you don’t ignore something you don’t understand because you feel it’s something you should know.
This may sound like common sense, but it’s pretty common for people just to struggle on trying to learn something even when they got lost ten minutes earlier. The problem with this is instead of trying to take in what you’re currently doing, your mind will have a nagging sensation of your in over your head and that you don’t understand. So remember just one thing, never try to learn something new without questioning things you don’t understand. This could be simply a certain word or phrase you don’t understand. Until you’ve tackled the problem of finding out what that word or phrase is, you’ll not be able to continue going forward.
We will be looking at Excel Basics in this article
We will take a look at the Excel basics in this article. If you already have an understanding of Microsoft Excel then you may want to skip this article. A Complete Guide on how to use Microsoft Excel is the place to go if you want to take a look at what you can learn next about Excel.
Watch the video to get a better understanding of Excel Basics
To get a good understanding of the Excel basics I would strongly recommend reading this article in conjunction with the video at the top of this article. By watching the video and reading the article you should feel confident about Excel basics such as workbooks, worksheets, rows, columns and cells.
The Excel workbook
When you open Microsoft Excel you will have in front of you an Excel workbook. You should see a workbook similar to a physical book. This is because the workbook contains worksheets similar to sheets of paper in a physical book. The workbook stores your worksheets and you don’t work on the workbook directly. All of your work in Excel will be done on worksheets. As standard, a workbook opens with three worksheets. Worksheets are also known as tabs.
As mentioned above, an Excel workbook comes with three worksheets as standard. You can delete or add extra worksheets to your workbook. Worksheets are useful because you may not want to do all your work on a particular subject on one worksheet.
For example, say you have a workbook where you store your sales that you make on eBay. It would be perfectly normal to store these sales on a worksheet. However, it would not make much sense of storing information about your supplier on the same worksheet. It would make sense to have information about your supplier on a different worksheet in the same workbook.
Avoid saving information in separate workbooks if you need to use data from both sources.
You may question why you would not save your sales and supplier information on a separate workbook. There is nothing stopping you doing this, but as you will find out at a later date. Excel is a great software program when it comes to calculating numbers and gathering information from other data. Excel can gather data from different workbooks and bring all this data together in one workbook. However, this is not advised because this will rely on the file locations where your workbooks are stored to never change. It also takes extra processing power for your computer to grab information from a separate workbook. This is because only one workbook can be stored in any one Excel file. Grabbing data from a file takes much longer than grabbing data from a separate worksheet within the same workbook.
Always use worksheets to store relevant information
It would make sense to store your supplier information in the same workbook as your eBay sales. This is because your supplier information will most likely contain information such as Cost Price, Weight, Shipping Cost. This information is needed in your sales worksheet. So instead of having to type the Cost Price and Shipping Cost manually into your Sales worksheet, by storing your supplier information in a separate worksheet allows you to simply grab the data. To find out how you would do this take a look at my article How to do a Vlookup in Microsoft Excel.
This is why an Excel workbook comes with three worksheets as standard. Excel is a great program to avoid having to duplicate your workload. So by understanding how Excel works means you will save yourself hours even weeks of manual work over your lifetime.
Rows and Columns
Each worksheet is made up of thousands of rows and columns. It’s important to understand how columns and rows work in Excel because they are very similar to a map grid. To find a location on a map you would use the grid reference to locate the area. This is the same with Excel and the rows and columns will give you your address location of any particular cell. You can insert rows and columns, and delete rows and columns.
Cells in Excel
The cell in Excel is where you enter data. This data can be either alpha, numeric or a formula. Each cell in Excel has its own unique cell reference or address location. The cell reference is made up from the column and row of where the cell is located. As you can see in the picture below, the cell highlighted in yellow would have a cell reference of C3. This is because the cell is located in column C and row 3. It’s important you become confident with how cells work in Excel because it’s the cell where you will be doing most of your work.
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