You are on page 1of 8

Guide for Windows Excel 2003 Excel for Beginners James W.

Taylor

This guide consists of the following eight sections. 1. Opening, Closing and Saving Files 2. Entering Values, Labels and Formulae 3. Copying 4. Formatting 5. Functions 6. Inserting and Filling 7. Charts 8. Concluding Comments

1. Opening, Closing and Saving Files


Start up Excel by selecting Start All Programs Microsoft Excel

or by clicking on the Excel icon on the PCs desktop.

The initial screen should look similar to the diagram immediately below.
Title bar displays the file name Cell pointer marks current cell A letter identifies each column

A number identifies each row

Worksheet tab

From the main command menu, select File Open In the subsequent dialog box, locate the course subdirectory and specify the file AAA.xls. Click Open or double-click on the file name.

The AAA.xls spreadsheet should now be open. In a moment, we will close the spreadsheet. The main aim of the session will then be to build the same spreadsheet from scratch.

First, lets experiment with the spreadsheet model, which seems to show the sales, costs and profit in 12 quarters. Use the arrow keys on the PCs keyboard to move the highlighted cell to the right. Keep going until you see that, indeed, there are columns for 12 quarters, and total and average columns at the extreme right end. Change Sales Growth: Move the highlighted cell to B12 (use arrow keys or point your mouse at B12 and left click). Type 10% and press the Enter key. Change Price: Move the highlighted cell to B13. Type 25 and press the Enter key. Note how the cells in the spreadsheet change when you change the planning values. The graphs are linked to the values and so they also change.

From the main command menu, select File Close Click No, you do not want to save the changes made to AAA.xls. Now we will build a new spreadsheet, hopefully looking the same as AAA.xls.

We need a new empty spreadsheet, so from the main menu, select File New Click OK. Its always good practice to frequently save your work, so from the main menu, select File Save As In the resulting dialog box, save the work in your network space, under a suitable filename.

2. Entering Values, Labels and Formulae


Entries in spreadsheet cells can be either values (numbers), labels (text) or formulae.

In cell A1, type Sales Volume, and then type the other labels and values as shown in the diagram here.

Dont worry that the label entry in cell A1 is partially hidden. We will widen the column later.

In cell A3, type Sales Revenue. In B3, type the following formula =B1*B2. Make sure to type the equal sign, as it indicates to Excel that you want a formulae and not just a label.

As you build bigger spreadsheets, you will probably find that typing cell references, such as B1 and B2, in formulae is not the safest way to specify formulae. Lets try another approach. First, delete the contents of cell B3, by moving the highlighted cell to B3 and pressing the delete key. Now do the following: (i) type the equal sign in cell B3 (ii) point the mouse at cell B1 (or move the highlighted cell to B1) (iii) type the symbol * (iv) point the mouse at cell B2 (or move the highlighted cell to B2) (v) press Enter on the keyboard

Now type labels, values and formulae as shown in the diagram on the right here.

If you have made a mistake, move the highlighted cell to the offending cell. Then, either: (i) retype the correct entry, (ii) edit the existing entry by pressing the F2 key at the top of your keyboard, or (iii) edit the existing entry by pointing to the edit line with the mouse and pressing the left mouse button.

3. Copying
3.1. Copying Values or Labels To copy Price in cell B2 to the cell range C2..M2: (i) Select cell B2 (make this the highlighted cell) (ii) From the main menu, select Edit Copy (iii) Select cell range C2..M2 To highlight a range, hold the left-hand mouse button down while dragging over the range of cells. But sometimes you end up with a range much larger than you wanted. An alternative is to hold down the shift key and use the arrow keys to highlight the range. (iv) From the main menu, select Edit Paste

If it goes wrong, from the main menu, select Edit Undo

3.2. Copying Formulae and Relative Addressing Copying a formula involves the same steps. Try the following: (i) Select cell C1 (ii) From the main menu, select Edit Copy (iii) Select cell range D1..M1 (iv) From the main menu, select Edit Paste

Recall that the entry in cell C1 is =1.05*B1. If you make cell D1 the highlighted cell, and then take a look at the edit line, you will see that the formula copied into cell D1 is not the same. Formulae in Excel are copied with relative addressing. The formula in cell C1 refers to the cell to its immediate left. If this cell is copied to another, the formula in the new cell will refer to the cell to its immediate left. We return to this issue in Section 3.4.
4

3.3. Copying a Range Copying a range involves the same steps. Try the following: (i) Select cell range B3..B6 (ii) From the main menu, select Edit Copy (iii) Select cell range C3..M6 (iv) From the main menu, select Edit Paste The first seven columns of your spreadsheet should now look similar to this. Its high time, you saved the spreadsheet again. From the main menu, select File Save

3.4. Absolute Addressing As the price is the same (30) in all quarters, it seems cumbersome to have this value repeated across our spreadsheet. Clear out cells C2 to M2 by highlighting this range and pressing the delete key. We now need to change the formulae in our Sales Revenue row so that they all refer to B2. (i) Go to cell B3 and change the formula from =B1*B2 to =B1*$B$2 (A convenient way to do this is by making B3 the highlighted cell, then press F2 to go into edit mode, then move the cursor to the B2 part of the formula, then press the F4 key.) (ii) Select cell B3 (iii) From the main menu, select Edit Copy (iv) Select cell range C3..M3 (v) From the main menu, select Edit Paste Select cell C3, and take a look at the edit line. You will see that the formula in B3 has copied into cell C3 in a rather clever way. Unlike previously, the formula in cell C3 now refers to cell B2, which is the only cell containing the price value of 30. The part of the formula without the dollars has copied as before with relative addressing. The part with dollars has remained exactly the same. This is called absolute addressing.
5

4. Formatting
4.1. Formatting Values The spreadsheet is a mess with all those decimals. Lets change the format so that all values appear as integers.

(i) Select the range B1..M6 (ii) From the main menu, select Format Cells (iii) In the Format dialog box, select Category as Number Decimal places as 0

Clearly a great many other format options are available.

4.2. Column Width Column A is currently too narrow. Select the entire column by clicking once on the A at the top of the column. The whole column should now be highlighted. To specify a particular width, from the main menu, select Format Column Width To set the column width to be the width of the longest entry in the column, select Format Column AutoFit Selection Alternatively, point the mouse to the line separating the A and B labels at the top of the two columns. When the mouse pointer changes shape, hold the left mouse button down and move the mouse to the right to widen column A.

While we are focussing on column A, it is convenient to introduce Freezing. To freeze column A entries, select cell B1, and from the main menu, select Window Freeze Panes Move the highlighted cell to column M, which is the last of the 12 quarters. You should find that the first column in view remains as column A, which is useful as it allows us to easily identify what the different entries are in column M. To get rid of the freezing effect, select Window Unfreeze Panes
6

5. Functions
It would be nice to have row totals and averages at the end of each of our rows. Instead of writing rather long formulae for these, we can use Excels functions.

In cell N1, enter the formula =SUM(B1:M1) In cell O1, enter the formula =AVERAGE(B1:M1) Copy the cell range N1..O1 to the cell range N3..O6

To check out the many other Excel functions, from the main menu, select Insert Function or click on the Function icon in the row of icons immediately below the main command menu.

The logical, statistical and financial functions are likely to be useful in the future (e.g. =if, =stdev, =NPV).

6. Inserting and Filling


The spreadsheet needs column headings to indicate the 12 quarters. We first insert a row and then fill in the headings.

(i) To insert a row above row 1, click on the number 1 at the extreme left of the first row. This should highlight the entire row 1. Then, from the main menu, select Insert Rows (To delete an entire row, highlight the row, and then select Edit Delete.)

(ii) To fill a range with data, type 1 in cell B1, then select the range B1..M1 and, from the main menu, select Edit Fill Series and click OK when the dialog box appears

For completeness, type the heading Total in cell N1 and Average in cell O1.

7. Charts
Lets produce a quick chart for Profits. (i) Select range B7..M7 (ii) From the main menu, select Insert Chart or click on the Chart icon in the row of icons immediately below the main command menu. (iii) Set Chart Type as Line and pass swiftly through the Chart Wizard steps by selecting Next> Next> Next> Finish

If the chart is not to your liking, it is easy to make changes: (i) Position the mouse pointer on the edge of the chart, and press the left mouse button to highlight the chart. (ii) Press the right mouse button to give a menu of chart changes. (iii) Select Chart Type, then specify Column and click OK.

Its time to save your spreadsheet again. From the main menu, select File Save If youve had enough File Close

8. Concluding Comments
If you are comfortable with the material in this guide, you are in a good position from which to learn quickly lots more about Excel. Dont try to memorise exactly how to do things because, if you forget, you can always search around the Excel menus to recall how to do it. Dont be afraid to experiment because you can always use the undo if things go wrong. Note that if you point the mouse at a cell or chart and press the right mouse button, a menu of commonly used commands will conveniently appear.

Exercise
Reopen the AAA.xls spreadsheet that we saw at the beginning of this guide. Make changes to your spreadsheet to try to make it as similar to AAA.xls as you can.