Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working with Excel Fundamentals
Just putting a bunch of information on worksheets doesn’t crunch the data or
give you sums, results, or analyses. If you want to just store your data
somewhere, you can use Excel or get a database program instead. In this topic, I
show you how to build formulas and how to use the dozens of built-in
functions that Excel provides. That’s where the real power of Excel is — making
sense of your data.
Don’t fret that this is a challenge and that you may make mistakes. I did
when I was ramping up. Besides, Excel is very forgiving. It won’t crash on
you. Excel usually tells you when you made a mistake, and sometimes it even
helps you to correct it. How many programs do that? But first, the basics.
This first chapter gives you the springboard you need to use the rest of the
topic. I wish topics like this were around when I was introduced to
computers. I had to stumble through a lot of this.
Working with Excel Fundamentals
Before you can write any formulas or crunch any numbers, you have to know
where the data goes. And how to find it again. I wouldn’t want your data to
get lost! Knowing how worksheets store your data and present it is critical to
your analysis efforts.
Understanding workbooks and worksheets
A workbook is the same as a file. Excel opens and closes workbooks, just as
a word processor program opens and closes documents. Click the File Tab
to view the selections found under the File menu in earlier versions of Excel.
Figure 1-1 shows the new look for accessing basic functions such as
opening, saving, printing, and closing your Excel files (not to mention a number of
other nifty functions to boot!).
Excel 2013 (also Excel 2010 and Excel 2007) files have the .xlsx extension.
Older version Excel files have the .xls extension.
When Excel starts up, it displays a list of recent files, along with an icon to
open a blank workbook or a workbook based on a template. The blank
workbook is the baby you want, so double-click the icon, and you’re ready to go.
When you have more than one workbook open, you pick the one you want to
work on by selecting it in the Windows Taskbar.
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