Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Session 1.1
Session 1.1
Introducing Excel
Before you begin working with the recent orders at the co-op, you need to understand
some of the key terms and concepts associated with a program such as Excel.
Understanding Spreadsheets
Excel is a computerized spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is an important tool used for analyz-
ing and reporting information. Spreadsheets are often used in business for budgeting,
inventory management, and decision making. For example, an accountant might use a
paper-based spreadsheet like the one shown in Figure 1-1 to record a company’s esti-
mated and actual monthly cash flow.
For hands-on practice of
key tasks in this session,
go to the SAM 2003
Training Companion CD
included with this text.
Figure 1-1
A sample spreadsheet
Spreadsheets
In this spreadsheet, the accountant has recorded the estimated and actual cash flow
for the month of January. Each line, or row, in this spreadsheet displays a different cash
flow value. Each column contains the predicted or actual values, or text that describes
those values. The accountant has also entered the total cash expenditures, net cash
flow, and closing cash balance for the month, perhaps having used a calculator to do
the calculations.
Figure 1-2 shows the same spreadsheet in Excel. The spreadsheet is now laid out in a
grid in which the rows and columns are easily apparent. As you will see later, calcula-
tions are also part of this electronic spreadsheet, so that total cash expenditures, net
cash flow, and cash balances are calculated automatically rather than entered manu-
ally. When you change an entry in the electronic spreadsheet, the spreadsheet automat-
ically updates any calculated values based on the entry. You can also use an electronic
spreadsheet to perform a what-if analysis in which you change one or more of the val-
ues in the worksheet and then examine the recalculated values to determine the effect
of the change. (You will have a chance to explore this feature at the end of the tutorial.)
So, an electronic spreadsheet provides more flexibility in entering and analyzing your
data than the paper version.
 
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