Starting Ms Excel
This tutorial is designed to aid biology students with their first few Excel spreadsheet
applications. Excel and most other spreadsheet programs are very powerful
applications with far too many features to learn all in one sitting. If you are interested
in learning more advanced techniques stay on this website.
This tutorial was written for Microsoft Excel 2007 .
I use the following conventions when referring to commands Home > Font > means
to look in the Font portion of the Home Ribbon. Ctrl-C means press the control and
c key at the same time. Similarly, Alt-Ctrl-C means press all three keys at once.
Remember that there are usually several ways to accomplish any one command,
personally I use the right click on my mouse and speed keys for most tasks.
However, for this tutorial I will primarily use ribbon commands as these are usually
more intuitive for new users.
Introduction to the workbook and spreadsheet:
Ms Excel :
A spreadsheet looks a lot like a table you might see in a word processing package,but it has some very important features that most tables do not. Firstly, spreadsheets are designed to make repetitive and/or complicated calculations very easy to carry out. Secondly, most spreadsheet programs have advanced graphing capabilities that make producing graphs from the data in the spreadsheet relatively simple.
In Excel each document is referred to as a workbook. Within each workbook you
can have multiple spreadsheets; Excel refers to these as sheets.
The default in Excel is three sheets, but you can add as many sheets as necessary. At any given
time, only one sheet is active in your work book. It is important to note that most
page formatting options apply only to the sheet you are working with (for example,
margins, headers and footers). Additionally, when you print, by default Excel will
print only the sheet that is active.
The Excel window:
For those of us who have been using Excel for a number of years, Excel 2007
features some radical changes to Excel commands organization. The drop down
menus so many of us are familiar with have been replaced by the Ribbon.
When Excel is first launched you will usually see the window pictured in Figure 1.This window shows the Home Ribbon. Excel commands are organized into groups and the groups are organized into ribbons. For example, on the Home Ribbon
(Figure 1) there are seven groups; Clipboard, Font, Alignment, Number, Styles,Cells, Editing. Ribbons are accessed by clicking one of seven tabs; Home, Insert,Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, or View. We will not cover all the tabs in this tutorial but instead will focus on finding the commands you will need to do basic data analysis and graphing. I will direct you to the location of a command using the
shorthand Home > Font to indicate “look on the Home Ribbon in the Font group”.