In this article, we will provide an overview of some of the basic terminology used in Microsoft Excel, including explanations of basic concepts, and common terms used in editing, automation, pivot tables and charts.

### Section A – Basic Concepts in Excel

#### 1 – Workbook

A workbook is a file that includes one or more **Worksheets**. A new workbook can be created from another blank workbook or a template. Simply go to the **Blank Workbook **option from the **File **tab on the **Ribbon**, or just press **CTRL + N**.

#### 2 – Worksheet

A Worksheet, also called a spreadsheet, is a collection of cells in which you can enter and calculate data. Cells are arranged into **columns** and **rows** in a worksheet. Multiple worksheets can be arranged and stored in a **Workbook**.

#### 3 – Row

The group of all the cells that run horizontally in an Excel sheet is called a **Row**. The numbering on the left side of a worksheet denotes the row numbers. In the following picture, The highlighted area signifies row **7**.

#### 4 – Column

The grouping of cells that run vertically in an Excel sheet is called a **Column**. The alphabetic numbering that can be seen at the top of the sheet denotes the column numbers. In the image below, **B **denotes the column that is highlighted.

#### 5 – Cell

The boxes that are seen in a worksheet within the horizontal and vertical gridlines are called **Cells**. The cell name is a combination of the row and column numbers where it is located. In the image below, the highlighted cell is denoted with the name **C9**, meaning it is located at the intersection of column **9** and row **C**.

#### 6 – Ribbon

The **Ribbon **is the area where tabs and icons are arranged in rows in the upper portion of the worksheet. It is like a complex toolbar. Click commands on the ribbon to perform the specified operations those commands represent. The highlighted area shows the location of the **ribbon** in Excel.

#### 7 – Quick Access Toolbar

In Excel, the command bar that appears above or below the primary ribbon tabs is called the **Quick Access Toolbar**. It provides constant visibility and easy access to a set of preferred commands.

#### 8 – Function

**Functions **are built-in formulas to perform various calculations in Excel. In order to perform a function properly, you need to input the required arguments for the function in the specified order.

For example, the formula ** =AVERAGE(D3:D12) **returns the average value of the cells from

**D3**to

**D12**. After inputting the equal sign and writing

**AVERAGE**as a function, the cells whose values should be averaged need to be defined. If arguments are not entered in the correct order, the intended result will not be returned.

#### 9 – Formula

A **Formula **in Excel is simply an equation. We use formulas to perform calculations, manipulate cell data, check if data meets conditions, and so on.

For example, here we use the ** =SUM(D3:D12)**formula to calculate the sum of cells

**D3:D12**.

#### 10 – Formula Bar

The **Formula Bar **is an input box situated on top of the worksheet, as shown in the image below. It shows the formula in the current cell and allows editing of this formula.

#### 11 – Array

An **Array** is a set of elements, in Excel usually cells. The elements may take the form of text or numbers and may be placed in a single row, a single column, or numerous rows and columns.

#### 12 – Name Box

The small box next to the formula bar is called the **Name Box**. It displays the name of the selected cell if a name has been defined for it. You can also define a name for the selected cell in the **Name Box**.

### Section B – Excel Editing Terms

Excel offers many features with respect to editing. We’ll cover some of the most important and commonly used terminology here.

#### 1 – Font

The term** Font **basically describes a collection of text or typographic characters that can be printed or displayed in a certain size and style. Excel uses **Calibri **font style in size **11 **as default, but there are many other options. From the **Home **tab, you can select a preferred font style and font size as desired.

#### 2 – Cell Formatting

**Cell Formatting **means changing the style and look of cells without changing the actual cell values. We can modify the number, alignment, font style, border style, fill options, and protection with the aid of cell formatting. Right-clicking the mouse on cells that have been selected will open a Context Menu offering various cell formatting options.

#### 3 – Conditional Formatting

**Conditional Formatting **is an Excel feature used to highlight certain values or make specific cells clearly observable based on specified conditions. If cells meet the conditions, their appearance will be modified as specified.

#### 4 – Freeze Panes

You can freeze certain columns and/or rows in a worksheet by using the **Excel Freeze Panes** option. The frozen cells won’t move when you scroll down or across a worksheet.

In the following image, we’ve used the **Freeze Panes **option to freeze the top 4 rows and column **A**. If we scroll down or to the right, these cells will remain in place while the rest of the data scrolls.

#### 5 – Merged Cells

In Excel,** Merged cells **are cells that have been joined together into a single cell. This is useful for creating a single cell that spans multiple columns or rows. To merge cells in Excel, select the cells that you want to merge, then click on the **Merge & Center** option on the ribbon under the **Home** tab.

In the example below, we used the **Merge & Centre **command to merge cells **B2**, **C2 **and **D2**.

#### 6 – Alignment

In Excel, **Alignment** refers to how cell contents are positioned within a cell. Cell contents can be aligned in horizontal and/or vertical manner. Horizontal alignment can place values to the left, center or right positions in a cell. Vertical alignment can be in the top, middle, or bottom positions.

### Section C – B**asic Excel ****Automation Terms**

There are some very efficient features to reduce workloads via automating repetitive tasks.

#### 1 – AutoFill

**AutoFill** is a feature in Excel that allows you to quickly fill in a series of cells with a pattern or data. After selecting a cell, hovering the mouse over the right bottom corner of the cell reveals a ‘**+**‘ shaped icon called the **Fill Handle**. Dragging the Fill Handle (either up, down, left or right) over other cells will copy the formula or data in the selected cell into the cells dragged over by the Fill Handle.

In the example below, we input the values **1 **and **2 **in the first two cells of the *Serial Number* column, then dragged the Fill Handle down to fill the cells below with the same series of numbers.

#### 2 – AutoSum

**AutoSum** is a feature in Excel that allows you to quickly sum up a range of cells. To use AutoSum, select the cell below the range of cells you want to sum, then click the AutoSum button on the **Home** tab. Excel will automatically sum the range of cells and insert the result in the selected cell.

#### 3 – Flash Fill

**Flash Fill **is a feature in Microsoft Excel that allows you to quickly fill in a column of data based on another column of data. For example, here we used the **Flash Fill **feature to fill numbers in the *Serial No* column serially.

### Section D – Pivot Table Terms

#### 1 – Column Labels

**Column Labels** in an Excel pivot table control the way that data is displayed in the columns of the pivot table. By default, each column label will show the value of the data in that column. However, you can change the way that the data is displayed by changing the column label settings.

#### 2 – Group

A **Group** is a collection of items in a pivot table that have the same value for a given field.

#### 3 – Item

**Item **is a label that describes the data in a cell. Items can be numeric values, text, or dates.

#### 4 – Refresh

**Refresh** in an Excel pivot chart refers to the process of updating the chart with new data from the underlying pivot table. This feature is useful when the pivot table has been updated with new data, or if the structure of the pivot table has been changed.

#### 5 – Row Labels

**Row Labels **are the labels that appear on the X-axis of an Excel pivot chart. These labels can be used to identify the data points in the chart.

** **

#### 6 – Source Data

**Source data** is the data that is used to create a pivot table. Source data can be located in a worksheet or an external database.

#### 7 – Subtotals

The **Subtotals** feature allows you to quickly and easily view summary data for your pivot table. To add subtotals to your pivot table, simply click on the pivot table and then click on the **Subtotals** button in the **PivotTable Tools** tab. You will then be able to choose for which columns you want to add subtotals, and whether to show or hide the subtotals.

#### 8 – Table Filter

**Table Filters** are used to filter the data in a Pivot table. This can be done by selecting the data that you want to filter and then clicking on the **Filter** button in the **Table Tools** tab.

#### 9 – Values Area

The** Values Area **refers to the cells in a pivot table that contain the summary data. Excel offers many ways to summarize the data (sum, average, count, and so on). In order to create a **Values Area**, right-click on any value in the pivot table and then use the **Summarize Values By** option.

**Read More:** Excel Basics for Beginner Excel Users

### Section E – B**asic ****Excel **Diagram T**erms**

#### 1 – Column Chart

A **Column Chart** is a graphical representation of data that uses vertical bars to indicate different values. To create a column chart in Excel, a data set that contains multiple columns is required. Each column represents a different category, and the height of the bar indicates the value for that category.

#### 2 – Bar Chart

A **Bar Chart** in Excel is a graphical representation of data that uses rectangular bars to compare values across categories. Bar charts are a useful way to compare data that is grouped into categories, such as data about different types of products, regions, or customers.

#### 3 – Stacked Chart

A **Stacked Chart **is a graph that shows the relative proportions of multiple series of data. Each series is represented by a colored bar, and the total height of the bar represents the combined total of all the data for all the series at that point.

**Read More:** Advanced Excel Topics

#### 4 – Pie Chart

A **Pie Chart** is a graph that shows how much each category contributes to a total. It looks like a circle that has been sliced into sectors. The size of each sector represents the proportion of the total that each category represents.

**Read More:** 22 Limitations of Excel That Might Frustrate You

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