Understanding Excel spreadsheets

You will do all your works in a workbook file. You can add as many worksheets as you need in a workbook file. Each worksheet appears in its own window. By default, Excel workbooks use a .xlsx file extension.

Note: In previous versions of Excel, you could work with multiple workbook files in a single window. But you can’t do it anymore in Excel 2013. Every workbook you open has its own window. You can now work with two workbooks at a time. If you use two monitors, your life will be easier with this option.

Create a new workbook file in your working device. Give it a name whatever you like. Mine is named welcome.xlsx. You can create a new workbook in two ways.

Creating an Excel workbook from existing excel file

Say you have an existing workbook file and it is open now. Then just go to ‘File’ and click ‘New’ and then click ‘Blank workbook’. The command is File ⇒ New ⇒ Blank workbook. Observe the image below.

Open an Excel workbook file

Open an Excel workbook file

Read More: Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving around Excel Spreadsheets

Creating Excel workbook newly

You can create a new Workbook File by just clicking right button of your mouse in a folder. Right click will generate a shortcut menu. You will select then New, this will pop-up some options. From the options, you will click Microsoft Excel Worksheet. See the image below.

Creating Excel workbook file newly

Creating Excel workbook file newly

What spreadsheets contain

Every workbook contains one or more worksheets, typically called spreadsheets. You can add as many worksheets as you need to a workbook. Worksheets are made up of cells. Cells can contain numeric values, formulas or texts.

A worksheet also has an invisible draw layer. This layer holds charts, images, and diagrams.

Invisible layer in Excel

Invisible layer in Excel

Accessing Excel worksheets

You can access each worksheet by clicking the tabs at the bottom of the workbook window.

Excel worksheet tab

Excel worksheet tab

Excel window elements

It is very important to be familiar with Excel’s window. If you are a new learner of Excel, it may take some time, but after some days you will feel, you are at home. Every Microsoft Product is user-friendly. A layman can use them. Excel is same.

Excel workbook components

Excel workbook components part 1

Excel workbook components

Excel workbook components part 2

Read More: How to Print Excel Spreadsheet with Grid Lines and Change its Color

Active Cell Indicator of Excel Spreadsheets

The dark outline indicates that this cell is active now. If you input something through the keyboard, the input will be entered in the active cell.

Excel active cell

Excel active cell

Collapse the Ribbon(CTRL+F1) Option of Excel Spreadsheets

If you click this button, Ribbon will temporarily hide.

Collapse the Ribbon Button

Collapse the Ribbon Button

Showing the Ribbon Option of Excel Spreadsheets

To show the Ribbon again, you have to click Ribbon Display Options and select Show Tabs and Commands. See the images below.

Ribbon Display Options Button

Ribbon Display Options Button

Read More: How to Format an Excel Spreadsheet for Printing 

Column Letters of Excel Spreadsheets

Letters range from A to XFD. So there are total 16,384 columns in a worksheet. See the following image to see XFD column in the worksheet. If you want to find the XFD column, you have to click and hold your Mouse Wheel and move the mouse right until you reach XFD column.

Keyboard shortcut to find the last column is: End ⇒Right Arrow(→)

Column XFD in a Worksheet

Column XFD in a Worksheet

File Button of Excel Spreadsheets

If you click File Button, you will see the backstage screen of Excel 2013. The backstage screen has many options. The options are Info, New, Open, Save, Save As, Print, Share, Export, Close, Account, and Options.

Excel 2013 Backstage Screen

Excel 2013 Backstage Screen

Formula Bar of Excel Spreadsheets

When you enter something(numeric value/ formula/ text) in an Active Cell, the data is showed in the Formula Bar. See the image below.

Excel 2013 Formula Bar

Excel 2013 Formula Bar

Help Button of Excel Spreadsheets

Click Help button to display the Excel Help system window.

Excel 2013 Help Window

Excel 2013 Help Window

Horizontal Scrollbar of Excel Spreadsheets

With the Horizontal Scrollbar, you can scroll the worksheet horizontally. There are other options with this scrollbar. Right-click on the Horizontal bar, you will see the following options. See the image below.

Excel 2013 Horizontal Scrollbar Options

Excel 2013 Horizontal Scrollbar Options

  1. Left Edge: If you choose this option, the scrollbar will be on the left side of the scroll field.
  2. Right Edge: If you choose this option, the scrollbar will be on the right side of the scroll field.
  3. Page Left: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one full window left.
  4. Page Right: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one full window right.
  5. Scroll Left: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one column left.
  6. Scroll Right: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one column right.
Note: Whether you use vertical scrollbar or horizontal scrollbar, your worksheet will move, but there will be no change in Active Cell selection.

Read More: Understanding contextual tabs in Excel Ribbon

Name Box of Excel Spreadsheets

Name box shows the address of the Active Cell. Letter part of the address comes from Column Letter and Number part comes from Row Number. B3 means the active cell is now in B column and 3rd Row.

Excel 2013 Name Box

Excel 2013 Name Box

New Sheet Button of Excel Spreadsheets

When you want to create a new Excel worksheet, click this button. A new sheet is placed after the last sheet tab. See the image below.

Excel 2013 New Sheet Button

Excel 2013 New Sheet Button

Page View Buttons of Excel Spreadsheets

You can change the display views of the worksheets clicking these three options. Three options are Normal, Page Layout, and Page Break Preview.

Excel 2013 Page View Buttons

Excel 2013 Page View Buttons

Quick Access Toolbar of Excel Spreadsheets

This customizable toolbar holds commonly used commands. You can add more commands to this toolbar from File→Options→Quick Access Toolbar. Whatever tab(Home/Insert/Page Layout/Formulas/others) you are using, this toolbar is always visible.

Excel 2013 Quick Access Toolbar

Excel 2013 Quick Access Toolbar

Ribbon of Excel Spreadsheets

The ribbon contains the maximum number commands. When you select Home from Tab list, Ribbon for Home is showed. When you select Insert Tab from tab lists, Ribbon for Insert is showed. You select commands from Ribbon to work with. The following image shows the Ribbon for Review Tab.

Excel 2013 Ribbon for Review Tab

Excel 2013 Ribbon for Review Tab

Ribbon Display Options of Excel Spreadsheets

It’s a drop-down control. If you click on this control, you will get three options. The options are Auto-hide Ribbon, Show Tabs, Show Tabs, and Commands.

Excel 2013 Ribbon Display Options

Excel 2013 Ribbon Display Options

Row Numbers of Excel Spreadsheets

Numbers range from 1 to 10,48,576. If you click a row number, then you will select all the cells in that row.

If you want to find the 10,48,576th row, you have to click and hold your Mouse Wheel and move the mouse down until you reach the 10,48,576th row. It will take huge time, so don’t try it. Use keyboard shortcut.

Keyboard shortcut to find the last row is: End →Down Arrow(↓)

Excel 2013 Row Numbers

Excel 2013 Row Numbers

 

Excel 2013 Last row number 10,48,576

Excel 2013 Last row number 10,48,576

 

Excel 2013 Last Cell XFD1048576

Excel 2013 Last Cell XFD1048576

Sheet Tabs of Excel Spreadsheets

By default sheet tabs are named as ‘sheet1’, ‘sheet2’, and so on. A workbook can have any number of sheets and each sheet has its name displayed in the sheet tab. If you right-click on a sheet tab, you will have so many options to apply on a sheet tab. See the image below.

Excel 2013 Sheet Tab Options

Excel 2013 Sheet Tab Options

Sheet Tab Scroll Buttons of Excel Spreadsheets

You will use these buttons to scroll the sheet tabs to display tabs that aren’t visible. You can also right-click to get a list of sheets. See the image below.

Excel 2013 Sheet Tab Scroll Buttons

Excel 2013 Sheet Tab Scroll Buttons

Status Bar of Excel Spreadsheets

The status bar displays various status including the status of the Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock keys on your keyboard.

If you select a range of cells in your worksheet, it will show the summary information about the cells you have selected.

Excel 2013 Sheet Status Bar. Showing information of the selected cells.

Excel 2013 Sheet Status Bar. Showing information of the selected cells.

Just right-click on the status bar and select which information you want to see in the status bar.

Excel 2013 Status Bar Options. Select from these options which information will show in the status bar.

Excel 2013 Status Bar Options. Select from these options which information will show in the status bar.

Tab List of Excel Spreadsheets

By default, we see HOME, INSERT, PAGE LAYOUT, FORMULAS, DATA, REVIEW, VIEW- these 7 tab names in the tab list. You can add more tabs, we shall discuss it later.

Click on these Tab Names and you will see, every tab has its own Ribbon. The tab is similar to Menu.

Excel 2013 Tab List. Here we see the Tab 'Review' is selected and Ribbon is showing the commands of 'Review' tab.

Excel 2013 Tab List. Here we see the Tab ‘Review’ is selected and Ribbon is showing the commands of ‘Review’ tab.

Title Bar of Excel Spreadsheets

Title Bar shows the name of the program( the program is excel) and the name of your workbook. It also holds the Quick Access toolbar (on the left) and some control buttons that you will use to modify the window (on the right).

Quick Access Toolbar can be shown below the Ribbon. Know more about Quick Access Toolbar.

Excel 2013 Title Bar. Title Bar has four parts-Quick Access Toolbar, Title Name, Program Name, Control Button

Excel 2013 Title Bar. Title Bar has four parts-Quick Access Toolbar, Title Name, Program Name, Control Button

Vertical scrollbar of Excel Spreadsheets

You will use this scrollbar to scroll your worksheet vertically. If you drag the scrollbar, you will see the row number and this row number is the first row of your worksheet.

Excel 2013 Vertical Scrollbar. If you drag on this bar, you will see a number that is the first row of your worksheet.

Excel 2013 Vertical Scrollbar. If you drag on this bar, you will see a number that is the first row of your worksheet.

Right click on the vertical scrollbar. You will get some option commands. See the image below.

Excel 2013 Vertical Scrollbar Options. If you right-click on this bar, you will see some commands to work with.

Excel 2013 Vertical Scrollbar Options. If you right-click on this bar, you will see some commands to work with.

Top: If you choose this option, the scrollbar will be at the top of the scroll field.

Bottom: If you choose this option, the scrollbar will be at the bottom of the scroll field.

Page Up: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one full window up.

Page Down: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one full window bottom.

Scroll Up: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one column up.

Scroll Down: If you choose this option, the worksheet will travel one column down.

Note: Whether you use vertical scrollbar or horizontal scrollbar, your worksheet will move, but there will be no change in Active Cell selection.

Read More: Monitor Cells with Excel Watch Window!

Window Close button of Excel Spreadsheets

Click this button to close the active workbook window.

Window Maximize/Restore button of Excel Spreadsheets

Click this button to increase the workbook window’s size to fill your entire computer screen. If the window is already maximized, clicking this button “unmaximizes” Excel’s window so that it no longer fills the entire screen.

Window Minimize button of Excel Spreadsheets

Click this button to minimize the workbook window. The window displays as an icon in your Windows taskbar.

Zoom control

Use this to zoom your worksheet in and out.


Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share here. Not only how to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned!

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