Microsoft Excel Tips – The classes that I teach most often are Microsoft Excel versions 2003 and 2007. I put together these tips for the Excel beginner. These tips will work for Excel ’97 or later.
Excel uses a lot of shortcut keys. If you want a list of the most popular shortcut keys, click on the link in the resource box. Many of the keys start with holding down the Ctrl key and pressing a letter. For example, Ctrl + B will bold letter. Ctrl + I will italicize. Ctrl + U will underline. Ctrl + P will bring up the print window. Ctrl + S will save the workbook. Ctrl + Home will take you to the top of the worksheet you have open (Cell A1).
On any cell that has either words or numbers, you can right-click on the cell and you will have many options including: Cut, copy, paste, insert, delete, and format cells. All of these menu options are also located on the toolbars.
In Excel 97-2003, the two most used toolbars are Standard and Formatting. To select these toolbars go to the View menu and select Toolbars. Make sure Standard and Formatting have check marks to the left of the menu option.
To select an entire row, click on the row number. To select an entire column click on the column letter.
If you have ##### symbols in a cell, then the cell is too small for the number or date. You can double click on the line in the column heading. For example, say column B has the # signs. Double click on the vertical line between the letters B and C and the column will automatically adjust.
If you have text that overlaps a cell. The text is displayed in the following column as well. You can also double click on the vertical line in the column letters and the column will automatically resize to fit the text.
Each toolbar in Excel 97-2003 has 4 vertical dots. These dots are used to move the toolbar anywhere you like on the screen. Move your mouse over these 4 vertical dots and your mouse cursor will change into a four headed arrow. Click with the left mouse button and while holding down the left mouse button move your mouse. You can move it above the other toolbars, next to one, below it, or anywhere else on the screen.
To select cells in Excel move your mouse to the first cell that you want to select. Your mouse cursor should be a big white plus sign. Click the left mouse button and drag up, down, left or right. The first cell that you selected will be white, but it will have a border on the cell, and the other ones should be shaded with the color blue. Now you can format the numbers or text.
All formulas start with the equal sign. Say you wanted to add up a column of numbers. The long way is to place your cursor in the first empty cell beneath the numbers and type is the equal sign followed by the first cell that you want to add. You can then type in the + sign and type in the 2nd number, etc. When you enter the last cell press the Enter key and the total will be displayed.
The second fastest way is to click on the first empty cell and type the equals sign followed by the word SUM followed by a left parentheses. Next type in the first cell address that you want to add, followed by a colon (:). Type in the last cell address, followed by the right parentheses and press the Enter key. The total should be displayed.
The fastest way is to select the row of numbers and the blank cell and then click on the Autosum button on the toolbar. The autosum button is a Greek E Symbol (∑). Press the Enter key and the total will be displayed.
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By John Gontowicz
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