Microsoft Excel
Spreadsheet software


To complete this lesson properly you need to run Microsoft Excel alongside your web browser.  Load Microsoft Excel now and then click back to view these instructions.

Publisher basics - "Rows, columns and cells"

1. When you load Excel the screen should look similar to the one below - your version may look slightly different, but this does not matter!

2. Whichever version of Excel you are using, you need to use the menu buttons to do your work.  Look at the image below to learn what the main buttons do:

Don't worry if yours look slightly different - it just depends on which version of Excel you are using.  There are lots of buttons here - and not all of them are mentioned.  However, you'll soon learn how to use them all!

3. Excel is a spreadsheet - which means it can be used to make complex calculations using 'worksheets'.  Each Excel worksheet has a number of features - the sheet is divided into columns (along the top) and rows (down the side).  Each section is called a 'cell'.

4. Columns have letters and rows have numbers.  You can use these to identify the name of each cell.  This is known as the 'cell reference'.  For example the top left cell is know as A1 - simply because those are the coordinates where it can be found - in column A, row 1.

5. In your version of Excel, click in cell A2.  Type your name.  Then click in cell A3 and type one of your friends' name.

6. We are now going to do a simple calculation.  To do this you need to use some of the buttons you have explored above.  Click in cell B2 and type the number 10.  Click in cell B3 and type the number 15.  See if you can turn these numbers into currency by clicking on a certain button.

7. The brilliant thing about Excel - and the concept that allows you to build really complex spreadsheets - is simple.  You can use it to do calculations.  We do this using formulas.

8. Click in cell B4.  Press the '=' key.  This is used tell Excel you want to enter a formula.  Type in B2 + B3 and press RETURN. You should see a screen that looks something like the one below: 

Excel calcuation

(If you don't see something like this, work through the steps again!)

8. You have performed a calculation.  This was simple!  Experiment a little by doing the following:

  • Try changing the amount by your name to another number.  What happens to cell B4?

  • Think what label you could give the cell - type it into A4.

I'm ready for the tasks

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