1. Overview of Microsoft Excel
Making Decisions with Excel
- Locate Excel on your computer.
- Click Microsoft Excel to launch the Excel application where you are presented with workbook options to help get you started.
- Click the first option; “Blank Workbook”.
Excel for Windows vs Excel for Mac
The Excel Workbook
- Place your mouse pointer over cell D5 and click.
- Check to make sure column letter D and row number 5 are highlighted, as shown in Figure 1.4.
- Move the mouse pointer to cell A1.
- Click and hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse pointer back to cell D5.
- Release the left mouse button. You should see several cells highlighted, as shown in Figure 1.5.
- At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a sheet tab indicated by “Sheet1″. Clicking on the + adds additional worksheets. This is how you open or add a worksheets within a workbook. To see how this works, click on the + to add another worksheet so that you now have two sheets
- Click the Sheet1 worksheet tab at the bottom of the worksheet to return to the worksheet shown in Figure 1.5.
The Excel Ribbon
Excel’s features and commands are found in the Ribbon, which is the upper area of the Excel screen that contains several tabs running across the top. Each tab provides access to a different set of Excel commands. Figure 1.6 shows the commands available in the Home tab of the Ribbon. Table 1.1 “Command Overview for Each Tab of the Ribbon” provides an overview of the commands that are found in each tab of the Ribbon.
Figure 1.6 Home Tab of Ribbon
The Excel for Mac ribbon, as shown in Figure 1.6a below, has two primary differences:
- The older dropdown menu structure is still available with Excel for Mac.
- The specific commands and tools within each tab are slightly different between the two Excel Ribbons. Some of the commands found within the Excel for Windows Ribbon tabs are located within the dropdown menu structure in the Excel for Mac version. So, if you can’t find the tool on the Excel for Mac Ribbon, then try to find the tool by looking through the dropdown menu instead.
Group Title Names on the Ribbon
If you look closely at the Excel Ribbon (See Figure 1.6 above), you will see that the Ribbon is separated in groups of tool buttons, and each group has a title name. On Home tab, the group title names are “Clipboard”, “Font”, “Alignment”, “Number”, “Styles”. “Cells”, “Editing”, etc. The tool buttons within each group are all related to the group title.
Mac Users Only: The default “View” for the Excel for Mac ribbon does not display these “group title names”. Notice in Figure 1.6a above, there are no group title names. It is a good idea to change this “view” so you can see the group title names. Here are the steps:
- Click the “Excel” menu option at top left above the Ribbon
- Choose “Preferences”
- Click the “View” button
- Scroll down and check the box for “Group Titles”
- Close the “View” dialog box. The group title names should now display as shown in Figure 1.6 (not Figure 1.6a) above
|Tab Name||Description of Commands|
|File||Also known as the Backstage view of the Excel workbook. Contains all commands for opening, closing, saving, and creating new Excel workbooks. Includes print commands, document properties, e-mailing options, and help features. The default settings and options are also found in this tab.|
|Home||Contains the most frequently used Excel commands. Formatting commands are found in this tab along with commands for cutting, copying, pasting, and for inserting and deleting rows and columns.|
|Insert||Used to insert objects such as charts, pictures, shapes, PivotTables, Internet links, symbols, or text boxes.|
|Page Layout||Contains commands used to prepare a worksheet for printing. Also includes commands used to show and print the gridlines on a worksheet.|
|Formulas||Includes commands for adding mathematical functions to a worksheet. Also contains tools for auditing mathematical formulas.|
|Data||Used when working with external data sources such as Microsoft Access, text files, or the Internet. Also contains sorting commands and access to scenario tools.|
|Review||Includes Spelling and Track Changes features. Also contains protection features to password protect worksheets or workbooks.|
|View||Used to adjust the visual appearance of a workbook. Common commands include the Zoom and Page Layout view.|
|Help||This tab provides access to help and support features such as contacting Microsoft support, sending feedback, suggesting a new feature, and community discussion groups. This tab is not available with Excel for Mac.|
|Draw||Provides drawing options for using a digital pen, mouse or finger depending on the type of device (laptop with touch screen, tablet, computer, etc). This tab is not visible by default. See below on how to customize the Ribbon to add or remove tabs.|
|Developer||Provides access to some advanced features such as macros, form controls, and XML commands. This tab is not visible by default. See below on how to customize the Ribbon to add or remove tabs.|
The Ribbon shown in Figure 1.6 and Figure 1.6a (above) is full, or maximized. The benefit of having a full Ribbon is that the commands are always visible while you are developing a worksheet. However, depending on the screen dimensions of your computer, you may find that the Ribbon takes up too much vertical space on your worksheet. If this is the case, you can minimize the Ribbon by clicking the button shown in Figure 1.6. When minimized, the Ribbon will show only the tabs and not the command buttons. When you click on a tab, the command buttons will appear until you select a command or click anywhere on your worksheet.
To hide the Ribbon with Excel for Mac you can use the keyboard shortcut:
Hold down the “Command and Option” keys and tap the “R” key
The same keyboard shortcut will unhide the Ribbon as well.
How to Customize the Excel Ribbon
Here are the steps to add additional tabs to the Excel Ribbon
- Click the File tab and choose Options
- Click on “Customize Ribbon” at the left side of the Options screen
- Click the checkbox next to the Tab name that you want to add (See Figure 1.7 below)