What is Microsoft Excel? How to Use Excel, Tips & Tricks

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    Excel is among the most popular software programs Microsoft provides. It is a part of the Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) suite, and Excel is spreadsheet software with an enticing range of capabilities and features. It’s not just Excel, an application for storing and organizing data into sheets and cells, but it’s also a “what if” machine that can perform various calculations using this data.

    This article is ideal for you if you’re brand new to Microsoft Excel. This article will help you use Excel, from basic calculations to creating pivot tables, specifying specific print areas, and changing your view.

    What is Microsoft Excel?

    Excel is an Excel spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft and part of the Office product line for commercial applications. Microsoft Excel enables users to arrange, format, and compute data in spreadsheets.

    When organizing data with software such as Excel, Data analysts, data analysts, and others can make information simpler to analyze when data is added or altered. For example, excel includes several cells or boxes arranged by columns and rows. The data is stored within these cells.

    Excel is part of the Microsoft Office and Office 365 suites and can be used with other Office suite applications. In addition, the spreadsheet software is accessible to Windows, MAC OS, Android, and iOS platforms.

    Why do we use Excel?

    Simply stated, Excel is the easiest way to manage and organize financial data, which is why most businesses use Excel frequently. It is a flexible tool that allows total flexibility in how it is employed.

    Another reason to utilize Excel is that it’s easily accessible. With little or no knowledge, an individual can open an Excel workbook and begin entering data to begin calculating and analyzing data.

    The top 5 reasons we make use of Excel:

    • To organize financial data
    • To manage contact details
    • To keep track of information about employees
    • To manage personal data
    • To become a calculator

    Documents You Can Create in Excel

    Unsure of how you can utilize Excel within your organization? Here’s a list of Excel documents that you can design:

    Revenue Statements It is possible to use the Excel spreadsheet to monitor the company’s sales activities and financial health.

    Balance sheets The balance sheet is one of the popular documents created using Excel. They provide you with an overall view of the financial position of a business.

    Calendar You can quickly create a monthly calendar on a spreadsheet to keep track of events or any other information that is sensitive to dates.

    Here are some templates you could create, especially for marketers.

    Marketing Budgets: Excel is a powerful tool for keeping track of budgets. You can make and keep track of marketing budgets and also track spending on them using Excel.

    Market Reports If you don’t have any marketing tools, such as Marketing Hub, and you’re unsure, you could require a dashboard containing all your reports. Again, Excel is an effective tool for creating marketing reports.

    Editorial Calendars You can make editorial calendars with Excel. Tabs make it easy to keep track of the content you create to create custom periods.

    Leads and Traffic Calculator Based on its computational power, Excel is an excellent tool for designing all sorts of calculators, which include one to track lead and traffic.

    This is just a small sample of business and marketing documents you can make using Excel. In addition, we’ve put together an extensive collection of Excel templates that you can download today for marketing projects, invoicing projects, budgeting, project management, and much more.

    How to Use Excel

    Let’s first get you familiar with the fundamentals of Excel: Cells, Columns, Rows, Worksheets/Tabs, Formulas, and Charts/Graphs.


    excel spreadsheets

    The term “cell” refers to a Cell in Excel as a distinct box inside a worksheet or tab and is typically used to enter and store either text or numerical data. Every cell is given a name derived directly from the Column and Row on which the cell is situated. If you’ve ever played Battleship, used grid references on a map, or allocated seat tickets for a train/airplane/venue, you’ll easily understand Cell names.

    An example column runs from left to right across at the very top of the worksheet/tab. They are labeled according to the alphabet. Rows are arranged along the left-hand side of the Worksheet/Tab and are labeled numerically. If, For example, it’s looking at an A1 Cell, which is in Row 1 of Column A or row 1 is the name of the cell.


    excel microsoft

    Columns are arranged from left to right on at the very top of the worksheet/tab. They are labeled according to the alphabet. Every column can be described as a vertical set of cells.



    Rows are labeled along the left-hand side of the worksheet/tab numerically. They are arranged from top to bottom. Each row is a horizontal line of cells.


    Worksheets/Tabs comprise Columns, cells, rows, and columns and are basically pages in Your Excel workbook. You can have several worksheets/tabs in your Excel workbook. They are helpful in separating different kinds of information and data.

    Contrary to Columns, Rows, and Cells, it is possible to rename Worksheets and Tabs. By default, Worksheets/Tabs will be identified as ‘Sheet1’ or ‘Sheet2 and so on; however you can change their names and even color mark them with a color if you want by clicking on the Worksheet/Tab with the right mouse button and choosing the option to ‘Rename’ or “Tab Color.’


    Excel Formulas can be used to determine an amount for one cell or multiple cells, and Functions to compute values and retrieve information.

    Simple Formulas are able to calculate by adding to, dividing, multiplying, and subtracting values from different cells. To add, use the + symbol; to divide, you will use the symbol/symbol; for multiplying, you need to use the symbol *; to multiply, you use the symbol; and to subtract, you can use the symbol -. For instance, If you want to combine the value of three cells to figure out the sum, then you can do it this way:


    This is where you choose the first cell and enter the + symbol, then choose the second cell, and enter the + symbol once more, then select the third cell to construct the formula that adds the three Cells and calculates their sum. This isn’t an issue when you’re working with just a few Cells; however, when you’re working with several of them, it’s easier to utilize to use the SUM Function to highlight all the cells to get the same result of taking them all and putting them together such as:


    Utilizing this SUM function to generate a Formula is a great time saver when working with lots of data. The above example illustrates how you can highlight several cells in a row; This is also useful if you want to highlight several cells in the same column.

    If you have to combine information from different sources or different areas within your Excel spreadsheet, you could make use of Functions such as the VLOOKUP, a SUMIF, or a COUNTIF to find specific data and/or provide a complete picture of the information you have.

    Basic Terms in Excel

    There are two methods to calculate calculations in Excel: Formulas and Functions.

    1. Formulas

    In Excel formulas, an expression works using the values within a range of cells or a cell. For instance, =C1+C2+A3, which finds the value of the sum of values from cell A1 up to A3 cell.

    2. Functions

    Functions are predefined formulas within Excel. They help eliminate the manual entry of formulas while giving them names that are easy for humans to understand. Examples: =SUM(B1:B3). The function adds up all values from B1 to B3.

    To work more efficiently and eliminate tedious manual tasks, here are a few Excel calculations and formulas that you’ll have to master.

    Excel Formulas

    It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the plethora of Excel formulas you can employ to gain insight from your data. However, if you’re new to using Excel, then you can count on these formulas to perform various complex tasks without adding any additional difficulty to learning.

    Equal sign: Before creating any formula, it is necessary to add the equal symbol (=) in the cell in which you’d like the formula to appear.

    Addition: To add a value of two cells or more, you can use the + symbol. Example: =A5+B3.

    In subtraction, to subtract the value from two cells or more, you need to use the symbol – Sign. Example: =A5-C3.

    Multiplication In order to multiply the value from two cells or greater, you need to use the * symbol. Example: =A5*C3.

    Division To divide the value from two cells or more, you can use the sign /sign. Example: =A5/C3.

    Basic excel formulas

    1. AVERAGE

    Its AVERAGE feature is a good reminder of the simple averages of data, like how many shareholders are within an individual shareholding pool. Example:


    2. COUNT

    It is the COUNT program. It is used to count all cells in the specified range that comprise only numeric numbers.

    Example: COUNT(A: A)

    3. MAX & MIN

    Its MAX and MIN functions assist in determining the largest number and minimum number within a range of numbers.




    4. IF

    It is the formula IF commonly employed when you need your information to be classified according to an established logic. The greatest benefit to this IF formula is that it allows you to incorporate formulas and functions into it.

    =IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

    Example: =IF(C2

    5. TRIM

    Its functions TRIM ensures that your functions don’t return errors due to space in the data. It ensures that space-free spaces are eliminated.


    Example: TRIM(A2) Removes empty spaces from cell A2.

    What are the most important shortcuts?

    If you work with Excel often, it is essential to be able to complete your work at a speed that is as fast as you can. Utilizing Excel shortcuts is the most effective way to boost your abilities. By not using a mouse, you will be able to have some time needed to navigate through every step of a process. Keyboard shortcuts are a lot faster and permit the user to move around the spreadsheet more effectively.

    The most important Excel shortcuts are:

    • F2 Edit active cell
    • F4 Toggle references
    • CTRL + 1 to Format Cells
    • CTRL + C to Copy
    • CTRL + V to Paste
    • CTRL + R to Fill in right
    • CTRL + D to Fill down
    • ALT + = to Auto Sum
    • ALT, I, R to Insert row
    • ALT, I, C to Insert column

    How to remove duplicates in excel

    Excel comes with an inbuilt tool that can help remove duplicate entries from your data. Let’s review the steps to follow to eliminate duplicates from Excel.

    Step 1. Click on any cell or specific range within the data set from which you wish to eliminate duplicates. If you select a single cell, Excel automatically determines the range for you to use in subsequent steps.

    Source: simplilearn

    Step 2: Then find the “Remove Duplicates Option and choose the option.

    DATA tab, Data Tools Section – Remove Duplicates

    Source: simplilearn

    Step 3. A dialog box opens as follows. You can choose the columns you would like to compare and also check whether there are duplicates.

    If your data is comprised of headers in columns, click the ‘My data contains headers’ option; after that, click OK.

    Source: simplilearn

    If you select the header option, the first row is not considered for removing duplicate values.

    Step 4. Excel will now remove the duplicate rows and then display a dialog box. The dialog box displays the number of duplicate values that have been identified and eliminated together with the number of unique values.

    Source: simplilearn

    Step 5. As you observe, duplicate records are taken out.

    Source: simplilearn

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