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Part I: Worksheet Basics
Chapter 1. Creating and Navigating Worksheets
Excel has a long and
Although Microsoft is reluctant to admit it, most of Excel's
The best way to avoid potential
1.1. Creating a Basic Worksheet
When you first launch Excel, it starts you off with a new, blank
. A worksheet is the grid of
Here are a few basics about Excel's grid:
The grid divides your worksheet into rows and
The smallest unit in your worksheet is the
A worksheet can span up to 256 columns and 65,536 rows (giving you a grand total of 16,777,216 cells)
. In the
When you enter information, you enter it one cell at a time . However, you don't have to follow any set order. For example, you can start by typing information into cell A40, without worrying about filling any data in the cells that appear in the earlier rows.
The best way to get a feel for Excel is to dive right in and start
When you fire up Excel, it opens a fresh workbook. If you've already got Excel
The most straightforward way to create a worksheet is to design it as a table with headings for each column. It's important to remember that even for the simplest worksheet, the decisions you make about what's going to go in each column can have a big effect on how easy it is to manipulate your information.
For example, in a worksheet that stores a mailing list, you
have two columns: one for names and another for addresses. But if you create more than two columns, your life will probably be easier since you can separate first
You can, of course, always add or remove columns later. But you can avoid getting gray hairs by starting a worksheet with all the columns you think you'll need.
The first step in creating your worksheet is to add your headings in the row of cells at the top of the worksheet (row 1). Technically, you don't need to start right in the first row, but unless you want to add more information before your tablelike a title for the chart or the date you're creating itthere's no point in wasting the blank space.
For a simple expense worksheet designed to keep a record of your most prudent and extravagant purchases, try the following three headings:
Date Purchased stores the date when you spent the money.
Price records how much it cost.
Right away, you face your first glitch: awkwardly crowded text. Figure 1-4 shows how you can adjust column width for proper
You can now begin adding your data: simply fill in the rows under the column titles. Each row in the expense worksheet represents a separate purchase that you've made. (If you're familiar with databases, you can think of each row as a separate record.)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
Is that 2,003 or 2003?
What do Excel's version numbers mean?
Most people realize that the "2003" in Excel 2003 indicates the year, not the 2003rd release of the software. Microsoft's on-again, off-again naming policy is to leave the actual version number out of product names. So what version is Excel 2003?
If you dig around a little (select Help
About Microsoft Excel from the Excel menu) you'll discover that Excel 2003 is actually Excel Version 11. But even this version number doesn't mean what you might expect. Excel 11 is actually the
release of Excel on the Windows platform. The first version of Excel was a Macintosh-only release, and there is no Excel 6. The reason? Microsoft felt that the change in software that ran on Windows 3.x to that which ran on Windows 95 was so great that they were entitled to jump up two version numbers at once. (As questionable as that sounds, it's a technique that nearly all software
As Figure 1-5 shows, the first column is for dates, the second column is for text, and the third column holds numbers. Keep in mind that Excel doesn't impose any rules on what you type, so you're free to put text in the Price column. But if you don't keep a consistent kind of data in each column, you won't be able to easily analyze (or understand) your information later.
That's it. You've created a living, breathing worksheet. The