Entering New Data

Entering New Data

Entering data is as simple as selecting a particular cell and typing input from the keyboard. Just follow these steps:


Move the cursor to the desired cell, using either the mouse or the keyboard arrow keys.


Begin typing.


When you are finished typing, press the Enter key to accept the data entry.

This approach works for all types of data, with the exception of formulas. Entering a formula is almost this simple, except that you must enter an equal sign (=) first. Just go to the cell, press the = key on your keyboard, and then enter the formula.

As to how the individual data is formattedthat is, how Google Spreadsheets interprets numbers and lettersit depends on what type of data you enter:

  • If you typed only numbers, the data will be formatted as a number (with no commas or dollar signs).

  • If you typed a number with a dollar sign in front of it, the data will be formatted as currency.

  • If you typed any alphabetic characters, the data will be formatted as text.

  • If you typed numbers separated by the - or / characters (such as 12-31 or 1/2/06), the data will be formatted as a date.

  • If you typed numbers separated by the : character (such as 2:13), the data will be formatted as a time.

Editing Previously Entered Data

Editing existing data in a cell is a fairly simple exercise; you actually edit within the cell. Follow these steps:


Move the cursor to the desired cell.


Press the F2 key; this opens the cell for editing, as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16. Editing data within a cell.


Move the cursor to the data point within the cell you want to edit.


Use the Delete and Backspace keys to delete characters; use other keys to insert characters.


Press Enter when you are finished editing. Your changes are accepted into the selected cell.

Section 6. Working with Ranges

When you reference data within a spreadsheet, you can reference individual cells or you can reference a range of cells. When you reference more than one contiguous cell, that's called a range.

You typically use ranges with specific functions, such as SUM (which totals a range of cells) or AVERAGE (which calculates the average value of a range of cells). We'll learn more about functions later in this document.

Understanding Ranges

A range is simply a collection of adjacent cells. These may be in a column, a row, or a larger area consisting of several rows and columns. A range reference is expressed by listing the first and last cells in the range, separated by a colon (:). For example, the range that starts with cell A1 and ends with cell A9 (shown in Figure 17) is written like this:


Figure 17. The range of cells specified A1:A9.

As just noted, ranges can run down columns or across rows, or both. For example, a range starting with cell A1 in the top-left corner and running through cell D10 in the bottom-right corner (as shown in Figure 18) is written like this:


Figure 18. The range of cells specified A1:D10.

Selecting a Range

You can select a range with either your mouse or your keyboard. Using your mouse, you can simply click and drag the cursor to select all the cells in the range. For example, to select the cells from A1 to D1, click the first cell (A1), hold down the mouse button, drag the mouse across to the last cell (D1), and then release the mouse button.

You can also select a range with the keyboard. Position the cursor in the first cell in the range, hold down the Shift key, and then use the cursor keys to expand the range in the appropriate direction.

Finally, you can use a combination of mouse and keyboard to select a range. Use either the mouse or the keyboard to select the first cell in the range. Then hold down the Shift key, and click the mouse in the last cell in the range. All the cells in between the two cells will be automatically selected.