Using the Application

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In this section, we introduce you to Microsoft Excel 2000, the spreadsheet application that we use to demonstrate the skills for this ICDL module. To get started, you need to review some general skills for working with the user interface of Excel.

First Steps with Spreadsheets

Let's start with the basics. Before you can do anything else with Excel, you need to be able to launch and shut down the application, as well as navigate between different parts of the application.

Opening the Application

Open (and close) a spreadsheet application.

By now, you should be pretty familiar with opening and closing applications under Windows . To review, here's how it works with Excel:

  • To open Excel, select Start, All Programs, Microsoft Excel. Or if you have a Quick Launch button for Excel on the Windows taskbar, just click the Quick Launch button.

  • To close Excel, select Exit from the File menu or click the Close button in the upper-right corner of the Excel window.

Opening Spreadsheets

Open one, several spreadsheets.

In Excel, you work with individual files called spreadsheets. A spreadsheet is a place that you can store numbers , text, mathematical formulas, graphs, and other things. To open a spreadsheet, select Open from the File menu, or click the Open toolbar button on the Standard toolbar. This action opens the Open dialog box, which lets you browse to locate the file that you want to open. Select the appropriate filename and click the Open button.

To open several spreadsheets, you can repeat this process for each one. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl+click and Shift+click shortcuts in the Open dialog box to select multiple files, as you learned in Chapter 4, "Word Processing."

If you want to open a file that you were recently working with, you can select it from the most recently used ( MRU ) file list at the bottom of the File menu to reopen it.

You can adjust the number of files in the MRU list by selecting Tools, Options, General and changing the number in the Options dialog box.

Creating New Spreadsheets

Create a new spreadsheet (default template).

Excel opens with one spreadsheet already created. To create more, select New from the File menu and then click OK. Alternatively, you can click the New toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.

Saving Spreadsheets

Before you get too far with Excel, you'll want to know how to save your work. The ICDL module tests your ability to save in several different ways.

Save a spreadsheet to a location on a drive.

To save a spreadsheet, select Save from the File menu or click the Save toolbar button on the Standard toolbar. If you have not yet saved this particular spreadsheet, this action opens the Save As dialog box. Enter a name for the spreadsheet file, browse to the location on the disk where you want to save the file, and click Save.

If you change the contents of the spreadsheet and want to save it again without changing the filename, select Save from the File menu, click the Save toolbar button on the Standard toolbar, or press Ctrl+S. You aren't prompted for a filename, but the contents of the existing file will be updated.

Save a spreadsheet under another name.

Sometimes you might want to save a copy of your spreadsheet under a new name. To do so, select Save As from the File menu. This action opens the Save As dialog box. Enter a name for the spreadsheet file, browse to the location on the disk where you want to save the copy, and click Save. The new copy remains open in Excel after this operation.

Save a spreadsheet in another file type, such as text, HTML, a template, with a software-specific file extension, or with a version number.

When you just use Save or Save As, Excel saves spreadsheets in its own native format, an .xls file. This format is the best format to use if you're only going to work with the data in Excel, but it might not be convenient for sharing data with other applications. Fortunately, Excel lets you save data in a variety of other formats.

To save data in another format, select Save As from the File menu. Then use the Save As Type combo box to select the file type that you'd like to use for the data. Table 5.1 shows some of the available data formats.

Table 5.1. Excel File Formats


File Extension

Web Page


Excel template




Comma delimited




You can also use Save As to save a spreadsheet in a format that can be read by an earlier version of Excel. Excel 2000 lets you save in Excel 2.1, Excel 3.0, Excel 4.0, Excel 5.0, or Excel 97 formats.

Navigating Between Spreadsheets

Switch between open worksheets and open spreadsheets.

You need to understand the difference between a spreadsheet and a worksheet. A spreadsheet is an entire Excel file ; each spreadsheet may contain one or more (there's no practical limit) worksheets .

Figure 5.1 will help you understand the difference between the two terms. In this figure, three spreadsheets, named Spreadsheet1.xls, Spreadsheet2.xls, and Spreadsheet3.xls, are open. You can see buttons for each of these in the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen; the button for Spreadsheet3.xls is depressed, indicating that as the spreadsheet that you're currently working with.

Figure 5.1. Three spreadsheets and three worksheets.

Within the spreadsheet, there are three worksheets, Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3. These three worksheets are indicated by the tabs and the lower-left side of the Excel user interface.

To switch between open worksheets in a spreadsheet, simply click on the tab for the worksheet that you want to view. You can also use the Ctrl+PgUp and Ctrl+PgDn keyboard shortcuts to move between worksheets in a spreadsheet.

To switch between open spreadsheets, you can use any of these techniques:

  • Click on the appropriate button on the Windows taskbar.

  • Use the Alt+Tab key combination to quickly navigate between all the open windows on your computer.

  • Select the spreadsheet that you want to navigate to from the list on the Window menu inside of Excel.

Getting Help

Use available Help functions.

Excel offers you several ways to get help if you get stuck. You'll find these choices on the Help menu within Excel, or you can launch Help by pressing the F1 key. Here are the major choices for Help:

  • Microsoft Excel Help Includes a detailed help file with information on all aspects of the application. Depending on your settings, you might see this file in a Web-based window, or help might be presented by the animated Office Assistant.

  • What's This? Displays a screen tip for the specified option. Select an item, such as a control or a menu command, and press Shift+F1 to view a short explanation for the element.

  • Office On The Web Connects to Microsoft's online Office site, which gives you access to an extensive library of articles and useful hints.

Finishing Up

Close a spreadsheet.

When you're finished working, you might want to close an individual spreadsheet while still keeping Excel open. To do so, select Close from the File menu or click the Close button in the upper-right corner of the spreadsheet. Don't confuse this button with the Close button for Excel itself; Figure 5.2 shows the difference.

Figure 5.2. Two different close buttons in Excel.

Adjusting Settings

Excel, like most Windows applications, lets you adjust the program settings for your own convenience. In this part of the module, you should know about magnification tools, toolbars , freezing and unfreezing, and basic option customization.

Zooming In and Out

Use magnification or zoom tools.

Excel lets you control the display of text on your screen by magnifying or shrinking the entire worksheet. You can use any of these techniques to change the zoom factor of the current worksheet:

  • Select Zoom from the View menu. Choose a magnification, and then click OK.

  • Select a value from the Zoom drop-down box on the Standard toolbar.

  • If you have a mouse with a mouse wheel, hold down the Ctrl key and scroll the wheel to change the magnification.

Figure 5.3 shows part of the same worksheet at 10% zoom (left) and 200% zoom (right).

Figure 5.3. The effect of changing the zoom in Excel.

Adjusting Toolbars

Display, hide built-in toolbars.

Excel features a variety of toolbars to provide easy access to common functions. By default, Excel displays the Standard toolbar and the Formatting toolbar, but you can change this display easily. Right-click anywhere in the toolbar area (except on an existing toolbar button) to display the shortcut menu shown in Figure 5.4, which lists all the toolbars. Click the name of a toolbar on this menu to display it if it's hidden or to hide it if it's already displayed. You can also select Toolbars from the View menu to choose which toolbars to display.

Figure 5.4. Selecting toolbars to display.

Freezing and Unfreezing

Freeze, unfreeze row and/or column titles.

It's common for worksheets to contain quite a bit of information. Often, there will be titles in the first row or the first column of the worksheet (or both) to identify information. Excel lets you freeze these titles so that they remain visible while you scroll around the rest of the worksheet.

To freeze part of a worksheet, first click in the cell just below and to the left of the part that you want frozen:

  • To freeze just the first column, click in cell B1.

  • To freeze just the first row, click in cell A2.

  • To freeze both the first row and the first column, click in cell B2.

Cells on an Excel worksheet are identified by specifying the letter at the top of the column and the number to the left of the row. Thus, cell A2 is the cell in the second row of the first column.

After you select the appropriate cell, select Freeze Panes from the Window menu. Excel draws heavy lines to indicate the frozen panes. Figure 5.5 shows a worksheet with both the first row and the first column frozen. Note that row 1 and column A are still visible even though the scrollbars indicate that the rest of the window shows data from elsewhere on the worksheet.

Figure 5.5. A worksheet with one row and one column frozen.

To unfreeze the panes, select Unfreeze Panes from the Window menu.

Working the Way You Want

Modify basic options/preferences in the application: user name, default directory/folder to open, save spreadsheets.

Excel also lets you customize many aspects of its operation to suit your own preferences. Here are just two examples:

  • To change the default username, select Options from the Tools menu. This action opens the Options dialog box, shown in Figure 5.6. On the General tab, change the User Name and click OK.

    Figure 5.6. The Options dialog box in Excel.

  • To change the default directory for files, select Options from the Tools menu. Enter the new directory in the Default File Location box on the General tab and click OK.

If you browse around the other tabs of the Options dialog box, you'll find many other aspects of Excel that you can customize.

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ICDL Exam Cram 2
ICDL Exam Cram 2
ISBN: 0789730928
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 142 © 2008-2017.
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