All About Microsoft Excel

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools,pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Excel forms part of the Microsoft Office suite of software.

How to create a new workbook

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Select Blank workbook or press Ctrl+N.
  3. Start typing.

How to Insert or delete columns

  1. Select any cell within the column, then go to Home > Insert > Insert Sheet Columns or Delete Sheet Columns.
  2. Alternatively, right-click the top of the column, and then select Insert or Delete.

How to Insert or delete a row

  1. Select any cell within the row, then go to Home > Insert > Insert Sheet Rows or Delete Sheet Rows.
  2. Alternatively, right-click the row number, and then select Insert or Delete.

Formatting options

When you select a row or column that has formatting applied, that formatting will be transferred to a new row or column that you insert. If you don’t want the formatting to be applied, you can select the Insert Options button after you insert, and choose from one of the options as follows:

If the Insert Options button isn’t visible, then go to File > Options > Advanced > in the Cut, copy and paste group, check the Show Insert Options buttons option.

How to move or copy worksheets or worksheet data

You can use the Move or Copy Sheet command to move or copy entire worksheets (also known as sheets), to other locations in the same or a different workbook. You can use the Cut and Copy commands to move or copy a portion of the data to other worksheets or workbooks.

Move a worksheet within a workbook

Select the worksheet tab, and drag it to where you want it.

Copy a worksheet in the same workbook

Press CTRL and drag the worksheet tab to the tab location you want.


  1. Right click on the worksheet tab and select Move or Copy.
  2. Select the Create a copy checkbox.
  3. Under Before sheet, select where you want to place the copy.
  4. Select OK.

How to Print a worksheet or workbook

You can print entire or partial worksheets and workbooks, one at a time, or several at once. And if the data that you want to print is in a Microsoft Excel table, you can print just the Excel table.

You can also print a workbook to a file instead of to a printer. This is useful when you need to print the workbook on a different type of printer from the one that you originally used to print it.

Print one or several worksheets

  1. Select the worksheets that you want to print.
  2. Click File > Print, or press CTRL+P.
  3. Click the Print button or adjust Settings before you click the Print button.

Print one or several workbooks

All workbook files that you want to print must be in the same folder.

  1. Click File > Open.
  2. Hold down CTRL click the name of each workbook to print, and then click Print.

Print all or part of a worksheet

  1. Click the worksheet, and then select the range of data that you want to print.
  2. Click File, and then click Print.
  3. Under Settings, click the arrow next to Print Active Sheets and select the appropriate option.
  4. Click Print.

How to use Excel as your calculator

Instead of using a calculator, use Microsoft Excel to do the math!

You can enter simple formulas to add, divide, multiply, and subtract two or more numeric values. Or use the AutoSum feature to quickly total a series of values without entering them manually in a formula. After you create a formula, you can copy it into adjacent cells — no need to create the same formula over and over again.

How to Subtract in Excel

How to Multiply in Excel

How to Divide in Excel

More about simple formulas

All formula entries begin with an equal sign (=). For simple formulas, simply type the equal sign followed by the numeric values that you want to calculate and the math operators that you want to use  — the plus sign (+) to add, the minus sign () to subtract, the asterisk (*) to multiply, and the forward-slash (/) to divide. Then, press ENTER, and Excel instantly calculates and displays the result of the formula.

For example, when you type =12.99+16.99 in cell C5 and press ENTER, Excel calculates the result and displays 29.98 in that cell.

The formula that you enter in a cell remains visible in the formula bar, and you can see it whenever that cell is selected.

Use AutoSum

The easiest way to add a SUM formula to your worksheet is to use AutoSum. Select an empty cell directly above or below the range that you want to sum, and on the Home or Formula tabs of the ribbon, click AutoSum > Sum. AutoSum will automatically sense the range to be summed and build the formula for you. This also works horizontally if you select a cell to the left or right of the range that you need to sum.

Note: AutoSum does not work on non-contiguous ranges.

AutoSum vertically

AutoSum horizontally

In the figure above, the AutoSum feature is seen to automatically detect cells B2:B5 as the range to sum. All you need to do is press ENTER to confirm it. If you need to add/exclude more cells, you can hold the Shift Key + the arrow key of your choice until your selection matches what you want. Then press Enter to complete the task.

Intellisense function guide: the SUM(number1,[number2], …) floating tag beneath the function is its Intellisense guide. If you click the SUM or function name, it will change o a blue hyperlink to the Help topic for that function. If you click the individual function elements, their representative pieces in the formula will be highlighted. In this case, only B2:B5 would be highlighted, since there is only one number reference in this formula. The Intellisense tag will appear for any function.

What can I use in a formula to mimic calculator keys?

Calculator key Excel method Description, example Result
+ (Plus key) + (plus) Use in a formula to add numbers. Example: =4+6+2 12
– (Minus key) – (minus) Use in a formula to subtract numbers or to signify a negative number.Example: =18-12Example: =24*-5 (24 times negative 5)
x (Multiply key) * (asterisk; also called “star”) Use in a formula to multiply numbers. Example: =8*3 24
÷ (Divide key) / (forward slash) Use in a formula to divide one number by another. Example: =45/5 9
% (Percent key) % (percent) Use in a formula with * to multiply by a percent. Example: =15%*20 3
√ (square root) SQRT (function) Use the SQRT function in a formula to find the square root of a number. Example: =SQRT(64) 8
1/x (reciprocal) =1/n Use =1/n in a formula, where n is the number you want to divide 1 by.Example: =1/8 0.125

How to Fill data automatically in worksheet cells

  1. Select one or more cells you want to use as a basis for filling additional cells. For a series like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…, type 1 and 2 in the first two cells. For the series 2, 4, 6, 8…, type 2 and 4. For the series 2, 2, 2, 2…, type 2 in first cell only.
  2. Drag the fill handle .
  3. If needed, click Auto Fill Options and choose the option you want.

How to create a drop-down list

Create a drop-down list You can help people work more efficiently in worksheets by using drop-down lists in cells. Drop-downs allow people to pick an item from a list that you create.

  1. In a new worksheet, type the entries you want to appear in your drop-down list. Ideally, you’ll have your list items in an Excel table. If you don’t, then you can quickly convert your list to a table by selecting any cell in the range, and pressing Ctrl+T. Notes:

  1. Select the cell in the worksheet where you want the drop-down list.
  2. Go to the Data tab on the Ribbon, then Data Validation. Note: If you can’t click Data Validation, the worksheet might be protected or shared. Unlock specific areas of a protected workbook or stop sharing the worksheet, and then try step 3 again.
  3. On the Settings tab, in the Allow box, click List.
  4. Click in the Source box, then select your list range. We put ours on a sheet called Cities, in range A2:A9. Note that we left out the header row, because we don’t want that to be a selection option:
  5. If it’s OK for people to leave the cell empty, check the Ignore blank box.
  6. Check the In-cell dropdown box.
  7. Click the Input Message tab.
    • If you want a message to pop up when the cell is clicked, check the Show input message when cell is selected box, and type a title and message in the boxes (up to 225 characters). If you don’t want a message to show up, clear the check box.
  8. Click the Error Alert tab.
    • If you want a message to pop up when someone enters something that’s not in your list, check the Show error alert after invalid data is entered box, pick an option from the Style box, and type a title and message. If you don’t want a message to show up, clear the check box.
  9. Not sure which option to pick in the Style box?
    • To show a message that doesn’t stop people from entering data that isn’t in the drop-down list, click Information or Warning. Information will show a message with this icon and Warning will show a message with this icon .
    • To stop people from entering data that isn’t in the drop-down list, click Stop.

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