Free Excel Tutorial for Engineers : Introduction

A spreadsheet is a computer application that consists of a grid of rows and columns, and allows you to compare and organize data. Spreadsheets make it easy to display information, and people can insert formulas to work with the data. Microsoft Excel is the most widely used spreadsheet application around the world that helps you analyze and organize data. Excel finds its usage in almost all technical fields. Excel gained its popularity from its easy usability and multiple features. Following are the most basic concepts of excel.

Worksheet / Workbook: A worksheet is a single sheet or a page in excel where you can store and manipulate your data. A workbook in excel, on the other hand, can be referred to any saved excel file. It can contain one worksheet or a collection of worksheets.

Cell: A cell In excel is a single unit or a grid like A6 or F7, etc.


Range: A range is a set of selected cells. For example, A1:A16, D2:E12 and so on.


Excel User Interface: The excel user interface helps you to understand the different features provided in excel. When you open excel, the screen contains the tabs, ribbon, quick access toolbar, formula bar and so on.


Office Button: The office button at the top left corner of the excel screen provides you with the basic options found under the file menu in the older versions, like open, save, print, etc.


Quick Access Toolbar: The quick access toolbar placed right next to the office button is the only toolbar provided in excel 2007 and gives you shortcuts to the menu options that are frequently used by you. You will usually find options like save, undo, redo, quick print, etc. in the quick access toolbar.


Ribbon: The Ribbons work using a compact interface that contains many of the same tools and controls available in menubars and dialog boxes found in the earlier versions of excel. Each of the tabs contains a separate ribbon with a set of similar functions. The ribbon feature speeds up the working process and makes it easy to toggle between the options.


Name Bar: The name bar displays the name of the cell(s) and allows you to edit cell or range name.


Formula Bar: The formula bar displays the contents of the selected cell. This allows you to edit the content of the cell such as making changes in the formula and so on.


 Worksheet Area: The worksheet area consists of rows marked by numbers on the left vertical bar and columns marked by alphabets on the top horizontal bar.


Scroll Bars: You will find the scroll bars at the bottom and on the right side of the worksheet area which allows you to view the data which is not readily visible on the worksheet area.


Sheet Tabs: The sheet tabs display the number of worksheets in the workbook. It allows you to toggle from one worksheet to another very easily.


Status Bar: The status bar automatically summarizes the selected cells and provides information on the number of cells selected, the sum of the selected cells, the average of the selected cells, and so on.