Worksheet Basics

Whenever you start Microsoft Excel, a blank multi-page workbook opens, ready for you to work in. This workbook consists of several worksheets already named "Sheet 1", "Sheet 2", and "Sheet 3" in which you can enter and edit information. When you start working in Excel, you can either begin working on the blank workbook that Excel creates, or you can open an existing file to work on instead.

Since Excel projects start as multi-page workbooks, it is easier to create monthly or daily worksheets. For instance, if you are taking care of several account numbers, you can have a worksheet for each account, and a top "consolidation sheet."

One of the things you need to do when creating a file is to determine how the pages need to be set up - margins, orientation, headers and footers, etc. In Excel this is done by using FILE, PAGE SETUP.


Page Setup Since Excel can show you page endings, as well as how much information will fit on each page as you work, it’s a good idea to make Page Setup decisions right when you start a new project. Use the Page Setup command located on the File menu.


Change Page orientation, paper size, and scaling.


Change margins for the entire page, for headers and footer locations, and centering horizontally or vertically on the page.


Create Headers and Footers for the individual sheets within the book. Headers can include the name of the file, the sheet tab, the page number, the date, etc.

These identifiers that appear on each sheet can be determined by selecting what you want to appear on each page by going into Custom Header and/or Custom Footer.



Set up printing options, such as printing row titles and column titles, using gridlines, and page order to print when there are more columns than will fit on the page.

An added feature is the ability to repeat the column and/or row titles on each additional page printed. To do this, you will need to tell the program which rows need to repeat ($1:$1) for the first row, or which columns ($A:$B) for the first two columns.

Also, you will need to designate the print area which is whatever is remaining of the spreadsheet after designating repeating rows and columns - if the first row is repeated, then the print area would begin with row 2. If the first 2 columns (A & B) are repeated each page, then the print area would begin with column C.

Creating a Worksheet - Type the following text and numbers. Use TAB to move from column to column. Use Backspace key if you make a mistake before pressing enter.

Categories | Jan97 | Feb97 | Mar97

Big Books | 30501 | 35225 | 32521

Big Pages | 14790  | 20975 | 22760

Big Colors | 4459  | 10897 | 8764

  • As you start typing, the text will appear in the active cell and in the Formula bar. Pressing the Enter key or clicking the checkmark button in the Formula bar concludes the text entry and places the text in the active cell.
  • Press TAB to move to the next cell, or use the arrow keys to move down or across.
  • If you change your mind before you press enter, you can press the ESC key or click on the X button in the Formula bar to cancel the entry.
  • You can type up to 255 characters per cell.
  • After you have entered text, you can easily increase cell sizes later or word-wrap text to accommodate the entries.


Entering and Editing Data

Entering Data

You can enter Text, Numbers, and Formulas into any cell on a worksheet. You simply select a cell and then type. Normally Row 1 is used to type the column headings. Column A is used to type the row labels. When you label your worksheets, you and others are able to understand your worksheet’s purpose, logic, and assumptions making your worksheets easier to understand.

Active Cell

Whatever you type appears in both the active cell and the formula bar. You can enter your data in the active cell by clicking the enter box (the box with a check on it) in the formula bar or by pressing Enter.

You can cancel the entry by clicking the cancel box (X) in the formula bar, or by pressing ESC.


If you make a mistake while you’re typing in a cell, you can use the Backspace key or the arrow keys to move the insertion point (the blinking vertical line that indicates where you can enter text).

Working with a Range of Cells

You can save time entering data in a range of cells if you select all of the cells in the range first. As you enter data in each cell and press ENTER, the next cell in the range becomes the active cell in a top-to-bottom, left-to-right order. Or you can use TAB to move from left-to-right and then top-to-bottom in your range.

Move Backwards

Shift-Tab or Shift-Enter moves you backward through the selection.
Insertion Point Movement You can quickly move to another cell in your worksheet by pressing TAB. You can also use the mouse and the scroll bars.

To move the insertion point by using the mouse:

  1. Using the scroll bars, scroll until you reach the location you want.
  2. Click the cell where you want to position the insertion point.

Moving Around in a Worksheet

Left one cell Left Arrow
Right one cell Right Arrow
Up one cell Up Arrow
Down one cell Down Arrow
Up one screen Page Up
Down one screen Page Down
To the first cell in a row that contains data Ctrl + Left Arrow
To the last cell in a row that contains data Ctrl + Right Arrow
To the start of the worksheet Ctrl + Home
To intersection of last row & column containing data Ctrl + End

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