Basics in Excel: A Beginner’s Guide To Getting Started

One of my students asked me what the hell going on there, every interviewer asked me about my Excel skills! 

Unfortunately, he missed his chance because of his lack of skills in microsoft excel.

Logically it’s meant to happen this way because every industry requires the candidate must have the skills in Ms- Excel. Basics in excel are must nowadays, and you need to ensure your excel skills before facing another interview because it matters now.


So here today I will give you the guideline assuming you as a beginner. 

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is the most used and popular software that provides worksheets contained with a massive number of rows and columns. The data you submit can be recorded in the worksheet that is also known as a spreadsheet. This is somewhat similar to Microsoft word table, but the Microsoft Excel has more power to perform simple to complex mathematical calculations, and other functions as well. The point is, Microsoft Excel helps to work very conveniently.

what is excel

What is a spreadsheet?

A work field that is comprised of cells in rows and columns is a spreadsheet. It is used to arrange, calculate, and sort out the data in a spreadsheet. The rows in a worksheet have numeric names (1, 2, 3) while the columns have the alphabetic names. So what makes the Excel software unique? Because it is able to calculate values using mathematical formulas and the date.

How to move from cell to cell

The arrow keys in your keyboard can be used to move left, right, up, and down from the current cell. Then press the Enter key to move to the cell immediately below the current cell, and just press the Tab key to move one cell to the right. Yeah, It is that easy!

How to Select Cells

There are plenty of ways you can use to select cells in an Excel spreadsheet:

  • Click in the cell.
  • Choose one or more rows of rooms, just click on the row number(s).
  • Select one or more columns of cells, click on the column letter(s).
  • Select a group of adjacent cells, click in one corner cell, and move the mouse to the opposite corner. Suppose we have selected cells A1 through B10 that is written A1: B10 in formulas.
  • Select various cells that are not contiguous, press, and hold the Ctrl key while clicking in the desired cells.
  • If you want to select all cells in the spreadsheet, then click in the upper right corner of the worksheet.

How to Enter Data into Cells

  • To enter data into a cell, you just need to click in the cell and begin typing. What you are typing is displayed in the Formula Bar.
  • When entering dates, Excel defaults to the present year if the year portion of the date is not registered.
  • You can edit cell contents from both the Formula bar and directly inside the cell.
  • To edit from the Formula Bar, select the cell and click inside the Formula Bar.
  • To edit directly inside the cell, either double click inside the cell.

For example, Suppose you have entered 10.4367 in a cell. But the cell was formatted to show only two decimal places, Excel will display 10.43 in that worksheet cell. However, Excel will still use the real cell value that you entered, 10.4367.

How to Propagate Cell Contents

There are several ways to propagate date from one cell to adjacent cells. Let’s try with 2 commonly used keyboard shortcuts that allow you to fill down and the right:

  • Select the cell with the data and the cells to be filled and press the Ctrl key + D key to fill down.
  • Select the cell with the data and cells to be filled and press the Ctrl key+ R key to fill the right.

To propagate in any area, use the Fill Handle. Select the cell with data to be copied, hover the cursor over the cell’s lower right corner until the cursor turns to a plus sign (+) or a black square, and drag up, down, left, or right to fill the cells.

If the data to be copied is a date, number, or a custom-made series, it will be incremented by one instead of just copied when the Fill Handle is used. 

Suppose you need to show the months of the year in column A. So all you need to do is just type the year in column A and write down January in cell A1, drag the file Handle down to your required cell, and the months will be displayed in chronological order in column A.

How to Move and Copy Cell Contents

How to Move and Copy Cell Contents

If you want to move cell contents then, take your mouse pointer to the target cell and right-click- click Cut. As same as to Copy, right-click, then select Copy and paste it in the other cell.  

You can also paste your data in the multiple adjacent cells at the same time. Just select the blocks of cells you want to fill in and then press right-click, select Paste.

How to insert and Remove Rows and Columns

If you want to insert a new row in a spreadsheet, right-click on a row number, and click Insert. Press the F4 key to add each additional row. 

To delete, right-click on the row number, and click Delete. Adjacent rows can be deleted by selecting them at a glance before clicking Delete. And non-contiguous rows can be selected by pressing and holding the CTRL button before clicking Delete.

How to insert and Remove Rows and Columns

insert and Remove Rows and Columns

If you want To insert a new column, right-click on a column letter and click Insert. The column added on the left. As similar as rows, if you want to add additional columns after inserting the first column, press the F4 key.

To delete a column, as like as row, right-click on the column letter, and click Delete. Adjacent columns can be removed by highlighting them before clicking Delete. And also, you can delete non-adjacent columns by pressing and holding pressing and holding the CTRL-key and click Delete.

How to lock the cell and protect the spreadsheet

To prevent any harm of your data there are two ways. First of all, the cell must be locked. Secondly, the worksheet must be protected. If you have any valuable data or complex formulas that you really don’t want to lose, then it is up to you which cells to lock and which worksheet protection options to take.

Here are 15 shortcuts for you:

  1. ALT+= Inserts a SUM formula. 

  2. CTRL+TAB switches between open Excel windows. 

  3. CTRL+1 Displays the Format Cells dialogue box. 

  4. CTRL+SHIFT+” Copies the value from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar. 

  5. CTRL+Z Uses the Undo command to reverse the last command or to delete the last entry that you typed. 

  6. CTRL+’ Copies a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar.

  7. CTRL+K Opens the Hyperlink dialogue box. 

  8. CTRL+F Opens the Find dialogue box. 

  9. CTRL+H Opens the Find & Replace dialogue box. 

  10. CTRL+N Opens a new workbook. 

  11. CTRL+S Saves workbook. 

  12. CTRL+C Copy 

  13. CTRL+X Cut 

  14. CTRL+V Paste

  15. CTRL+P Opens Print dialogue box

In conclusion, I want to say you that, learning Microsoft Excel can not be your waste of time, it is any industries’ demand these days. If you want to progress in your career you should consider learning Microsoft Excel, there is no other way than this. 

So what are you waiting for?

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July 6, 2020

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