Top Ten Excel Tips For Beginners

There are many tips for Excel. This article is for the beginners and covers the tips that I go over in the classes that I teach at local schools.

1. 80% of the most commonly used features, for beginners, in Excel can be done with two toolbars. A toolbar is the icons that are under the menus that are in text format (File, Edit, etc.). You should have the Standard toolbar and the Format toolbar on your screen.

To make sure they are, go to the View menu and select Toolbars. There should be a checkmark next to Standard and Format. If one of these does not have a checkmark, highlight the menu option with the left mouse button. The toolbar will be displayed.

2. You can use Control (Ctrl) keys to do a lot of functions. For example, hold down the Ctrl key and press the S key and the file will be saved. Ctrl + P will print the document. Ctrl + B will Bold letter the text or number. There are many more. For a complete listing click on the link at the end of this article and you can download a free copy.

3. You do not have to use the mouse to navigate to a specific cell. You can use the arrow keys (left, up, down, right), or the PgUp and PgDn keys. Enter will go down one cell, and the Tab key will go to the next cell to the right. Holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the Home key will go to the first cell. Ctrl and the End key will go to the last cell.

4. Excel can look at what you typed in and follow the sequence. For example, if you typed in the word Monday, you can use a technique to have the next cell display Tuesday, etc. Say for example you type in Monday. Move back to the cell that contains Monday and you will notice on the bottom right of the cell that there is a little square. This is called a handle. Using your mouse carefully put the mouse cursor over the little square. The cursor will turn into a + sign. Click the left mouse button down and while continuing to hold down the button move your mouse down (or to the right). Go down or to the right seven cells while holding down the left mouse button. (A cell is the intersection of a row and column.) Let go of the mouse button and the seven days of the week will be displayed. This works for time, numbers, months, calendar, quarters, and a couple of others.

5. All formulas and functions begin with the equal sign. For example to add 1 and 2 together, the formula would be =1+2.

6. If you wanted to add up a column, or row. Type in the items that you wanted to add together and highlight the items you want to add, plus one empty cell. For example, say that you had numbers in cells A1 through A5. Highlight A1 through A6. On the Format toolbar is a Greek Symbol ? . Click on that symbol and the sum of the numbers will be displayed in the empty cell that you highlighted.

7. If you had a number that you wanted to display as a percentage, highlight the cell and on the Format tool bar is a percent (%) sign. Click on that symbol and the number in the cell will be displayed as a percent.

8. Say that you had a large spreadsheet and you wanted to go directly to cell J5. You can press the F5 key on the top of the keyboard. Type in J5 and press the Enter key. Your cursor will automatically go to cell J5.

9. When you are unsure what feature to use in Excel, highlight the cell(s) and click on the right mouse button. A window will open and the most commonly used features will be displayed in the menu.

10. To insert a row or column, click on the letter for inserting a column, or number for inserting a row. After clicking on the number or letter, click the right mouse button and select Insert from the menu option.

Your Computer Connection
By John Gontowicz
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