Saving your Work
Spreadsheets are often used for decision making, financial analysis, budgeting, and inventory management. When working in Excel, the document you create is called a workbook. Each workbook is made up of individual worksheets.
The cell shown here is cell A1. Use your arrow keys or click your mouse to select cells in the spreadsheet. Using multiple sheets will help organize all the different parts of your workbook. There is no reason to put everything on a single sheet. When you open a new workbook, the first sheet, Sheet1, will be active. To access other sheets, simply click on the sheet tabs near the bottom of the screen. Right now were just re-naming and re-ordering sheets, but copying sheets will come in handy too, especially if you plan on having several sheets with the same format. Just format one and then make as many copies as you needit will save you a lot of typing. Just like when you move a sheet, to copy a sheet, right click on the sheet tab and select Move or Copy. Decide where you want the copy to go, and then theres an extra step: Make sure to check the Create A Copy box before you click OK.
Use your left and right arrow keys to move across the row from cell to cell. Its very important that you put each heading in its own cell.The Situation:You were assigned to this class at the end of the 3rd quarter, when their teacher unexpectedly quit. Youve been so busy that youve been recording grades on paper. But now its time to turn in 4th quarter and final grades, and doing the calculations by hand will be a real pain. You need a spreadsheet! What were doing right now is inputting the grades for the first three quarters. Youll need these grades to calculate the final grades for your students.Use the [Enter] key to move down the column from cell to cell. Right now, you shouldnt worry about whether the student names are alphabetized, or how the data looks. Well address those issues later on.The social security numbers are hard to remember and enter, but this will be a good example of how cell formatting works, and how it makes the job of data entry a little easier. As youre completing Step 3, its only important that you have 9 numbers that are each 9 digits long, so dont worry about double checking the numbers. A good practice is to use cell references (A3, H6, etc.) in your formulas whenever possible. When you make changes to the data in your spreadsheet, Excel will recalculate any formula affected by those changes.
For formulas that include cell references, you can type the reference or use your mouse to select the cell.
Functions are short cuts that you can use when writing your formulas. Theyre handy when adding or averaging long columns or rows of numbers. Instead of typing each individual cell reference, you can type the range of the entire group of cells. Each Excel function can be identified by the name that you usually see in all capital letters. The SUM function, for example, adds values, the ROUND function rounds a number to a specified number of digits, etc. Depending on what youre calculating, the function you use may be the entire formula, or it may be nested within a larger formula. The formulas shown here demonstrate the benefits of using to common functions: sum and average.
When you want to performing a similar calculation, like averaging student grades, in adjacent cells (in the next row or column over) you can save time by typing the formula just once and then copying it. Excel will automatically adjust any cell references in the formula. This will only work when copying along one row or column though. Otherwise, use the copy and paste icons on the toolbar.
To copy the contents of one or more cells to anywhere in your workbook, highlight the cell(s) and click the Copy icon. Then select a cell to choose a location and click the Paste icon. In Step 1, youre writing a formula to calculate the class average for the 1st Quarter. That formula uses the average function. To calculate the class averages for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters, all you need to do is copy that formula (Step 2). Notice that even though weve not yet inputted any data for the 4th quarter you can still write the formula for the 4th quarter class average and the individual final averages. Right now, youll see a DIV/0 error in cell G11, because we dont have any data to divide by, but youll see that as 4th quarter data gets added the formula will calculate the averages correctly. After youve done the calculations, youll see that some of the values have a lot of decimal placesmore than you need. Well format those cells and set the number of decimal places in just a minute.The error message that you see in cell G11 is alerting you to the fact that youre trying to take the average of nothing! Normally this would be a problem, but once you add 4th quarter data, youll see an average (not an error message) in that cell.The number tab on the Format Cells pop-up window contains setting for different types of data, like dollar amounts, dates, and times. Select a data type from the box labeled Category. The Special category allows you to format cells for phone numbers, social security numbers and zip codes. The number tab on the Format Cells pop-up window contains setting for different types of data, like dollar amounts, dates, and times. Select a data type from the box labeled Category. The Special category allows you to format cells for phone numbers, social security numbers and zip codes. Remember to use font size, bold text, color, etc. to emphasize the important data on your spreadsheet. By selecting the autofit option, all the columns you selected will snap out to fit the data.Tip: The same applies to ROWSNotice that we dont have any empty rows separating our headings from the data, or any empty columns separating the headings. Its a good idea to avoid having those empty rows and columns, especially when you plan on performing calculations and using advanced tools with your data. Bold, border and cell shading are formatting techniques that will help make your spreadsheets easier to read.Now that you can see the semi-finished and formatted product, its important to understand WHY we organized our spreadsheet in that way. In Excel, data should be organized into records and fields. In this grade book, every student in the class is a record. And for each record, there are 9 important pieces of information that we need to keep track of: the last name, first name, SSN, Q1 grade, Q2 grade, Q3 grade, Q4 grade, Final Average and Final Grade. Those pieces of information, or data, are called fields. Notice that the fields go across the spreadsheet from left to right, and the records go down the spreadsheet. Typically the field names become headings, so you would want to emphasize them somehow (larger font size, bold type, etc.). Its important to realize that the number and names of fields, depends on the data that youre working with. Finally, when youre setting up your spreadsheet and inputting data, dont leave empty columns in between your fields, or empty rows between your recordsthis will ensure that when you use Excels more advance tools, everything will work as it should.
Note: When you highlight the cells to sort, make sure to highlight the entire range of relevant cells. To sort the records by last name, you must highlight all the information that relates to the student, including the SSN and grades for the first 3 quarters. If you dont, only part of the data will be sorted, leaving you with mis-matched information. We dont need to highlight the Final Averages for our sort, because the formulas are essentially identical, and theyre related to cell references, not specific data. If we had actually typed Skippy Handlemans grades (79, 80 and 84) in the Final Average formulainstead of cell references--then wed have to include that column in the sort. By just copying and pasting the data we need (last names), it saves a lot of typing!