# A Microsoft Excel Tutorial For Beginners

If you work in an office setting, chances are good that you will be using Microsoft Excel at some point in your day. Microsoft Excel, also known as simply Excel, is the industry standard software that many companies use to store and analyze their data. While it might seem overwhelming when you first try to figure out how to get started with Excel, this Microsoft Excel tutorial for beginners will walk you through everything you need to know in order to start using it.

## How to Use the Ribbon in Microsoft Excel

The ribbon is where all of your options for using Excel are displayed. To access these tools, click on File in the top left-hand corner and then hover over New. All of your options will appear in a drop-down menu beneath that word. Hover over each one so you can see what it does and how it can help you use your spreadsheet effectively.

To start entering data into a cell, click on that cell, which will highlight it. Once it’s highlighted, you can enter your information and press Enter. This is how you add new rows and columns.

If you want to remove a cell, row or column, click on Edit and hover over Delete. If you want to copy information from one cell into another, select that cell and then hold down your Control button while pressing C. This will allow you to move that information from one cell into another. When you are finished copying, release your Control button and then press V.

## Formatting Data with Conditional Formatting

When you’re working with a large dataset, it can be helpful to format certain sections of data in order to make them stand out. That’s where conditional formatting comes in. Conditional formatting enables you to highlight ranges of cells based on criteria that you define. In this section, we’ll show you how!

To begin with, you need to go to Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule. In that dialogue box, choose your criteria. You can either choose a specific range of cells (such as B6:B10), or click Blanks and select how many blank cells in a row will trigger formatting. Once you’ve made your selection, click Format only cells that meet… in order to open up all of your options for formatting.

Once you’ve made your selection, click Format only cells that meet… in order to open up all of your options for formatting. Then choose what format you want for your data. You can pick from a wide range of options here, but we recommend sticking with colors first because it’s easy and it doesn’t require any advanced formatting skills.

## Spreadsheet Formulas and Functions

Formulas are just a fancy way of describing a calculation, or mathematical operation, that will take place in your spreadsheet. Once you start making calculations in your spreadsheet, you’ll find that you want to perform certain common operations over and over again (like adding two numbers together). Rather than write out these calculations every time you need them—especially if you’re performing them on multiple cells—you can create formulas for these functions so they automatically occur whenever you need them.

There are two main ways to create a formula: You can enter a function by typing it into your spreadsheet, or you can select an existing cell and then tell Excel you want it entered as a formula. When you do that, what you’re really doing is telling Excel that you want it to evaluate whatever is in that cell—and perform whatever operation is necessary—and replace what’s there with whatever result it generates.

### Here’s an example

Suppose you enter =5+5 in cell A1, and then tell Excel to enter that formula (meaning evaluate whatever is in cell A1, and replace it with what you get from that evaluation). The result of entering 5+5 into a cell is 10.

So what you’re telling Excel is that whatever is in cell A1 should be evaluated, and whatever result comes from that evaluation should replace whatever is in A1. In other words, you want cell A1 to say 10 instead of 5+5. Because you’ve told Excel to enter a formula using cell A1 as an input, it replaces 5+5 with 10 instead of adding 5+5 together.

## Extracting Data from Text Files and Web Pages

Because Excel deals primarily with numbers, it can be tough to get useful data from non-numeric sources. To help bridge that gap, there are three methods for extracting information from text files and web pages.

**Let’s look at each one in turn**

1) Right click on the text file or webpage and select Save as Text Document… . The file will download to your computer, where you can then open it up in Excel.

2) You could also copy the entire page or just a portion of the page by highlighting it using your mouse and pressing Ctrl+C on your keyboard.

3) One other way is by copying specific portions of the text onto your clipboard using Ctrl+C followed by Ctrl+V when you’re inside an empty spreadsheet document.

4) Once you’ve copied the information, paste it into an empty column of cells on a new sheet. 5) Each time you paste something into this column, Excel will automatically change the cell type to match what was pasted (text, number, date etc.).

6) You’ll need to manually change this back if it’s not what you want – e.g., text needs to be converted back into numeric values so they can be used in calculations .

7) When you have all the desired columns filled out, go ahead and name them with headings like Text File, Date, Author etc.

8) Then you can use these columns to do calculations and create graphs or charts based on their contents.

## Copying Web Content

To copy content directly from a website, point your browser to the address bar while you’re browsing. Hold down Shift+Ctrl while clicking on either one of those two keys (or both together), and then press V to grab everything currently loaded in your browser’s address bar! This will place everything neatly in your clipboard. Next up we’ll see how we can paste our new list right into Excel without losing any formatting whatsoever!

## Creating Charts with Chart Tools in Microsoft Excel

Once you’ve entered your data into an Excel spreadsheet, you can use any of several tools to turn that information into a graphic. These tools—which include column charts, bar charts, line graphs and pie charts—are all built in to Excel. There are also other types of graphics that you can use in your spreadsheets; once again, these come right out of your software suite.

### Here’s how to use them effectively

Both column and bar charts allow you to compare values based on certain criteria. A column chart will show data vertically, while a bar chart organizes that same information horizontally. You can use either type of chart for just about any type of data—numbers, percentages or alphabetic characters. The third option for creating graphics is using a line graph. Line graphs work well with time-based data because they provide a visual representation of the progression over time. Pie charts are another way to visualize numerical data when you want to illustrate proportions of different parts (a whole). They’re not typically used as frequently as the other three charting methods, but they do have their place.

## Automating your spreadsheets with Macros

Macros are handy little snippets of code that automate repetitive tasks. Macros can help streamline your spreadsheet work and save you a lot of time in terms of basic data management, formatting, and calculation. If you’re new to spreadsheets or just want a primer on how macros work, take a look at our guide below for some quick step-by-step instructions on creating your own macros in Microsoft Excel.