- Working with spreadsheet cells in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
- Cell types in spreadsheets
- What are cell links?
- Cells can be formatted
- Displayed and saved tracks
- Calculations and formatted numbers
- How to add more cells to a sheet
- Delete cells and cell contents
Working with spreadsheet cells in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
A cell is a unit of storage in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Cells are blocks in a spreadsheet that can hold data. Cells in a spreadsheet are organized into a column and row on a worksheet and can be formatted for aesthetics or visibility.
The instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Office 365; Excel Online; Excel for Mac and Google Sheets.
Cell types in spreadsheets
Cells contain four types of information (also called data types):
Numbers, which can contain formulas, dates, and times.
Text, often called lines of text or simply lines.
Boolean values TRUE or FALSE.
Errors including #NULL !, #REF! and # DIV/0! that indicate a problem.
What are cell links?
A cell reference is a system that identifies data and provides an address so that the data can be placed in a spreadsheet. A cell reference is used in spreadsheets to identify individual cells and is a combination of the column letter and the row number it resides in.
To write a cell reference, start with a column letter and end with a row number, such as A14 or BB329. In the image above, the word Households is in cell F1 and the selected cell is G7.
Cell references are used in formulas to refer to other cells. For example, instead of entering the number $360 into the formula in cell D1, enter the reference to cell G5. When using a cell reference, if the data in cell G5 changes, the formula in cell D1 also changes.
Cells can be formatted
By default, all cells in a worksheet use the same formatting, but this makes it difficult to read large worksheets that contain a lot of data. Formatting a worksheet draws attention to certain sections and makes the data easier to read and understand.
Formatting a cell involves making changes to the cell, such as changing the background color, adding borders, or aligning the data in the cell. Number formatting, on the other hand, has to do with the way numbers are displayed in cells, such as to display a currency or a percentage.
Displayed and saved tracks
When both Excel and Google Sheets use number formats, the number displayed in a cell may differ from the number stored in the cell and used in calculations.
When formatting changes are made to numbers in a cell, those changes affect the appearance of the number, not the number itself.
For example, if the number 5.6789 in a cell is formatted to display only two digits after the decimal point (the two digits to the right of the decimal point), the cell displays the number as 5.68 because the third digit is rounded.
Calculations and formatted numbers
When using formatted data cells in calculations, all calculations use the whole number, in this case 5.6899, instead of the rounded number displayed in the cell.
How to add more cells to a sheet
The worksheet has an unlimited number of cells, so you don’t need to add more to the worksheet. But you can add data to a spreadsheet by adding a cell or a group of cells between other cells.
To add a cell to a sheet:
Right-click or press and hold the cell where you want to add the cell.
Select in Google Sheets paste cells and then select shift to the right or Shift down † This moves each cell one space in that direction and inserts a blank cell in the selected area.
Select in Excel Insert and then select Shift cells to the right † Move cells down † whole line or Whole column † Select Okay to insert a cell.
If you select more than one cell, the program will insert as many cells into the sheet. For example, select one cell to insert only one cell, or select five cells to add five cells in that location.
Cells are moved and empty cells are inserted.
Delete cells and cell contents
Individual cells and their contents can be deleted from the worksheet. When this happens, the cells and their data are moved below or to the right of the deleted cell to fill the gap.
Select one or more cells to delete.
Right click on the selected cells and select remove †
Select in Excel Shift cells to the left or Slide cells up and then select Okay .The menu shown here is a way to delete rows and columns.
Select in Google Sheets Shift to the left or upshift †
Cells and related data are deleted.
To delete the contents of one or more cells without deleting the cell, select the cells and click remove †