What is Microsoft Excel and what does it do?

  1. This versatile program helps you understand your data
  2. What is Excel used for?
  3. Spreadsheet cells and cell links
  4. Data types, formulas and functions
  5. Excel and financial data
  6. Excel uses others
  7. Alternatives to Excel

This versatile program helps you understand your data

Excel is a spreadsheet program used to store, organize, and manage data.

The information we have prepared applies to Microsoft Excel in general and is not limited to any particular version of the program.

What is Excel used for?

Spreadsheet programs were originally based on paper spreadsheets used for accounting. So the basic layout of automated spreadsheets is the same as that of paper spreadsheets. Related data is stored in tables a collection of small rectangular boxes or cells organized in rows and columns.

All versions of Excel and other spreadsheet programs can store multiple spreadsheet pages in a single computer file. A saved computer file is often referred to as a workbook, and each page of the workbook is a separate worksheet.

Spreadsheet cells and cell links

When you look at an Excel screen — or any other spreadsheet screen — you see a rectangular table or grid of rows and columns.

In newer versions of Excel, each worksheet has about a million rows and more than 16,000 columns, requiring an addressing scheme to keep track of where the data is.

The horizontal rows are numbered (1, 2, 3) and the vertical columns are numbered alphabetically (A, B, C). For columns larger than 26, the columns are indicated by two or more letters, such as AA, AB, AC or AAA, AAB, etc.

The intersection between a column and a row is a small rectangular box known as cell . A cell is the basic unit for storing data in a sheet, and because each sheet contains millions of these cells, each cell is identified by a cell reference.

A cell reference is a combination of a column letter and a row number, such as A3, B6, and AA345. In these cell references, the column letter is always listed first.

Data types, formulas and functions

The types of data a cell can contain:

  • numbers

  • Text

  • Dates and times

  • Boolean Values

  • formulas

Formulas are used for calculations – usually contain data in other cells. However, these cells can be on different sheets or in different workbooks.

Creating a formula starts by entering an equal sign in the cell where you want the answer to appear. Formulas can also contain cell references for data location and one or more spreadsheet functions.

Functions in Excel and other spreadsheets are built-in formulas designed to make it easy to perform a wide variety of calculations, from simple operations such as entering a date or time to more complex ones such as searching for specific information in large data tables . ,

Excel and financial data

Spreadsheets are often used to store financial data. Formulas and functions used for this type of data include:

  • Perform basic math operations, such as adding columns or rows of numbers

  • Finding values ​​such as profit or loss

  • Calculation of loan or mortgage repayment plans

  • Find the average, maximum, minimum and other statistical values ​​in the specified data range

  • Perform analysis What if for data where variables change one at a time to see how the change affects other data, such as costs and profit

Excel uses others

Other common operations that Excel can be used for:

  • Graph or graph of data to help users identify data trends

  • Format data to make it easier to find and understand important data.

  • Print data and charts for use in reports

  • Sort and filter data to find specific information

  • Link sheet and chart data for use in other programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Word

  • Import data from database programs for analysis

Spreadsheets were the original “killer applications” for personal computers because of their ability to collect and understand information. Early spreadsheet programs such as VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3 were largely responsible for the rising popularity of computers such as the Apple II and IBM PC as business tools.

Alternatives to Excel

Other modern spreadsheet programs available for use include:

  • Google Sheets: Free Web-Based Spreadsheet Program

  • Excel Online: A free, smaller version of Excel for the web.

  • Open Office Calc: a free downloadable spreadsheet program.

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