Microsoft Excel Introduction, Installation & Basic Menu Options

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft Corporation for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and iOS. Microsoft Excel can perform all the numerical and logical calculations and is often considered as mathematician of the computer. Microsoft Excel is used to prepare tabular format of information. It is nothing but rows and columns wise information. By default Microsoft Excel has sheets and they are called as spreadsheets because if we enter any data into the cells the cells have its own format. Collection of spreadsheets is called as workbook. Microsoft Excel is the most widely used spreadsheet application. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for applications. Now there are different Microsoft Excel versions available and widely in use which are Microsoft Excel 2003, Microsoft Excel 2007 and Microsoft Excel 2010. The extension name or secondary name for an Excel 2003 document is .xls whereas for Excel 2007, 2010 and later versions .xlsx is the extension. Microsoft Excel forms a part of Microsoft Office package. The latest versions are Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac.

Microsoft Excel Row or Record:

A single object or single person different data is called row or record. Rows are identified by numbers in a worksheet and are numbered from top to bottom along the left column of the worksheet. There are 65536 rows displayed in a single worksheet.

Microsoft Excel Column or Field:

Different objects or persons single information is called column or field. The columns are labeled from left to right and are identified by alphabets. There are 256 columns in a single worksheet. Here are some made simple keyboard shortcuts to navigate between rows and columns:

  • Ctrl + → go to last column.
  • Ctrl + ← go to starting column A.
  • Ctrl + ↓ go to last row.
  • Ctrl + ↑ go to starting row.

Microsoft Excel Cell:

The combination of row and column or the inter-junction between row and column is called cell. A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. Cell is identified by the cell reference. For example the first cell is referred to as A1 (column A, row 1). Similarly, F3 is the intersection of column F and row 3. Data and formulas are entered into the cells.

Inserting Cells, Rows and Columns in Microsoft Excel

The steps to insert cells, rows and columns are:

  1. Select the cells, rows or columns where you need to insert new cells, rows or columns.
  2. Select the cells options from the insert menu and the insert dialog box is opened.
  3. Select the appropriate option to insert cell, row or column.
  4. Click on the OK button.

To insert rows or columns, you can also select relevant options from the insert menu.

Deleting Cells, Rows and Columns in Microsoft Excel

The steps to delete a cell or a group of cells:

  1. >Select the cell. If you want to remove more than one cell, select all the cells by dragging the mouse across the cells while holding down the left mouse button.
  2. Select the delete option form the EDIT menu and the delete cells dialog box is displayed. You can select the direction in which the adjoining cells should be moved when the selected cells are deleted. If you select the ‘shift cells left’ option, the cells to the right of the deleted cells are moved left. Selecting ‘shift cells up’ options moves the cells below the deleted cells up. You can also select the entire row or column option to delete the rows and columns
  3. Select the appropriate option and click on the OK button to delete the cells.

Navigating the Worksheet in Microsoft Excel

You need to move to any cell directly without scrolling through the entire sheet. You can do this in three ways:

  1. Click on the ‘cell reference area’ on the left corner of the worksheet window and enter the cell coordinates. For example, to move to the cell AB1, enter AB1 in the cell reference area. The cursor is positioned on the cell in the AB column and 1st row.
  2. Press F5 to invite the Go To dialog box. Enter the cell coordinates and click on the OK button to move to the desired cell.
  3. Select the Find option from the EDIT menu and the Find dialog box is displayed which helps to move to a cell containing the specified value.

Naming Worksheet in Microsoft Excel:

One of the features in Excel that you might need to use while linking cells and worksheets is the facility to name a worksheet. When a Workbook is created, the sheets are named Sheet1, Sheet2 and so on. You can change the names of the sheets to assign more meaningful names that indicate the contents of the worksheet. The steps to rename a sheet are:
1. Double-click on the sheet tab you want to rename. A dialog box is displayed.
2. Type the name that you want to assign to the worksheet in the name text box and click OK button.

Menus and Toolbar in Microsoft Excel:

Menus provide access to the various tasks that you can perform with Excel, such as opening and closing a worksheet. Toolbar provides shortcuts for some commonly used menu items. By default, the standard and the formatting toolbar are displayed.

Microsoft Office Excel Installation

Microsoft Excel gets installed automatically with the default installation of Microsoft Office or we can also install it as a single stand alone application choosing Microsoft Office custom installation. To do this, while installing Office using Microsoft Office CD, click on customize when asked for your preferred type of Microsoft Office installation.
Microsoft Office Installation - Please choose your preferred type of Microsoft Office installation.
After you click on customize, you will get the list of programs that are built in the Microsoft Office package.
Microsoft Office Installation Options - Customize Microsoft Office programs
If you want to install Microsoft Excel alone just select Excel and right-click to click ‘Run from My Computer’ or select each and every other program in the list and select not available except Excel and click on Install Now.

Microsoft Excel Menu Options Overview


  • Save Workspace: This option is used to save the work area only and it occupies little bit of memory. The extension name or secondary name is .xlw
  • Page Setup: This option is used to set orientation, scaling, paper size, paper quality, margins, header/footer, print titles, page order and so on.
    Page Setup
  • Print Area: This option is used to set the selected data as print area. To clear the print area, select clear print area from print area.


  • Paste Special: This option is used to paste copied data specially. It pastes formats, formulas, comments, validation, values, all except borders etc.
    Paste Special
  • Fill: This option is used to fill present cell with upper cell value or down cell value or right side value or left side value.
  • Clear: This option is used to clear contents or comments or formats or all.
  • Delete Sheet: This option is used to delete a sheet or active sheet permanently.
  • Move or Copy Sheet: This option is used to move the active sheet from one place to another place. To move present work sheet we can create a copy by selecting the create copy.


  • Normal: It is the default view of MS Excel.
  • Page Break Preview: When this option is selected, it inserts ‘Blue colored dotted lines’ around the prepared text and by adjusting the dotted lines we can set the pages.
  • Custom Views:his option is used to move from one view to another view easily.


  • Chart: This is graphical representation of our data. Microsoft Excel provides different chart types and sub types.
    Chart Wizard - Chart Type
  • Page Break: This option is used to insert a page break at the insertion part.


  • Cells (Ctrl + 1): This option is used to apply formats to the range of cells. The formats are Number, Alignment, Font, Border, Pattern and Protection.
    Format Cells
  • Conditional Formatting:
    Conditional Formatting - Condition 1

    This option is used to apply formats based on condition.


  • Goal Seek: This option is used to adjust a cell value to a specific value. This option works on dependent values that means that cell must have a formula. Here we specify set cell, to value, by changing cell.
    Goal Seek
  • Scenarios: This option is used to change more than one cells at a time. Each scenario has a name.


  • Filter – Auto Filter: When this option is selected it inserts a drop down button or drill down button at each field name. It is used to collect the required information quickly.

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