Microsoft Excel has grown to be the constant companion of almost any student and professional when it comes to record keeping and bookkeeping. Its constant improvements have allowed almost anyone to learn Excel, even online via websites. In fact, some users have found best ways to use Excel and shared them online for everyone else to see. Interestingly, using these best ways to use and learn Excel online can make using the tool a convenience for anyone, given Microsoft Excel now has an online feature as well.
Quick Recap on Excel
Let’s do a quick recap so we can be sure we’re on the same page. Microsoft Excel is Microsoft’s iteration of a spreadsheet program that can analyze and record various kinds of data, especially numeric data. Its precise purpose as an easy-access working spreadsheet for your data allows it to have a wide myriad of functions you could use.
- We all have to deal with a lot of numbers at some point. These can be expenses or statistics we need for a wide variety of things.
- Excel works best when we have to record, store and analyze various kinds of data.
- Understanding these functions will allow us to better understand how useful Excel could get when we finally tackle its online features.
- That’s right, Excel actually has an online option. This allows you and your friends or workmates to collaborate on various forms of calculations all at the same time. Not only is this convenient as you can do your calculations from a distance, you can also save time and energy.
Of course, Excel’s online features make sure they carry over the original features of the software. Here are some of the best ways to use Excel online.
Master the Ribbon
Any Microsoft Office 2010 program will almost have the exact same screen when you open the application. The case is the same with Excel 2010 and beyond, as it almost certainly shows the basic layout of any spreadsheet. Interestingly, the things to look for are at the top-most section of the document. This is called the Ribbon, and this is where all the essentials are located.
- Remember that the Ribbon contains various “tabs,” including Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, Developer, Macros, and Acrobat. Understanding what each tool does is important to let your life become easier.
- The Ribbon icons also contain relevant information you can use to get a hang of what each of them contains. Always take your time to tour around them to know which one to click when searching for something.
- Meanwhile, clicking File will open the Backstage. This is the place to go if you want to save, share, and print your work.
Fix And Customize Tabs
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the Ribbon, did you know you can actually work your way into customizing it? This is especially useful if there are some parts of your current Ribbon that you don’t want to see, or if you want to add some more tabs in your current setting.
- You can do this by clicking on the Ribbon’s start button. Select the options tab from its drop-down menu.
- You should be able to see a new window called Excel Options. Find the Customize Ribbon setting below, and feel free to customize the panels you need!
- Check or uncheck the parts you want to see in a custom tab. You can even give it a unique name and have other commands for it. You can do this by selecting the Customize the Ribbon setting for any ribbon.
- You can click on the new tab button and you can rename the new tab that appears. You can then add a new set of tabs on it by selecting New Group (Custom) under your new tab.
Conquer the Worksheet
Seeing all the blank cells in your Excel file can be overwhelming, but is the beginning of an amazing journey. This part of Excel is called a worksheet, which is primarily in itself simply a collection of columns and rows you use to tabulate your data. You have to understand how this works before you do any of the complicated stuff.
- Cells are formed when tables and rows meet. These cells are primarily used to contain any form of data, and cells are addressed with a unique address, which is the combination of the row and column name that it’s in.
- Meanwhile, workbooks are clusters of worksheets located inside an Excel file. Think of your workbook as the actual record book you have an as an accountant, with your worksheets as specific sets of things you record things on.
- Worksheets are named “Sheet1” and so on by default, but you have the option to change these. You can double-click the sheet name to rename it.
- You can also right-click a sheet to have you duplicate, copy, or delete these sheets.
There are actually quite a ton of settings you could tinker within Excel that allows you to modify your overall experience to your various preferences. This is extremely useful if you want to modify your workbook in such a way that it is “catered” to you or your company’s specific preference.
- For instance, if you tinker with Formulas under Excel Options, you can actually change the way your formulas work with you. There are ways to change how Excel finishes formulas, or to change the way cells are referenced. You can modify these things to make sure your own standard is used and work is faster.
- You are also allowed to modify how Proofing works via Excel Options. In this case, you can freely manipulate the kind of text that is entered in Excel. For instance, you can modify how spellings are corrected, or how your words are applied in the dictionary. You can even change the language options and how they work!
- Perhaps another important factor is changing Save settings, as this allows you to be able to change the file format for files and even enable or disable auto recovery. These options are extremely helpful to allow you to adjust the kind of settings of hate for your file’s integrity.
- As for all settings, activation and deactivation are extremely easy. You just have to click on the boxes for options you turn on, and unclick options you want to turn off.
Basics Always Work
When you’ve gotten the hang of modifying your settings for Excel, it’s time for you to master the art of basic formulas. This will be your bridge towards more complex formulas that will hopefully allow you to become the Excel master in your office. Kidding aside, formulas are made to work quite easily with Excel. You just have to remember the following:
- You most likely have kept in touch with your basic math. Excel follows the same principles. Addition is signified by +, Subtraction with -, Division by /, and Multiplication by *. Don’t forget these.
- Formulas in Excel always begin with =. This lets the program know that whatever follows = is the beginning of a formula it has to execute.
- You have to place cell names in between an operator after the = declaration. This means “=D2+C2” will show the value of D2 added by C2 in the cell with this formula.
- This is most likely extremely easy and straight to the point. However, you can discover a ton more formulas by mixing and matching these settings depending on your needs.
Validate Your Data
Interestingly, you can actually use Excel to help you make sure you write the appropriate values in certain cells. This might seem a bit weird, given of course you’d know what to type in Excel. However, there are still circumstances when you might type excess that can jeopardize hours’ worth of work because of a ruined formula.
Data Validation helps make sure you can put limits as to what sort of values to type in certain data sets. They don’t necessarily stop you from typing them, but they do alert you when something’s wrong.
- Open the Data tab first before you attempt this cool trick.
- This is best used when you have to get data for a specific range of cells that has prescribed limits. For instance, you can do this to grade values or prices that have a limit.
- You can then choose the Data Validation button on the Data tab, and click on Data Validation. On the new dialogue box that opens, edit the settings accordingly.
- You can choose what sort of data to allow (such as if they’re natural or whole numbers) for a certain property of your data (such as “in between” ranges). You can also set a minimum or maximum data to allow.
- Next, you can even choose an Error Alert to send you messages should you actually place wrong data.
Filter Your Options
Did you know that Excel actually has a way of filtering your data? This is actually pretty useful when you want numerous kinds of filtering options available to your data sets. This applies to names and values that can be filtered out depending on specific needs. This works best with lists that can have a wide variety of combinations with values that don’t change.
This way, if you don’t have to create multiple lists with the same value but in different combinations. You can just let Excel filter your options for you. You can do this easily:
- First, make sure your columns are properly labeled with the kind of data you want to filter. Select the cells with the column names. Open the Data tab and then select the Filter option.
- You can actually see a wide variety of options in the new Custom AutoFilter tag. You can then modify your filtration options. You can for instance filter names based on what letters or values they begin with.
- For instance, selecting “begins with” and typing “A” would give an option where selecting the filter would only list values that begin with the letter A.
Did you know you can also group and ungroup cells in columns and rows? You actually can, thanks to this handy Excel tool trick. In fact, you can even use these groupings to analyze some data you have entered in the cells. It’s actually quite a remarkable idea that can help you perform basic calculations almost instantly. Do these next:
- Click on the Data tab to make sure it’s easily accessible.
- Let’s highlight all the data you want to group and select Group. Select Rows first.
- You will most likely get an option to expand and collapse buttons to group your cells.
- Next, select the data as a whole. If you’re still on the Data tab, you should see the Subtotal button. Click that option.
- You will then see a new dialogue window that has a wide variety of options.
- Select your preferred options on the “At each change in,” “Use function” and “Add subtotal to.”
- For instance, selecting the “Average” options for “Gender” will allow you to compute the average of the values assigned under Gender.
This is a handy way of generating quick data that you may need especially for analyzing important values of sets. This eliminates the need for you to perform complex calculations that would otherwise be hassling and time-consuming for you.
Mistakes To Avoid
Of course, while you can easily manipulate formulas in Excel, it’s important to remember that you have to be extra careful when handling formulas. This is because a simple mistake can ruin the entire formula and not produce your desired results. Here are some of the things you have to avoid with formulas:
- Remember the following: BODMAS. This means Brackets of Division, Multiplication, Addition, and Subtraction. Meaning, expressions that use various operations will always follow operators in that particular order. Division is solved first before Multiplication, and then Addition and Subtraction.
- Next, always remember that formulas normally work with numbers or numeric data. You can actually tinker with Data Validation to make sure the data you input will be accepted by the cell.
- You also have to remember that you should be working with the appropriate addresses of the cells you’re using. You can also press F2 on your keyboard to make sure the cells are properly highlighted, just so you can be sure that you’re using the appropriate cells for your particular formula.
- If your formula deals with many columns and rows, you can also use the serial numbers for your rows and have a recorded count around the bottom of the sheet. You should always compare your serial number with your record’s total to make sure all rows are included.
Microsoft Excel appears to continue to serve as the constant bookkeeping and record keeping tool of students and professionals alike. Given the high regard given to the program, it’s evident that users ought to find the best ways to learn Excel online, much more now that the spreadsheet program also has an online version. Luckily, you can also refer to the guide above to learn Excel online. If you have other tips for readers, feel free to share them below.
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Raffy Marabut is a copywriter with over 5 years of experience. He has a degree in entrepreneurship but realized that he’s great at attracting clients through words so he chose to work as a copywriter. For him, copywriting is an art and it plays an important role in marketing.