Microsoft Excel is an indispensable program in many industries, such as accounting, marketing, healthcare or even science and research. In today's article, we'll walk you step-by-step through the installation process and basic Excel setup so you can start making the most of this tool right away.
Need to get to grips with large amounts of data? Do you want to sort, filter, add or insert data into spreadsheets? Excel can do all of the above, but in addition to these options, you can also use various functions in Excel or create charts and contingency tables. But in this introductory episode, we'll only cover the basics of Excel, so you'll learn more about contingency tables in the sequel.
Downloading and installing Microsoft Excel depends on what operating system you are using. Let's take a look at the two most widely used platforms, which are Windows and macOS.
The procedure is similar to the Windows installation:
You can also install Microsoft Excel on your mobile device.
You can set up Excel to best suit your needs. So what should you set up first when you open your workbook?
The first thing you see when you open Excel is the workbook. So you can first choose if you want to work with a blank workbook or if you want to use one of the predefined templates. You'll only see five of these, so if you don't choose one, click Show other templates.
Right on the home page, under the Home tab, in the section called Number, you can set which data and number formats you want to work with. Select a cell or range of cells, click on the arrow to list the possible number formats, and select the appropriate format, such as time, currency, or text. In addition, you can specify data formats such as percentages or decimals. This menu can be found directly under number formats.
If you are working with large data or want to see the heading of a section, use the Anchor Partitions option to lock rows and columns. How to do it? Highlight the first row of your table and select the Anchor Top Row option on the View tab in the section called Window. This will ensure that the headings remain visible even when scrolling.
Do the same for columns. Simply select the corresponding cells and choose Anchor First Column in the View tab.
Use the Format as Table option to filter and sort your data in a table. This will make it easier to work with mathematical operations such as SUM for sum, AVERAGE for average, or IF for conditional calculations. You'll find the Format as Table option on the Home tab in the section called Styles - you'll be interested in the icon in the middle. Click on it and select the table of your preference.
You can also protect your data and sheets from unwanted changes. In the Revisions tab, click on Manage Protection. The protection settings will appear in the right-hand bar, where you can also choose a password.
Autosave is available if the file is stored in Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint in Microsoft 365. You can set up autosave in the File tab, where you click Save As. Select your personal, work, or school OneDrive account, select your subfolder, and select Save.
And that's it from the intro. In the next installment, you'll learn about the most important functions and formulas, conditional formatting, or how to work with data and charts. Until the next installment is published, you can pass the time with an article on how to use Microsoft Outlook or PowerPoint.