Why It Matters: Microsoft Excel, part 1

Why learn how to use Microsoft Excel?

Imagine that you have a lot of business data. Perhaps you have names and addresses for a mailing list. Maybe you have inventory data or quarterly sales values. All this information could be kept in a Word document, but Microsoft Office actually has an extremely useful program for organizing, storing, and even manipulating data: Microsoft Excel.

Learning to use Microsoft Excel is one of the most helpful and versatile workplace skills you can acquire, and creating a worksheet in a workbook is the first step. Many of the skills you learned for Microsoft Word can also be applied to Microsoft Excel, such as basic text formatting and file extensions. The file extension for a Microsoft Excel workbook is .xlsx, although pre-2003 versions of Excel might useĀ .xls.

In this module, you will learn the basics of using Excel, focused on rearranging information into tables and changing style elements. Before we begin, here is some key information about Excel to remember before we start using this program.

  1. The entire Excel file is called a workbook. Each individual page of the workbook is called a worksheet. When you are actually working in Excel, the page in which you enter data is a worksheet. We will discuss worksheets in more detail later but just remember, a worksheet is like a page in Word.
  2. Also just like in Word, Excel has a ribbon area at the top of the window with different tabs for different controls.