Basic Knowledge of Microsoft Excel

The truth is, before you go for a job interview, you should have basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel.

From an accountant to a receptionist, human resource to administration department all are using Microsoft Excel.

It is not limited only to large companies, small entrepreneurs and college students are using it for their day to day work.

So, that is something which you can’t skip.

To get a job, learning basic Excel is must in this present time, that’s a firm truth.


In plain English, Excel is a spreadsheet program in which you can enter numbers, text, dates, create charts, analyze data and much more.

It is widely used around the world from last 30 years.

Throughout the years, it has been upgraded with more and more features to help the users.

Window's Components

Before you start using it, it’s really important to understand that what’s where in its window.

So ahead, I have mentioned all the major component which need to know before entering the world of Microsoft Excel.

Learn Excel Basics

1. Cell

A cell is a smallest but most powerful part of a spreadsheet.

These small rectangular bricks are the creator of all the things in Excel, from a small table to large data.

You can enter your data into a cell either by typing or by copy-paste. Data can be a text, a number, or a date. You can also customize it by changing its size, font color, background color, borders, etc.

Every cell is identified by its cell address, cell address contains its column number and row number (If a cell is on 11th row and on column AB, then its address will be AB11).

You have total 171.79 billion (16384 x 1048576) cell in a single worksheet (You need 5 to 10 lives to type your name in every cell).

2. Active Cell

A cell on which is currently selected.

It will be highlighted by a rectangular box and its address will show in the address bar. You can activate a cell by clicking on it or by using your arrow buttons.

To edit a cell, you double-click on it or use F2 to as well.

3. Column

A column is a horizontal set of cells.

A single column contains 1048576 cells in it and a single worksheet contains 16384 total columns.

Every column has its own alphabet for identity, starting from A to XFD. You can select a column clicking on its header.

The column in which active cell is located called active column.

4. Row

A row is a vertical set of cells.

A row contains 16384 cells in it and a single worksheet contains 1048576 total rows. Every row has its own number for identity, starting from 1 to 1048576.

You can select a row clicking on the row number marked on the left side of the window. The row in which active cell is located is an active row.

5. Fill Handle

It is a small dot present on the lower right corner of the active cell. It will help you to fill numeric values, text series., insert ranges, insert serial numbers, etc.

6. Address Bar

The Address bar is the small input bar at the left side of the window. It shows the address of the active cell.

If you have selected more than one cell, then it will show the address of the first cell in the range.

7. Formula Bar

Formula bar is an input bar, below the ribbon. It shows the content of the active cell and you can also use it enter a formula in a cell.

8. Title Bar

The title bar will show the name of your workbook, followed by the application name (“Microsoft Excel”).

If you have saved your workbook then it will show the name specified by you, else it will show the default name of the workbook (Book1 or New Microsoft Excel Worksheet).

8. File Menu

The file menu is a simple menu as like all other applications. It contains options like (Save, Save As, Open, New, Print, Excel Options, Share, etc).

9. Quick Access Toolbar

A toolbar to quickly access the options which you frequently use. You can add your favorite options by adding new options to quick access toolbar.

Go to File Menu -> Options ->Quick Access Toolbar.

10. Ribbon Tab

Starting from the Microsoft Excel 2007, all the options menus are replaced with the ribbons. Ribbon tabs are the bunch of specific option group which further contains option.

For example, if you want to add charts or a word-art, you will find them under the Insert Tab.

11. Ribbon Group

Ribbon groups are the bunch of options.

All the options which are related to the same category, are clubbed into a single group.

For example, you will file all the charts related option in the chat group. It is very easy to locate all the options using group system.

12. Ribbon Option

Most of the options which are provided by Microsoft Excel are grouped in Ribbon tabs and Ribbon Groups.

But there are some options which are not listed in the ribbon. you can pull up them from, File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon -> Choose Commands From -> Commands Not In Ribbon.

13. Worksheet Tab

This tab shows the all the worksheets which are present in the workbook.

By default you will see, three worksheets in your new workbook with a name of Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3 respectively.

14. Status Bar

It is a thin bar at the bottom of the excel window. It will give you an instant help once you start your working in excel.

For example, if you select any filled range it will show you sum, average, count, minimum value, maximum value, page view option, zoom control, etc.

15. Vertical Scroll Bar

You can use the vertical scroll bar to scroll in the vertical direction (left to right or vice versa). It will route through columns. You can also use left & right directional arrows for vertical navigation.

16. Horizontal Scroll Bar

You can use the horizontal scroll bar to scroll in the horizontal direction (top to bottom or vice versa). It will route through the rows.

You can also use up & down directional arrows for horizontal navigation.

17. Close Button

You can use close button to close your excel window.

If you have more than one open workbook, then you have to click it one by one to close all the workbooks. Or, you can use the shortcut key CTRL + W to close all the workbooks together.

If any of your workbooks is not saved or you have made any changes to your workbook which are not saved, excel will show a pop up a window for asking you to save them before closing.

18. Maximize Button

You can maximize your excel window using Maximize Button. And, You can also do this by double-click on the title bar.

19. Minimize Button

You can minimize your excel window to the window task bar using Minimize Button.

20. Help

You can take help from Excel itself. It offers you both online and offline help.

Basic Excel Functions

Functions are one of the most important features of Excel. It helps you to perform the basic calculations as well complex.

Below I have listed 10 basic Excel function which you need to learn.

Basic Excel Tips

  1. Add Serial Numbers in Excel
  2. Bullet Points in Excel
  3. Double Click Mouse Tricks
  4. Keyboard Shortcuts
  5. Custom Date Formats
  6. Apply Strikethrough in Excel
  7. Convert Formula to Value in Excel
  8. Fill Justify in Excel
  9. Generate Barcode in Excel
  10. Select Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel
  11. Undo & Redo Buttons in Excel
  12. Format Painter in Excel
  13. Different Formatting in a Cell in Excel
  14. Check Mark in Excel
  15. Insert Timestamp in Excel
  16. Sort Horizontally in Excel

Recommended Excel Books

Excel 2016 for Dummies

This book covers everything you need to know to perform the task at hand.

Includes information on creating and editing worksheets, formatting cells, entering formulas, creating and editing charts, inserting graphs, designing database forms, adding database records, using seek-and-find options, printing, adding hyperlinks to worksheets, saving worksheets as web pages, adding existing worksheet data to an existing webpage and sending worksheets via e-mail.

Microsoft Excel 2016 Bible

Whether you are just starting out or an Excel novice, the Excel 2016 Bible is your comprehensive, go-to guide for all your Excel 2016 needs.

Whether you use Excel at work or at home, you will be guided through the powerful new features and capabilities by expert author and Excel Guru John Walkenbach to take full advantage of what the updated version offers.

Learn to incorporate templates, implement formulas, create pivot tables, analyze data and much more.

  • Thanks for sharing this informative post. It is very useful the beginners, who are new to excel.