An Introduction to Microsoft Excel | Basics Knowledge + Components + Examples

An Introduction to Microsoft Excel | Basics Knowledge + Components + Examples2016-01-01T14:31:36+00:00

The truth is:

Before you go for a job interview, you must 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 only limited to the large companies, small entrepreneurs and college students are using it for their day to day work.

That’s something which you can’t skip.

To get a job, learning basic Excel tasks (at least some) is must in today’s era, that’s a firm truth and to help you in this I have compiled this guide.

This guide will help you to learn all those basics using some examples and some of the most important beginner’s tutorials.

…so without further ado let’s get down to the business.


There are numbers of spreadsheet programs but from all of them, Excel is most widely used.

People have been using it for last 30 years and throughout these years, it has been upgraded with more and more features.

The best part about Excel is, it can apply to many business tasks, including statistics, finance, data management, forecasting, analysis, inventory, billing, and business intelligence.

Following are the few things which it can do for you.

  • Number Crunching
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Store and Import Data
  • Manipulating Text
  • Templates/Dashboards
  • Automation of Tasks
  • And Much More…

Three most important components of Excel is which you need to understand first:

1. Workbook

A workbook is a separate file just like every other application has.

Each workbook contains one or more worksheets. You can also say that a workbook is a collection of multiple worksheets or can be a single worksheet.

You can add or delete worksheets, hide them within the workbook without deleting them, and change the order of your worksheets within the workbook.

2. Worksheet

A worksheet is made up of individual cells which can contain a value, a formula, or text.

It also has an invisible draw layer, which holds charts, images, and diagrams. Each worksheet in a workbook is accessible by clicking the tab at the bottom of the workbook window.

In addition, a workbook can store chart sheets; a chart sheet displays a single chart and is accessible by clicking a tab.

3. Cell

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

Window Components

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

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

excel basic with window components

#1. Active Cell

A cell which is currently selected. It will be highlighted by a rectangular box and its address will be shown 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.

#2. Column

A column is a vertical set of cells. A single worksheet contains 16384 total columns.

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

#3. Row

A row is a horizontal set of cells. 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.

#4. Fill Handle

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

#5. 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.

#6. 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.

#7. Title Bar

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

#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.

#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.

#11. 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.

#12. 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.

Basic 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 functions which you need to learn.

  1. SUM: It returns the sum of numeric values in a cell. You can refer to the cells where you have values or simply insert the values into the function […]
  2. COUNT: It returns the count of numeric values in a cell. You can refer to the cells where you have values or simply insert the values into the function […]
  3. AVERAGE: It returns the average of numeric values in a cell. You can refer to the cells where you have values or simply insert the values into the function […]
  4. TIME: It returns a valid time serial number as per Excel’s time format. You need to specify hours, minutes and seconds […]
  5. DATE: It returns a valid date serial number as per Excel’s time format. You need to specify day, month and year […]
  6. LEFT: This function extracts specific characters from the a cell/string starting from the left (start). You need to specify the text and number of characters to extract from it […]
  7. RIGHT: This function extracts specific characters from the a cell/string starting from the right (last). You need to specify the text and number of characters to extract from it […]
  8. VLOOKUP: It looks up for a value in a column and can return that value or a value from the correspondent columns using same row number […]
  9. IF: This function returns a value when the specific condition is TRUE and returns another values it condition is FALSE […]
  10. NOW: It returns the current date and time in the cell where you insert it using your system’s settings […]

Basic Tips

  1. Add Serial Numbers in Excel: These methods can generate numbers up to a specific number or can add a running column of numbers […]
  2. Bullet Points in Excel: Unlike Word, in Excel, there is no default option to insert bullet points. But there are total […]
  3. Strikethrough in Excel: When it comes to Excel, we don’t have any direct option to apply strikethrough to a cell. No button or an option […]
  4. Formula to Value: All the methods which I’ve shared here are different in nature and you can use them according to […]
  5. Fill Justify in Excel: The single core motive to use fill justify in excel is to merge the data from multiple cells into a single cell […]
  6. Generate Barcode in Excel: But here is the good news: You can generate a bar-code in Excel by installing a font […]
  7. Select Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel: Normally, when you need to select multiple cells which are not continuing, you press […]
  8. Format Painter: Format Painter is a simple and effective tool to apply formatting from one cell to another cell. For Example […]
  9. Check Mark in Excel: Eventually today morning, I thought maybe there is more than one way to add a check mark […]
  10. Insert Timestamp in Excel: And, quickly I realized that she was talking about a timestamp. I’m sure you also use it while working in Excel […]
  11. Sort Horizontally in Excel: Have you ever wondered that you can horizontally sort data in Excel? I mean, you can sort […]

Recommended Books

Below are my two favorite Excel books for beginner’s which every person which is starting out with Excel should read.

#1. 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 […]

get this book from here

#2. 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 […]

get this book from here

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  1. kidist 16 Dec, 18 at 4:45 pm - Reply


  2. Ajay Sharma 28 Nov, 18 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Sir Ms Excel Ka Hindi and English language me pdf note kaise milega

  3. KRISHNA 24 Nov, 18 at 8:59 am - Reply


  4. shivam 22 Nov, 18 at 4:12 am - Reply

    This is very helpful main points for ms excel .

  5. Amit gupta 8 Nov, 18 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Thanks for this..
    This is very helpful .

  6. sonia 10 Oct, 18 at 6:41 am - Reply

    thx good notes

  7. meenu 21 Sep, 18 at 6:47 am - Reply


  8. lakshmi 11 Sep, 18 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    thank you so much

  9. Prabakaran P 16 Aug, 18 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your clear explanation about excel and its functions

  10. Uche Nwankwo 19 Dec, 17 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Hi, I believe the column is vertical while the row is horizontal

    • Puneet Gogia 20 Dec, 17 at 6:30 am - Reply

      Thanks a lot.

  11. Edwine Mokaya 5 Dec, 17 at 10:49 am - Reply

    thanks a bunch

    • Puneet Gogia 20 Dec, 17 at 6:29 am - Reply

      You’re welcome.

  12. vikrant m 26 Sep, 17 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Hi…isnt that the column is vertical set and rows are horizontal…

    • Puneet Gogia 20 Dec, 17 at 6:30 am - Reply

      Thanks for the correction.

  13. Morris Edwards 11 Apr, 17 at 9:04 am - Reply

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

    • Puneet Gogia 20 Dec, 17 at 6:29 am - Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂

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