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


- by Puneet

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 resources to administration departments all are using Microsoft Excel.


It is not only limited to large companies, small entrepreneurs and college students are using it for their day-to-day work. That’s something that you can’t skip.  To get a job, learning basic Excel tasks (at least some) is a must in today’s era, that’s a firm truth.

And, to help you with 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.

Introduction to Microsoft Excel

There is a number of spreadsheet programs but of all of them, Excel is the most widely used. People have been using it for the last 30 years and throughout these years, it has been upgraded with more and more features.

The best part about Excel is, that it can apply to many business tasks, including statistics, finance, data management, forecasting, analysis, tracking 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…

The three most important components of Excel you need to understand first:

What is a Cell in Excel

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 the 11th row and on column AB, then its address will be AB11).

What is a Worksheet in Excel

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.

What is a Workbook in Excel

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.

Microsoft Excel Window Components

Before you start using it, it’s really important to understand what’s where in its window. So ahead we have all the major components which you need to know before entering the world of Microsoft Excel.

excel basic with window components
  1. Active Cell – A cell that 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 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 by 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 by clicking on the row number marked on the left side of the window.
  4. Fill Handle – It’s a small dot present in 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 – 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 – The formula bar is an input bar, below the ribbon. It shows the content of the active cell, and you can also use it to 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 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 the quick access toolbar.
  10. Ribbon – Starting from Microsoft Excel 2007, all the options menus are replaced with ribbons. Ribbon tabs are a bunch of specific option group which further contains the option.
  11. Worksheet Tab – This tab shows all the worksheets which are present in the workbook. By default, you will see, three worksheets in your new workbook with the names Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3 respectively.
  12. Status Bar – It is a thin bar at the bottom of the Excel window. It will give you instant help once you start working in Excel.

Perform Basic Activities (Excel Knowledge Tutorials)

Keyboard Shortcuts for Excel

Excel Functions

Recommended Books

Below are my two favorite Excel books for beginners which every person who 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, and entering formulas […]
  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 […]

From Excel Basics to Advanced with In-Depth Guides and Tutorials

52 thoughts on “An Introduction to Microsoft Excel | Basics Knowledge + Components + Examples”

  1. This website is like a bliss for the candidates who are really keen to learn MS EXCEL and even for beginners who are struggling to understand it . A big thank you to the author.

  2. Thanks for the valuable information regarding Microsoft Execl. found useful from every aspect of features of software.

  3. Just now I have gone through your website and found very prized notes in excel, which are written in a lucid manner and can easily be understandable for everyone. I saved YOUR NOTES. Your patience is really appreciable. Please keep it up. Thanks

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  5. I’m using Office 2019 in my PC. You have recommended in your article “Excel 2016 for Dummies”.

    I would like to know as to whether your recommended book is also suitable for Office 2019.

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  7. How can I link the data in a worksheet with the chart in another worksheet in the same workbook so the when I enter the data the charts appear automatically. It a budget workbook I designed

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  10. Thanks very much for ur valuable info abt excel….it will help the beginners who are trying out a job has a fresher…..

  11. how to find all cells together which are having manual numbers in a spreadsheet with lot of data where formulas are applied at most the places?

  12. Honestly I really appreciate your work , you’re doing great work it,s help me to perform job tasks

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