Getting Started with ExcelIntroduction Video: Getting to Know Excel
Excel 2013 is a spreadsheet program that allows you to
store, organize, and analyzeinformation. While you may believe Excel is only used by certain people to process complicated data, anyone can learn how to take advantage of the program's
powerfulfeatures. Whether you're keeping a budget, organizing a training log, or creating an invoice, Excel makes it easy to work with different types of data.
Getting to know Excel 2013
Excel 2013 is similar to Excel 2010. If you've previously used Excel 2010, Excel 2013 should feel familiar. If you are new to Excel or have more experience with older versions, you should first take some time to become familiar with the
Excel 2013 interface.
The Excel interface
When you open Excel 2013 for the first time, the Excel Start Screen will appear. From here, you'll be able to create a
new workbook, choose a template, and access your
From the Excel Start Screen, locate and select Blank workbook
to access the Excel interface.
The Excel Start Screen
Click the buttons in the interactive below to become familiar with the Excel 2013 interface.
group contains a series of different
commands. Simply click any command to apply it. Some groups also have an
arrow in the bottom-right corner, which you can click to see even more commands.
Ribbon contains all the commands you will need to perform common tasks in Excel. It has multiple
tabs, each with several groups of commands.
From here, you can access your
Microsoft account information, view your
profile, and switchaccounts.
formula bar, you can enter or edit
formula, or a
function that will appear in a specific cell.
In the image below, cell C1 is selected and 1984 is entered into the formula bar. Note how the data appears in both the formula bar and in cell C1.
Quick Access Toolbar
Quick Access Toolbar lets you access common
commands no matter which tab is selected.
By default, it includes the
Save, Undo, and
Redo commands. You can add other commands depending on your preference.
row is a group of cells that runs from the left of the page to the right. In Excel, rows are identified by
numbers. Row 10 is selected in the image below.
column is a group of cells that runs from the top of the page to the bottom. In Excel, columns are identified by
letters. Column H is selected in the image below.
Name box displays the location, or "name" of a
In the image below, cell B4 is selected. Note that cell B4 is where column B and row 4 intersect.
Vertical and Horizontal Scroll Bars
Your spreadsheet may frequently have more data than you can see on the screen at once. Click, hold and drag the
vertical or horizontal scroll bar depending on what part of the page you want to see.
Click and drag the
slider to use the Zoom control. The number to the right of the slider reflects the
Worksheet View Options
There are three ways to view a worksheet. Simply click to select the desired view:
Normal view is selected by default, and shows you an unlimited number of cells and columns.
Page Layoutview divides your spreadsheet into pages.
Page Break view lets you see an overview of your worksheet, which is especially helpful when adding page breaks.
Excel files are called
workbooks. Each workbook holds one or more
worksheets (also known as "spreadsheets").
One worksheet will appear by default when you open an Excel workbook. It's easy to
rename, add and
Each rectangle in a workbook is called a
A cell is the
intersection of a row and a column.
Simply click to
select a cell. Cell B3
is selected in this example.
Working with the Excel environment
If you've previously used Excel 2010 or 2007, Excel 2013 will feel familiar. It continues to use features like the
Ribbon and Quick Access toolbar, where you will find commands to perform common tasks in Excel, as well as
Excel 2013 uses a tabbed Ribbon system instead of traditional menus.
The Ribbon contains multiple tabs, each with several
groupsof commands. You will use these tabs to perform the most
common tasks in Excel.
Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about the different commands available within each tab on the Ribbon.
Home tab gives you access to some of the most commonly used commands for working with data in Excel 2013, including
copying and pasting, formatting, and
numberstyles. The Home tab is selected by default whenever you open Excel.
Insert tab allows you to insert charts,
filters, and more, which can help you
visualize and communicate your workbook data
Page Layout tab allows you to change the
printformatting of your workbook, including
marginwidth, pageorientation, and themes. These commands will be especially helpful when preparing to print a workbook.
Formulas tab gives you access to the most commonly used
functions and formulas in Excel. These commands will help you
calculate and analyzenumericaldata, such as averages and percentages.
Data tab makes it easy to sort and
filter information in your workbook, which can be especially helpful if your project contains a
largeamount of data.
You can use the
Review tab to access Excel's powerful
comments and track
changes. These features make it easy to share and
collaborate on workbooks.
View tab allows you to switch between different
views for your workbook and freezepanes for easy viewing. These commands will also be helpful when preparing to print a workbook.
Contextual tabs will appear on the Ribbon when working with certain items, like
tables and pictures. These tabs contain special command groups that can help you format these items as needed.
Certain programs, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, may install additional tabs to the Ribbon. These tabs are called
To minimize and maximize the Ribbon:
The Ribbon is designed to respond to your current task, but you can choose to
minimize it if you find that it takes up too much screen space.
Click the Ribbon Display Options arrow in the upper-right corner of the Ribbon.
Ribbon Display options
Select the desired minimizing option from the drop-down menu:
Auto-hide Ribbon: Auto-hide displays your workbook in full-screen mode and completely hides the Ribbon. To
show the Ribbon, click the Expand Ribbon command at the top of screen.
Auto-hiding the Ribbon
Show Tabs: This option hides all command groups when they're not in use, but
tabs will remain visible. To show the Ribbon, simply click a tab.
Showing only Ribbon tabs
Show Tabs and Commands: This option maximizes the Ribbon. All of the tabs and commands will be visible. This option is selected by default when you open Excel for the first time.
To learn how to use the Ribbon with touch-screen devices, review our Extra on
Enabling Touch Mode.
The Quick Access toolbar
Located just above the Ribbon, the Quick Access toolbar lets you access common commands no matter which tab is selected. By default, it includes the
Save, Undo, and Repeat commands. You can add other commands depending on your preference.
To add commands to the Quick Access toolbar:
Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the
Quick Access toolbar.
Select the command you want to add from the drop-down menu. To choose from more commands, select
Adding a command to the Quick Access toolbar
The command will be added to the Quick Access toolbar.
The added command
Backstage view gives you various options for saving, opening a file, printing, and sharing your workbooks.
To access Backstage view:
Click the File tab on the Ribbon.
Backstage view will appear.
Clicking the File tab
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using Backstage view.
pane will appear whenever you access Backstage view.
information about the current workbook. You can also
inspect the workbook and set protection controls.
From here, you can create a
new, blank workbook, or choose from a large selection of
From here, you can
open recent workbooks, as well as workbooks saved to your
OneDrive or on your computer.
Save and Save As
Save and Save As to save your workbook to your
computer or to your OneDrive.
Print pane, you can change the
print settings and print your workbook. You can also see a
preview of your workbook.
From here, you can invite people to view and collaborate on your workbook. You can also share your workbook by emailing it as an attachment.
You can choose to
export your workbook in another format, such as
Click here to
close the current workbook.
Account pane, you can access your
Microsoft account information, modify your
theme and background, and
sign out of your account.
Here you can change various
Excel options. For example, you can control the
Quick Analysis preferences,
AutoRecover settings, or
Return to Excel
You can use the arrow to
closeBackstage view and return to Excel.
Excel 2013 has a variety of viewing options that change how your workbook is displayed. You can choose to view any workbook in
Normal view, Page Layout view, or Page Break view. These views can be useful for various tasks, especially if you're planning to
print the spreadsheet.
To change worksheet views, locate and select the desired
worksheet view command in the bottom-right corner of the Excel window.
Worksheet view options
Click the arrows in the slideshow below to review the different worksheet view options.
Normal view: This is the default view for all worksheets in Excel.
Page Layout view: This view can help you visualize how your worksheet will appear when printed. You can also add headers and footers from this view.
Page Break view: This view makes it easy to change the location of page breaks in your workbook, which is especially helpful when printing a lot of data from Excel.
Open Excel 2013.
Click through all of the tabs, and review the
commands on the Ribbon.
Try minimizing and maximizing the
Add a command to the Quick Access toolbar.
Navigate to Backstageview, and open your
Try switching worksheet views.
Close Excel (you do not have to save the workbook).