Quick, clean, and to the point

A tour of the Excel interface

When you open a workbook in Excel, you'll be working in a surprisingly dense interface, with a lot of different parts. In this lesson, we'll take a high level run through the Excel interface to get you up to speed with the most important parts.

Let's take a look.

First and foremost is the worksheet. Each Excel workbook can have an unlimited number of worksheets. Worksheets appear as tabs at the bottom of an Excel workbook window.

The worksheet is the main work area in Excel. Worksheets are made up of cells, displayed in a grid created by the intersection of rows and columns. At the bottom and right edges of worksheets, are scroll bars.

When you select one or more cells in a worksheet, the result is referred to as a selection.

In the upper left of the Excel window, you'll find the Quick Access Toolbar, which you can easily customize with the commands most useful to you.

Next is the ribbon. The ribbon is the home for all commands and menus in Excel. It's divided into tabs, and each tab contains a group of related commands. We'll review the ribbon in more detail in an upcoming lesson.

Below the ribbon, at the left, is the name box. The name box displays the current location of the cursor, and can be used to name cells or ranges.

The name box is part of the formula bar. You can use the formula bar to enter and edit information.

At the bottom of the worksheet window is the status bar. The status bar provides useful information updated on a continual basis. At left, you'll see a current status message. The main area of the status bar contains information about the current selection on the worksheet. The information displayed here can be customized extensively.

To the right are view buttons, which allow you to switch to Page Layout View or Page Break Preview. At the far right is the zoom slider, which allows you to zoom in and out.

In addition to the commands in the ribbon, Excel makes many commands available in right-click menus. These menus are context sensitive—so what you see when you right-click, depends on where you are. 

Dave Bruns

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