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Microsoft Excel 2008

Getting Started with Excel

Microsoft Excel combines the column-row layout of traditional paper spreadsheets with powerful tools for data calculation, analysis, and formatting. When used optimally, Excel saves a great deal of time performing a multitude of tasks. This document introduces some of the essential concepts that will help you design effective workbooks in Excel.

return to topOpening Excel

  1. To open Excel 2008, from the Dock, click FINDERFinder icon
    The Finder window appears.

  2. Select Applications » navigate to and double click the MICROSOFT OFFICE 2008 folderMicrosoft Office 2008 folder

  3. Navigate to and double click EXCEL 2008Microsoft Excel 2008 icon

return to topCreating a Workbook

An Excel file is called a workbook. By default, new Excel 2008 workbooks open with one blank worksheet. You can add or delete worksheets at any time. The advantage of having multiple worksheets, or layers, is that a variety of data can be compiled, analyzed, and integrated in a single file. Worksheets can contain data, charts, or both. 

For more information on Excel terminology, refer to Worksheet Terms.

  1. From the File menu, select New Workbook
    OR
    Press [Cmd] + [N]
    OR
    From the Standard toolbar, click NEWNew button
    A new workbook appears.

return to topEntering Text 

Excel allows you to enter text into cells.

  1. Select the cell where you want to enter text

  2. Type text into the cell
    HINT: To force text to wrap at a specific point in a cell, press [Alt] + [return]

  3. To accept the text, press [return] or an [Arrow]

return to top Entering Numbers

Numeric cells can be used for calculations and functions. A numeric cell may contain numbers, a decimal point (.), plus (+) or minus (-) signs, and currency ($).

  1. Select the cell where you want to enter numbers

  2. Type the numeric information that should be in the cell
    HINT: To enter a fraction, type 0 and press [Space] before the fraction; otherwise, Excel will interpret the fraction as a date.

  3. To accept the information, press [return] or an [Arrow]
    NOTES:
    Excel automatically right-aligns numerical values and left-aligns text.
    Do not include spaces or alphabetical characters in a calculation cell.

return to top Entering Numbers Formatted as Text

When cells are formatted for text, all cell contents—letters, numerals, or alpha-numeric combinations—are treated as text. Information is displayed exactly as it is entered. There are two ways to enter numbers as text.

Entering Numbers Formatted as Text: Apostrophe Character

  1. Select the cell you want to enter information into

  2. Press ['], then type numeric information

  3. To accept the information, press [return] or an [Arrow]

Entering Numbers Formatted as Text: Dialog Box

NOTE: This method is especially useful when formatting multiple cells to display text.

  1. From the Format menu, select Cells...
    The Format Cells dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Number tab

  3. From the Category scroll list, select Text

  4. Click OK

  5. Type the desired numbers and/or text in the cell
    HINT: To force text to wrap at a specific point in a cell, press [Alt] + [return]

  6. To accept the text, press [return] or an [Arrow]

return to topEntering Dates and Times

Entering a Date and Time Manually

  1. Select the cell where you want to enter the date or time

  2. To enter a date, type the date in one of the following formats: 8/14/2008, 8-14-2008, or August 14, 2008

  3. To enter a time
    1. Type the time
    2. Press [Space]
    3. To indicate AM or PM, press [Shift] + [A] or [P], respectively

  4. To accept the information, press [return] or an [Arrow]

Entering the Current Date and Time Automatically

For information on having Excel automatically insert dates and times, refer to Inserting Dates and Times.

return to topSaving Your Work

Saving for the First Time

The following steps should be used when you are saving a worksheet for the first time, when you want to save it to a new location (e.g., as a backup), or when you want to save a copy with a different name.

  1. From the File menu, select Save As...
    OR

    Press[Cmd] + [S]
    The Save As dialog box appears.

  2. From the Where pull-down menu, select the appropriate save location

  3. In the Save As text box, type a filename

  4. OPTIONAL:
    To save your workbook in a format other than the default (.xlsx):
    From the Format pull-down menu, select the desired format

  5. Click SAVE
    The file is saved.

Saving Subsequent Times

  1. From the File menu, select Save
    OR
    From the Standard toolbar, select SAVESave button
    OR
    Press [Cmd] + [S]
    The file is saved.
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