Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the top spreadsheet applications in the software industry, with 750 million regular users. It was developed by Charles Simonyi and was released by the Microsoft Corporation in 1985, exactly two years after the release of Microsoft Word.

Table of Content

What Is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft. Like all other spreadsheet apps, Microsoft Excel has the tools that enable users to organize data in a systematic manner and with the use of formulas. However, its features are more flexible—offering various ways to arrange tables, charts, grids, rows, columns, and other visual aid tools. Microsoft Excel belongs to a family of Microsoft 365 products such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, and more.

Microsoft Excel Definition

Microsoft Excel is a product of Microsoft Office that quickly became a powerhouse spreadsheet program with a complete set of spreadsheet editing and customization tools for users to easily create tables, charts, graphs, and grids that organize data cohesively.

Features of Microsoft Excel

Create Pivot Tables

Microsoft Excel is arguably most commonly used for creating pivot tables. As a gigantic spreadsheet, it lays the groundwork for pivot table creation. Users won’t have to start from scratch, needing only to adjust the spreadsheet’s rows, columns, and cells.

Create Charts and Graphs

Microsoft Excel has every tool to create charts and graphs. Users can form them manually by customizing the spreadsheet or inserting MS Excel’s free pre-made charts and graphs.

Formulas

Microsoft Excel lets users use spreadsheet formulas (addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication), which help calculate accurate results, mirror data from one cell to another, perform a wide-range command, and much more. The challenge is familiarizing yourself with the formulas, but once you’ve mastered them, preparing spreadsheets with statistics becomes a lot easier.

Comments and Notes

Users can insert comments and notes in MS Excel spreadsheets. It’s a helpful feature for remote collaboration, allowing team members to share their thoughts and provide feedback about specific data in the spreadsheet. In addition, users can add comments and notes in every individual cell of the spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet File Sharing

MS Excel allows users to share spreadsheet files anytime and can grant Edit or View access to other users. This helps with remote collaboration, allowing multiple users to access a single Excel file from different devices.

Microsoft Excel – Uses, Purpose, Importance

Microsoft Excel is a well-known spreadsheet brand. It’s beloved by countless users for its accessibility and flexibility. That said, it’s safe to say that Excel will remain a top spreadsheet app. So right now, let’s discuss what makes Microsoft Excel special.

Easy Data Management

As a spreadsheet application, Microsoft Excel is an excellent platform for data management. You can use its tools for creating charts and graphs to organize data and store them for safekeeping. For example, if you’re a teacher, you can use MS Excel to calculate and store your students’ grades for safekeeping.

Convenient Calculations

MS Excel can automatically calculate results and statistics for you. Simply encode the required spreadsheet formulas, and Excel will do the rest. With its calculator features, Excel can produce accurate results, even with large numbers.

Streamlined Data Analysis

Excel has excellent built-in tools for data analysis. With all the rows, columns, graphs, and pivot tables you can create with it, data will be much easier to organize, break down, analyze, and interpret.

Print Reports Fast

Excel also lets users print report documents fast. That’s why many office workers use Excel to prepare their reports. Besides fast printing, Excel offers multiple page setup customization choices before printing an Excel (XLS) file.

Accessible Free Templates

Microsoft Excel has free templates for creating monthly budget sheets, schedules, calendars, and more, allowing users to start their spreadsheets quickly.

Quick Online Access

Nowadays, many teams work remotely and deal with spreadsheets daily. Since MS Excel can be accessed online with its desktop and mobile versions, people choose it as their primary spreadsheet app since they can work together in one Excel spreadsheet in real-time across different locations and devices.

Microsoft Excel Parts

Title Bar

The Title Bar is located at the very top of the MS Excel interface. What it mainly displays is the name or title of the Excel file.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar is found right below the Title Bar. It contains tabs of all the available menus in MS Excel. These menus are the following: File, Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, and Help.

Toolbar

The Toolbar is situated below the Menu Bar. There, you’ll be doing a lot of commands such as changing fonts, merging cells, inserting rows/columns, applying cell colors, and many more. The Toolbar changes depending on which tab in the Menu Bar is currently open.

Row Headings

The Row Headings are found on the left side of the MS Excel interface. It’s placed vertically and displays the row numbers starting from 1, 2, 3, 4, and beyond. MS Excel has a limit of 1,084,576 rows.

Column Headings

The Column Headings are located at the top of the Excel spreadsheet or worksheet. It’s placed horizontally and represents the names of the columns, which are letters starting from A, B, C, D, E, F, and so on. MS Excel can accommodate up to 16,384 columns.

Cells

The cells are those small rectangles formed due to the intersection of Excel’s columns and rows. This is where users input their data, characters, and formulas in Excel.

Name Box

The Name Box is located above the Column Headings on the left-most side. It simply displays the cell name you’re currently working on.

Formula Bar

The Formula Bar is found just beside the Name Box to the right. It displays the characters you’ve inserted in a cell, specifically in the area you’re currently working on. You can also use the Formula Bar to input data for each cell.

Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets

Microsoft Excel is Microsoft’s flagship spreadsheet software product that allows users to create tables, charts, and graphs filled with data and information.

Google Sheets is also a spreadsheet program under the Google Workspace umbrella. It has similar features to MS Excel but with some variations.

Check out the detailed comparison of Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets in the table below.

MS ExcelGoogle Sheets
UsesUsed to prepare pivot tables, graphs, and charts typically with statistical data and business-related information.Used to create pivot tables, graphs, and charts with slightly different tools but more or less the same as in MS Excel.
PricingMS Excel starts at $6.99 per month with a Microsoft 365 subscription. Its free version is available on Office.com.Google Sheets is accessible for free online. Users only need to have a Google account. 
FeaturesMS Excel provides features for adjusting the size of rows and columns. Users can also insert pre-made graphics and charts and fill each cell with colors.Google Sheets has features for customizing spreadsheets. Users can adjust the size of columns, rows, and cells, and can use spreadsheet templates as well.
AvailabilityMS Excel is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Google Sheets is accessible on the web browsers of Windows and Mac. Mobile versions are also downloadable for Android and iOS. 

Microsoft Excel Tips and Tricks

Microsoft Excel is a user-friendly spreadsheet program. In terms of creating tables, graphs, and charts, the things you can do with Excel are practically limitless—no need for thorough user training. With that said, we’ll share with you our basic MS Excel tips and tricks.

Get MS Excel for Free

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry. Microsoft Excel has a free edition that you can get at any time. Just follow our guide on how to get Microsoft Excel for free.

Download MS Excel

If you don’t have Microsoft Excel on your computer yet, you should download and install it today. Simply follow the easy steps on how to download Microsoft Excel, and you’ll soon have it on your device.

Make a Flowchart in MS Excel

Excel has everything you need to create comprehensive flowcharts. Our guide on how to make a flowchart in Microsoft Excel will show you the step-by-step process.

Transfer MS Excel to Google Sheets

You can open your Excel files in Google Sheets if needed. The steps on how to transfer Microsoft Excel to Google Sheets are easy to follow. Check out our guide to get started.

Export from MS Project to Excel

Users can open their MS Project files on MS Excel. Go over each step of our guide on how to export from Microsoft Project to Excel to do it right.

Split a Cell in MS Excel

Cells in MS Excel can be split easily when you master the process of how to split a cell in Microsoft Excel. See our guide and try these steps yourself.

Create a Checklist in MS Excel

Checklists can be used for various purposes, either for work, school, or personal agendas. So if you have time, you should learn how to create a checklist in Microsoft Excel.

Edit in MS Excel

If you have some existing Excel files that need revisions, go ahead and do them before the deadline. Learn how to edit in Microsoft Excel so that you can start ASAP.

Graph on MS Excel

Learn how to graph on Microsoft Excel and create all kinds of charts and pivot tables according to your needs.

Insert/Update MS Word Into Excel

MS Word and MS Excel can be integrated. So, familiarize yourself with our guide on how to insert/update Microsoft Word into Excel.

Multiply in MS Excel

MS Excel can do basic and advanced multiplication calculations for you. Learn how to activate it in our guide about how to multiply in Microsoft Excel.

Print Labels from MS Excel

If you need to print labels, you can create and get them from MS Excel. Be guided on the steps on how to print labels from Microsoft Excel to do it right.

Undo/Redo in MS Excel

You’ll commit small mistakes as you create documents in MS Excel. Luckily, you can fix them quickly with the undo/redo function. So make sure to learn how to undo/redo in Microsoft Excel.

Get MS Excel on Mac

If you’re a Mac user, you can try using MS Excel instead of Apple Numbers. See our guide on how to get Microsoft Excel on Mac.

Add Numbers in MS Excel

For sure, you’ll be using numerical characters in your Excel files. With that said, you should know how to add numbers in Microsoft Excel.

Become Proficient in MS Excel

Be a master MS Excel user by reading our guide about how to become proficient in Microsoft Excel.

Create Data Entry Form in MS Excel

MS Excel has all the tools you need to create data entry forms. Learn how to take advantage of them by seeing our guide about how to create data entry forms in Microsoft Excel.

Freeze Cells in MS Excel

Sometimes, we need to freeze certain cells in a spreadsheet. You can learn to do that simply by learning how to freeze cells in Microsoft Excel.

Make a Floor Plan on MS Excel

If you’re an architect or floor planner, MS Excel can be a good substitute for creating floor plans. Check out our simple guide on how to make a floor plan on Microsoft Excel.

Merge Cells in MS Excel

You can merge as many cells as you want in your spreadsheet. If you’re not sure how to do it, just see our short guide on how to merge cells in Microsoft Excel.

Make Bar Chart in MS Excel

You can make a bar chart in your spreadsheet simply by reading our short article on how to make bar chart in Microsoft Excel.

Calculate Percentage in MS Excel

Microsoft Excel provides basic ways to calculate percentages. You can learn this by looking at our guide on how to calculate percentage in Microsoft Excel.

Wrap Text in MS Excel

You can keep your spreadsheet’s readability by wrapping your text in Microsoft Excel. Take some time to read our guide on how to wrap text in Microsoft Excel to take your spreadsheets to the next level.

Hide/Unhide Worksheets in MS Excel

Microsoft Excel’s worksheet Hiding and Unhiding features can be a quick and simple way to secure data or free up some tabs. Carefully follow our step-by-step guide on how to hide/unhide worksheets in Microsoft Excel to do it correctly.

Add Column in MS Excel

You can add as many columns as you need in your Excel spreadsheet. Just follow the steps we’ve gathered on how to add a column in Microsoft Excel.

Add Row in MS Excel

Rows can be added virtually without limits in Excel. Once you learn the steps on how to add a row in Microsoft Excel, you can expand your spreadsheet anytime.

Change Language in MS Excel

Want to change the language settings in Excel? If you do, we invite you to read our simple guide on how to change language in Microsoft Excel.

Create a Drop-Down List in MS Excel

You can attach drop-down lists to your Excel spreadsheets. They’ll come in handy in creating data entry forms. But first, learn how to create a drop-down list in Microsoft Excel.

Create a Pie Chart in MS Excel

If you need a pie chart for your presentation, you can make one in Excel. Visit our guide about how to create a pie chart in Microsoft Excel so you can start soon.

Create a Table in MS Excel

Learn how to create a table in Microsoft Excel to make pivot tables quickly.

Insert Picture in MS Excel

It’s possible to attach pictures to your spreadsheet. Just explore the steps on how to insert picture in Microsoft Excel to get started.

Automatically Fill PDF Forms Using Excel

It would be convenient to use Excel to fill out PDF forms. So, learn how to automatically fill PDF forms using Microsoft Excel for a smooth-sailing data entry process.

Recover Unsaved MS Excel Files

If you lost an unsaved Excel file, don’t panic. See our guide on how to recover unsaved Microsoft Excel files.

Calculate Mean in MS Excel

With MS Excel, you don’t have to use your calculator to find the mean of your numerical dataset. Learn the process in our guide on how to calculate mean in Microsoft Excel.

Create a Gantt Chart in MS Excel

Gannt charts are excellent visual aid tools. That said, you should learn how to create a Gantt chart in Microsoft Excel.

FAQs

What are symbols in Excel?

Symbols are certain characters users can insert into an Excel spreadsheet with the help of the Insert tab.

What is absolute and relative cell reference in Excel?

Relative cell references change when formulas are copied to other cells, while absolute cell references remain as they are regardless of where they’re being copied.

What are the 3 types of data in MS Excel?

The three types of data in Excel are text, number, and logical.

What is the maximum number of rows in Excel?

The max number of rows in Excel is 1,084,576.

What are the wildcards available in Excel?

The wildcards available in Excel are an asterisk, question mark, and tilde.

What is the function of the F1 to F12 keys in Excel?

The F1 to F12 keys in Excel function as shortcut keys to perform certain commands faster.

What is the shortcut key to creating a chart in Excel?

Simply press F11 to create a chart on a new spreadsheet in Excel.

What is a cell address in Excel?

A cell address is the name of a cell, which is basically a combination of the column letter and row number.

How do you freeze panes in Excel?

Simply go to View, click Windows, and select Freeze Panes.

What is a name box in Excel?

The name box displays the name of the cell you’re currently working on.