Spreadsheets explained...

Posted by EasyPC Training on October 24, 2011

What is a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet is a rectangular table or grid used for organising and analysing data arranged in rows and columns. Data can be entered, edited, manipulated and stored as text or numbers. Data can be used in complex calculations, graphical chart creation or analysis.

Some common Excel terms

Worksheet - a single spreadsheet
Workbook - a single file containing a collection of one or more worksheets (up to 255).
Cell - a box where a row and column meet, into which data is input. Each cell has a different name, derived from the column and row in which it is contained. The cell name is displayed in the Name box
Active cell - cell indicated by a solid border, whose name is currently displayed in the Name box. The active cell is where data appears when keyed from the keyboard.
Formula bar - text or numbers that are keyed in to the active cell are displayed in the formula bar.
Range - a rectangular area of 2 or more adjacent cells
Menu - a list of application commands that is displayed when you click a menu name from the top of the Excel screen
Menu bar - horizontal bar below the title bar that contains the names of menus
Button - a picture that performs a command when clicked on
Title bar - the blue bar at the top of the window that displays the name of the workbook
Toolbar - contains a group of similar buttons

Worksheets and workbooks

Think of a 'workbook' as a book that contains 'worksheets' or pages. When Excel is started it opens a new workbook that contains 3 worksheets.

Common uses for spreadsheets

  • storing complex data in tabular format e.g. customer records
  • calculating budgets
  • maintaining accounting ledgers
  • performing "What If?" analyses

 Examples of spreadsheet programs

  • Lotus 1-2-3
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Corel Quattro Pro
  • Microsoft Works spreadsheet

Some Excel facts

Each worksheet contains 256 columns and 65,536 rows... that's 16,777,216 cells! If the entire worksheet was printed out, it would measure 5.6 metres wide by 327.7 metres long! Each cell can hold up to 32,767 characters... that's a potential of 549,739,036,672 characters in just one worksheet!



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