Unit 1. Basic. An introduction to Excel2003

 What is Excel2003? What can we use it for?
 Excel2003 is a worksheet integrated in Microsoft Office. This means that if you already know other Office programmes, like Word, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint,... , the use of Excel will not be unfamiliar to you because many icons and commands work in a similar way in all Office programmes. To know that Excel is a worksheet may not be of much help to you. Don't worry, we will explain now what it is: a worksheet is a programme that is capable of working with figures in a simple and intuitive way. To do that it uses a grid and in each of its cells you can introduce figures, letter and graphs. For example, to add a series of figures all you have to do is to introduce them in the grid in a column, as you would do adding in a piece of paper, and go to the cell where the total should appear and ask Excel to add them (later we should see excatly how to do that, but it is very easy). You may think that to add is better to use a calculator. But with a calculator, if you make a mistake when you introduce a figure in a twenty figure addition, you will have to introduce them all again, whereras with Excel all you will have to do is to correct the figure that is wrong and automatically Excel will calculate the total again. This is important when calculations are complex. Imagine you are calculating your income tax contribution and at the end you discover that you have made a mistake. You would have to repeat the whole calculation. If you do it with Excel all you have to do is to correct the wrong figure. This automatic recalculation feature also allows you to make estimations very easily. For example, what the monthly payment for a mortgage would be. All you will have to do is to introduce different figures for the mortgage and you will get your monthly payment for each case. Let us see another example that will illustrate other features of Excel.
 In the image above, there is a simple invoice made by Excel. You can see that the columns are designated by letter A,B,C,... and the horizontal lines by numbers 1,2,3,... In column D we have calculated the product of colums B and C. In the cell D12 VAT has been calculated. Below the toolbar you can see the formula used =D11*0,16 that is to say, the amount in the cell D11 mutiplied by 0.16. Excel is easy to use and intuitive. No doubt, you must be eager to continue with the course and to learn how to use it. You can also see in the example above how you can use text in any part of the spreadsheet, we could have even introduced a graph next to the shop's name. Another advantage of Excel is that you don't need to know much maths to use it. In many occassions it is enough with the basic mathematical operations. But, of couse, if you are good at maths you could get more out of Excel Although it can not be seen in the example, Excel is also capable of drawing graphs based on introduced data; different style of graphs, round or chart like, as those we see in opinion polls. Excel can be used for many different things, both in the profesional and the personal fields, from household accounts to the most complex finantial calculations.
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