Unit 2. Basic. Excel concepts

In this unit you will find the most basic concepts used by Excel.

In order to understand better each of the concepts we explain, we would like to advise you to have Excel open on another window so you can check them.



A workbook is a file that we create with Excel, that is to say, everything we do in this programme will be saved in the form of a workbook

Excel workbooks have extension .XLS to allow the computer to identify them.

When you start a Excel session, automatically a new workbook will be open with the provisional name Book 1. You can check this up with your Excel window, on the title bar, on the top part of the window you will see written "Microsoft Excel - book 1".

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The book number will change every time we start another task with Excel and it will vary with the books created in a session. So if we start another task, the name Book 2 will be given to it, the following one will be Book 3, and so on.

Bare in mind that the name given is only a reference to identify a particular task before it is saved, it does not mean that the file is already saved.

A workbook is made of several sheets, to begin with it will have three sheets, although the number could be anything betwee 1 and 255. If you look at the lower part of your Excel window you will find the different sheets of the workbook, each of them numbered: Sheet 1, Sheet 2...

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Workbooks are fantastic organizing tools. For example, we can keep together in a single book all the sheets that belong to the same project or task.




A worksheet is one of the different types of sheet contained in a workbook . It is a very useful tool for anybody that is working with many figures and needs to do calculations with them.  

It is a large grid made of 256 colums and 65,536 horizontal rows.

Worksheets are made of columns and rows.

A column is formed by cells vertically arranged. Each column is identified by letters, for example A, B, C,... AA, AB,... IV.

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Each row is numbered, from 1 to 65,536, and is the horizontal selection of cells in a sheet.

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The intersection between a column and a row is called Cell and it is referred to by the column name to which it belongs and the number of its row, for example, the first cell belongs to column A and row 1, so it is cell A1. You should be able to check in your Excel window what we have seen so far.

When the cursor is positioned on any cell, ready to work in it, the cell is named Active Cell and it is identified because it is highlighted from the rest.

In the same way we have the Active row, the row where the active cell is and the Active Column, the active cell column.

Another very important concept in the worksheet is that of Range, it is a rectangular block made of one or more cells that Excel treat as a unit. Ranges are essential for the spreadsheet because all kind of calculations are based on ranges. We shall see later on the different ways to define range.

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