Excel Tutorial: How To Learn Excel Basic


Learning basic Excel skills is crucial for anyone who wants to excel in the modern workplace. Whether you are a student, a professional, or a small business owner, having a strong grasp of Excel can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency. In this Excel tutorial, we will cover the fundamental concepts and tools to help you get started on your Excel journey.

A. Importance of learning basic Excel skills

  • Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis, reporting, and visualization
  • Proficiency in Excel is often a requirement for many job positions
  • Excel skills can help improve organization and decision-making

B. Overview of what will be covered in the tutorial

  • Introduction to Excel interface and basic functions
  • Data entry and formatting
  • Formulas and functions
  • Creating charts and graphs
  • Simple data analysis and reporting

Whether you are a complete beginner or looking to refresh your skills, this tutorial will provide a solid foundation for your Excel journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Basic Excel skills are essential for success in the modern workplace, regardless of your role or industry.
  • Proficiency in Excel can greatly enhance productivity, organization, and decision-making abilities.
  • This tutorial covers fundamental concepts such as navigating the Excel interface, basic formulas and functions, data entry and formatting, working with worksheets and workbooks, and sorting and filtering data.
  • By mastering these basic Excel skills, you can lay a solid foundation for further practice and exploration of more advanced features.
  • Whether you are a beginner or looking to refresh your skills, this tutorial provides a valuable starting point for your Excel journey.

Navigating the Excel Interface

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis, but for beginners, the interface can be overwhelming. Understanding the basic layout of Excel is the first step in mastering the software.

A. Understanding the Ribbon and Tabs

The ribbon is where you will find all the tools and features in Excel. It is divided into tabs, each containing groups of related commands. The Home tab, for example, contains basic formatting and editing tools, while the Insert tab includes options for adding charts, tables, and other elements to your worksheet.

B. Utilizing the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is a customizable toolbar that sits above the ribbon. It allows you to add frequently used commands for easy access. By customizing this toolbar with your most-used tools, you can streamline your workflow and save time.

C. Exploring the Worksheet Area

The main area of the Excel interface is the worksheet, where you enter and manipulate data. Each worksheet is made up of a grid of cells, arranged in rows and columns. Understanding how to navigate and select cells, as well as enter and edit data, is essential for using Excel effectively.

Basic Formulas and Functions

When you first start using Excel, understanding basic formulas and functions is essential for performing calculations and analyzing data effectively. In this chapter, we will cover the fundamentals of using basic formulas and functions in Excel.

Learning to use SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT functions

The SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT functions are some of the most commonly used functions in Excel. These functions allow you to easily calculate the sum, average, and count of a range of cells, respectively. To use these functions, simply select the cell where you want the result to appear, type the function name followed by the range of cells in parentheses, and press Enter.

Understanding relative and absolute cell references

When working with formulas in Excel, it's important to understand the difference between relative and absolute cell references. Relative references change when a formula is copied to another cell, while absolute references remain constant. To create an absolute reference, use the $ symbol before the row and column of the cell reference.

Using basic arithmetic operators for calculations

In addition to using functions, Excel allows you to perform basic arithmetic operations such as addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/). These operators can be used in formulas to perform calculations on cell values. For example, you can add two cells together by using the addition operator in a formula.

Data entry and formatting

Excel is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data. Learning how to input data and apply formatting options is essential for getting started with Excel. In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of data entry and formatting in Excel.

A. Inputting data into cells
  • Typing directly into a cell:

    To input data into a cell, simply click on the cell and start typing. Press Enter when finished to move to the next cell.
  • Cutting, copying, and pasting:

    You can also use the cut, copy, and paste commands to move data within a worksheet or between different worksheets.
  • Filling a series:

    Excel has the ability to automatically fill cells with a series of data, such as numbers or dates, using the fill handle.

B. Applying number formats
  • Formatting as currency:

    To format a cell as currency, select the cell and click on the 'currency' button in the Number group on the Home tab.
  • Formatting as percentage:

    To format a cell as a percentage, select the cell and click on the 'percentage' button in the Number group on the Home tab.
  • Custom number formats:

    Excel also allows you to create custom number formats to display data in the way you want.

C. Using basic text formatting options
  • Changing font style and size:

    You can change the font style and size of text in a cell by using the options in the Font group on the Home tab.
  • Applying bold, italic, and underline:

    Excel also provides options for applying bold, italic, and underline to text in a cell.
  • Text alignment:

    You can align text within a cell using the options in the Alignment group on the Home tab.

Working with worksheets and workbooks

Excel is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, and learning how to work with worksheets and workbooks is essential for mastering the basics of this software. In this tutorial, we will cover the fundamental skills you need to efficiently manage your worksheets and workbooks.

A. Adding, deleting, and renaming worksheets

Adding a new worksheet

  • To add a new worksheet, simply click on the "+" button at the bottom of the Excel window.
  • You can also use the shortcut "Shift + F11" to quickly insert a new worksheet.

Deleting a worksheet

  • To delete a worksheet, right-click on the sheet tab and select "Delete" from the context menu.
  • Be cautious when deleting a worksheet, as this action cannot be undone.

Renaming a worksheet

  • To rename a worksheet, double-click on the sheet tab and enter the new name.
  • You can also right-click on the sheet tab and select "Rename" from the context menu.

B. Managing multiple workbooks

Opening multiple workbooks

  • To open multiple workbooks, click on "File" > "Open" and select the additional files you want to open.
  • You can also use the shortcut "Ctrl + O" to quickly open a new workbook.

Switching between workbooks

  • To switch between open workbooks, click on the workbook's name in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.
  • You can also use the shortcut "Ctrl + Tab" to cycle through open workbooks.

C. Using basic navigation techniques within workbooks

Navigating between cells

  • To move to a different cell, use the arrow keys on your keyboard or click on the desired cell with your mouse.
  • You can also use the "Ctrl + arrow key" combination to quickly jump to the edge of a data region.

Scrolling through a worksheet

  • To scroll through a worksheet, use the scroll bar on the right side of the window or the scroll wheel on your mouse.
  • You can also use the "Ctrl + Home" shortcut to quickly return to the top-left cell of the worksheet.

By mastering these basic skills for working with worksheets and workbooks, you'll be well on your way to becoming proficient in Excel.

Sorting and filtering data

Excel provides powerful tools to help you organize and analyze your data. Sorting and filtering are essential functions that can help you better understand and visualize your data.

A. Sorting data in ascending or descending order
  • Ascending order:

    To sort data in ascending order, select the column you want to sort by, then click on the "Sort A to Z" option in the Sort & Filter menu.
  • Descending order:

    To sort data in descending order, select the column and choose the "Sort Z to A" option.

B. Filtering data based on specific criteria
  • Basic filtering:

    To filter your data based on specific criteria, click on the filter icon in the header of the column you want to filter. Then, select the criteria you want to apply from the dropdown menu.
  • Custom filtering:

    Excel also allows you to apply custom filters to your data, such as filtering by color or using advanced filter options.

C. Applying multiple levels of sorting and filtering
  • Multiple levels of sorting:

    To sort your data by multiple columns, use the "Sort" dialog box to specify the sorting order for each column.
  • Multiple criteria filtering:

    Excel also allows you to apply multiple criteria when filtering your data, giving you more control over the information you want to display.

By mastering sorting and filtering in Excel, you can quickly and easily organize your data to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.


In this tutorial, we covered the key basics of Excel, including navigating the interface, entering and formatting data, and performing simple calculations. Remember to practice regularly to reinforce your knowledge and explore Excel's basic features further. The more you use Excel, the more comfortable and proficient you will become.

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