Excel Tutorial: How To Learn Microsoft Excel For Beginners


Microsoft Excel is an essential tool for anyone looking to work in an office setting, whether you are in finance, marketing, or any other field. In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of Microsoft Excel for beginners, providing you with the foundation you need to start using this powerful program with confidence.

  • Importance of learning Microsoft Excel for beginners: Excel is used for data organization, analysis, and visualization, making it a crucial skill for professionals.
  • Brief overview of what will be covered in the tutorial: We will cover the basics of navigating the Excel interface, entering and formatting data, creating simple formulas and functions, and producing basic charts and graphs.

Whether you are new to Excel or looking to refresh your skills, this tutorial will help you become proficient in Microsoft Excel.

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft Excel is a crucial skill for professionals in various fields due to its data organization, analysis, and visualization capabilities.
  • Beginners can gain confidence in using Excel by understanding the basics of navigating the interface, entering and formatting data, creating formulas and functions, and producing charts and graphs.
  • Basic formatting tools such as bold, italic, and underline, as well as adjusting cell alignment and size, are essential for data entry and presentation in Excel.
  • Understanding basic arithmetic formulas, common functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and MAX, and relative and absolute cell references is key to utilizing Excel for data analysis.
  • Sorting, filtering, and advanced filter options are important for organizing and displaying specific data in Excel, providing greater control over data analysis and presentation.

Understanding the basics of Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for organizing, analyzing, and presenting data. For beginners, it's important to start with the basics to build a strong foundation for using this software.

A. Opening and navigating through Excel

Before diving into using Excel, it's essential to understand how to open and navigate through the program. To open Excel, simply click on the Excel icon on your desktop or search for it in the Windows start menu. Once open, you can navigate through Excel using the menu bar and various ribbons.

B. Understanding the layout and functions of the ribbon

The ribbon is a key component of Excel's user interface. It contains tabs, groups, and commands that allow you to perform various tasks in Excel. The key tabs include Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, and View. Each tab contains specific groups of related commands that help you perform tasks such as formatting cells, inserting charts, and creating formulas.

C. Introduction to cells, columns, and rows

Cells, columns, and rows are the building blocks of a spreadsheet in Excel. Each cell is a rectangular box that can contain data, and they are organized into rows (horizontal) and columns (vertical). Understanding how to select and manipulate cells, columns, and rows is fundamental to working effectively in Excel.

Data entry and formatting

When learning Microsoft Excel for beginners, understanding how to enter data and format it correctly is crucial for creating organized and professional-looking spreadsheets.

A. Entering data into cells

  • Click on the cell where you want to enter data
  • Type the data into the cell
  • Press Enter or Tab to move to the next cell

B. Formatting text and numbers

  • Select the cell or range of cells you want to format
  • Click on the 'Home' tab in the Excel ribbon
  • Choose the formatting options such as font style, size, and color for text, as well as number format for numerical data

C. Using basic formatting tools such as bold, italic, and underline

  • Select the text or numbers you want to format
  • Click on the respective formatting option in the 'Home' tab

D. Adjusting cell alignment and size

  • Select the cell or range of cells you want to adjust
  • Click on the 'Home' tab and find the alignment and cell size options
  • Choose the desired alignment for text and adjust cell size as needed

Formulas and functions

Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and manipulation. Understanding how to use formulas and functions is essential for beginners to excel in their learning journey. In this chapter, we will cover the basics of creating formulas, using common functions, and understanding cell references.

A. Introduction to basic arithmetic formulas

  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division

    • Start by learning how to perform basic arithmetic operations in Excel. Use the "+" sign for addition, "-" sign for subtraction, "*" sign for multiplication, and "/" sign for division.

B. Using common functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and MAX

  • Summing up values with SUM

    • Learn how to use the SUM function to add up a range of cells in Excel. This is useful for calculating the total of a set of numbers.

  • Finding the average with AVERAGE

    • Understand how to use the AVERAGE function to find the average value of a set of numbers. This is helpful for getting the mean value of a dataset.

  • Finding the maximum value with MAX

    • Explore how to use the MAX function to find the largest value in a range of cells. This can be useful for identifying the highest value in a dataset.

C. Understanding relative and absolute cell references

  • Relative Cell References

    • Learn how to use relative cell references in formulas. When you copy a formula to another cell, the relative references will change based on the new cell location.

  • Absolute Cell References

    • Understand how to use absolute cell references in formulas. When you want a specific cell to be referenced consistently, you can use the "$" sign to create an absolute reference.

Creating and Editing Charts

Microsoft Excel is not only a powerful tool for data analysis and manipulation, but it also provides a range of options for visualizing data through charts. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate user, understanding how to create and edit charts in Excel can significantly enhance the presentation of your data. In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of creating and editing charts in Microsoft Excel.

A. Selecting Data for a Chart

  • Selecting the Range: To create a chart, you need to select the data range that you want to visualize. This can be done by clicking and dragging to highlight the cells containing the data.
  • Adding Labels: Make sure to include labels for the data series and axes, as this will provide context for the viewers of the chart.

B. Choosing the Right Type of Chart for Your Data

  • Understanding Chart Types: Excel offers various types of charts such as bar, line, pie, and scatter plots. It is important to understand the different chart types and their suitability for representing different types of data.
  • Choosing the Right Chart: Consider the nature of your data and the story you want to convey when choosing the type of chart. For example, bar charts are useful for comparing different categories, while line charts are suitable for showing trends over time.

C. Editing and Customizing the Appearance of a Chart

  • Accessing Chart Tools: Once the chart is created, Excel provides a range of tools for editing and customizing its appearance. Click on the chart to reveal the Chart Tools tab in the Excel ribbon.
  • Customizing Chart Elements: You can customize various elements of the chart such as titles, axes, legends, and data labels. This allows you to tailor the chart to best present your data.
  • Changing Chart Styles: Excel offers a variety of pre-designed chart styles and layouts. Experiment with different styles to find the one that best fits the overall look and feel of your presentation.

Sorting and filtering data

Microsoft Excel provides powerful tools for sorting and filtering data, allowing you to quickly and easily organize and display your information. In this chapter, we will explore how to use these features to manipulate your data to suit your needs.

Sorting data in ascending or descending order

Sorting data in Excel is a simple and efficient way to arrange your information in either ascending or descending order. This can be particularly useful when dealing with large sets of data, making it easier to identify trends and patterns.

  • To sort a column in ascending order, select the header of the column you want to sort, then click on the Sort A to Z button in the Data tab.
  • To sort a column in descending order, follow the same process, but click on the Sort Z to A button.

Applying filters to display specific data

Excel's filter feature allows you to display specific data based on certain criteria, making it easier to analyze and work with your information. This can be incredibly useful when working with large datasets.

  • To apply a filter, select the header of the column you want to filter, then click on the Filter button in the Data tab. This will display drop-down arrows next to each header, which you can use to filter your data based on specific values.
  • You can also use the Custom Filter option to create more complex filter criteria based on your specific requirements.

Using advanced filter options

Excel also offers advanced filter options for more complex data manipulation and analysis. These options allow you to set multiple criteria for filtering your data, providing more flexibility and control over your data.

  • To use advanced filters, go to the Data tab and click on the Advanced button. This will open a dialog box where you can specify your filter criteria and choose whether to copy the filtered data to another location.
  • You can use a combination of different criteria, such as AND, OR, and NOT, to refine your filter and display only the data that meets your specific requirements.


In conclusion, we covered the basics of Microsoft Excel for beginners, including navigating the interface, entering data, and performing simple calculations. We also delved into formatting cells, creating simple charts, and utilizing basic functions.

As you continue your journey in learning Excel, I encourage you to practice regularly and explore more advanced features such as pivot tables, conditional formatting, and data analysis tools.

Remember, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with Excel, and the better equipped you will be to leverage its powerful capabilities for your personal and professional needs.

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