A spreadsheet is a large sheet having data and information arranged in rows and columns. Excel is one of the most widely used spreadsheet applications. Spreadsheet is quite useful in entering, editing, analyzing and storing data. Arithmetic operations with numerical data such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can be done using Excel. You can sort numbers, characters according to some given criteria (like ascending, descending) and use simple financial, mathematical and statistical formulas.
Features of Spreadsheet
There are a number of features that are available in Excel to make your task easier.
AutoSum - helps you to add the contents of a cluster of adjacent cells.
List AutoFill - automatically extends cell formatting when a new item is added to the end of a list.
AutoFill - allows you to quickly fill cells with repetitive or sequential data such as chronological dates or numbers, and repeated text. AutoFill can also be used to copy functions. You can also alter text and numbers with this feature.
AutoShapes toolbar will allow you to draw a number of geometrical shapes, arrows, flowchart elements, stars and more. With these shapes you can draw your own graphs.
Wizard - guides you to work effectively while you work by displaying various helpful tips and techniques based on what you are doing.
Drag and Drop - it will help you to reposition the data and text by simply dragging the data with the help of mouse.
Charts - it will help you in presenting a graphical representation of your data in the form of Pie, Bar, Line charts and more.
PivotTable - it flips and sums data in seconds and allows you to perform data analysis and generating reports like periodic financial statements, statistical reports, etc. You can also analyse complex data relationships graphically.
Shortcut Menus - the commands that are appropriate to the task that you are doing will appear by clicking the right mouse button.
Each Excel file is a workbook that can hold many worksheets. The worksheet is a grid of columns (designated by letters) and rows (designated by numbers). The letters and numbers of the columns and rows (called labels) are displayed in gray buttons across the top and left side of the worksheet.
The intersection of a column and a row is called a cell. Each cell on the spreadsheet has a cell address that is the column letter and the row number. Cells can contain text, numbers, or mathematical formulas.
Cell References: Each worksheet contains a number of columns and rows. Each cell of the worksheet has a unique reference. For example, A8, refers to the cell containing column number A and row number 8.
Formulas and Functions
To manipulate data and to extract useful information from Excel worksheets, formulas and worksheet functions play very important role. In Excel, formulas are used to calculate results from the worksheet data. When there is some change in the data, such formulas automatically calculate the updated results with no extra efforts on the part of the user.
- A formula can have any or all of the following elements:
- Must begin with the 'equal to' = sign
- Mathematical operators, such as + (for addition) and / (for division) and logical operators such as <, >
- References of cell (including named ranges and cells)
- Text or Values
- Functions related to the worksheets, for example SUM or AVERAGE
The current cell in which you have entered a formula will display the result after the formula is completely entered. Also, when you select or click on a cell which is having some formula, the formula will appear in the formula bar.
Charts allow you to present data entered into the worksheet in a visual format using a variety of graph types. Before you can make a chart, you must first enter data into a worksheet.
This type of chart is used to compare values across categories. They give very effective results to analyze the data of the same category on a defined scale.
Data represented in columns or rows in a worksheet can be plotted with the help of line chart. Line charts can be used to display continuous data over time with respect to a common scale. Thus Line Charts are best suitable for viewing data trends at equal intervals of time. The horizontal axis is used to represent the category data and all the value data is distributed uniformly along the vertical axis.
In a situation where one has to show the relative proportions or contributions to a whole, a pie chart is very useful. In case of pie chart only one data series is used. Small number of data points adds more to the effectiveness of pie charts. Generally there should be maximum five or six data points or slices in a pie chart.
If the points are more in number then it becomes very difficult to interpret the chart.
Also, it is very important to note that the values of to be used in the pie chart must be all positive. If there are some negative values, in that case the negative values will be automatically converted in to positive values, this will be desired.
Bar charts are used to show comparisons between individual items. To make a bar chart the data should be arranged in the form of rows and columns on a worksheet.
The data which is arranged in the form of rows or columns on a worksheet can be plotted in an area chart. Area charts are used to highlight the degree of a change over time. Area charts are also used to draw attention to the total value across a trend.
XY (Scatter) charts
XY charts are also known by other names like scatter grams or scatter plots. The point of difference between XY charts and other types of charts is that in XY charts both axes display values i.e. they have no category axis. Such type of charts is generally used to show the relationship among two variables.
Stock chart can be used to plot data arranged in columns or rows in a particular order on a worksheet. As the name is self explanatory, this chart is used to demonstrate the fluctuations with respect to stock market prices. Even scientific data can be plotted by stock chart, e.g., the fluctuation of daily or periodic temperature. The data must be arranged in a correct order to generate stock charts.
Such type of chart is used in situations where both categories and data series are numeric values. This type of chart is useful in situations where the optimum combinations are found among the two sets of data. Data should be arranged in columns or rows in a worksheet can be plotted in s surface chart. The colors and patterns indicate the areas which are in the same range of set of values, as it happens in case of a topographic map.
The conditions to draw doughnut charts is that the data has to be in the form of rows or columns. As in the case of a pie chart, the doughnut chart illustrate the relationship of parts to a whole, but it is able to get more than one data series.
A bubble chart can be used to plot the data values which are arranged in the columns of a worksheet so that x values are listed in the first column and matching y values and bubble size values are listed in adjacent columns.
The radar charts compare the aggregate values of a number of data series. Radar chart can be plotted with the data which is arranged in columns or rows on a worksheet.
The AutoShapes feature allows you to draw a number of geometrical shapes, arrows, flow chart elements, stars, and more on the worksheet.
Smart Art Graphics: Visual representation of information and ideas is called SmartArt Graphics. They can be used to quickly, easily and effectively communicate a message.