I ntermediate Excel. Using Auto Fill

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1 I ntermediate Excel Using Auto Fill The Auto Fill tool allows you to copy the data in a single cell or block of cells and place that data into one or more neighboring cells via click and drag with the mouse. To use Auto Fill, follow these steps: If you click on the Auto Fill Options icon ( ) that appears after using Auto Fill, you can choose not to copy the formatting of the initial cell or cells just the data, or you can choose to copy only the formatting and not the data itself. Filling Sequences In addition to copying data, Auto Fill can be used to complete sequences, such as lists of days, months, dates, times, or numbers in a series. As you drag the mouse pointer over each cell, small yellow screen tips will appear to tell you what the last entry in the sequence will be. An example using a sequence of months: HINT: If Excel tries to fill in a sequence when you want to copy the data instead, click on the Auto Fill Options icon and choose Copy Cells. 1

2 Formatting Cells By formatting cells, or changing how they look, you can make your worksheet easier to read and more professional in appearance. Begin by selecting the cell or cells you wish to format, then choose the Cells command from the Format menu to bring up the Format Cells dialog box, shown here: The Number tab allows you to choose a number format, such as Currency, Date, Time, Percentage, Zip Code, and Phone Number. You may also choose the Text format to have cell contents treated as text instead of numbers. You can also use toolbar shortcuts to apply certain number formats: Currency Style Percent Style Comma Style Increase Decimal Decrease Decimal The Format Cells dialog box s Alignment and Font tabs provide formatting options for the way text is displayed in cells. The Alignment tab allows you to: Set the horizontal and vertical alignment of text within a cell. Wrap text within a cell or shrink text to fit a cell. Merge cells so text is contained within multiple cells. Change the orientation of text within a cell from horizontal to diagonal or vertical. The Font tab (not pictured) can be used to switch fonts, change font color, and apply strikethrough, superscript, and subscript effects. Alternately, you may use the Font dropdown menu and the Font Color icon ( ) on the toolbar. 2

3 Use the Border and Patterns tabs of the Format Cells dialog box to add borders to cells and to shade cells with color and/or patterns. To add a border to a cell or block of cells, choose the line style, color, and where the borders will be applied. You may apply a border to one edge, several edges, or all edges of the cell or cells you select. You can also apply borders by selecting cells, then clicking on the down arrow to the right of the Borders toolbar icon and choosing the type of border you wish to use, as shown to the right. HINT: To underline a row of cells, apply the border to the bottom edge of the cells only. The Patterns tab allows you to choose a color or pattern or both with which to shade a cell. Simply click on a color to select it, and use the Pattern dropdown menu to choose a pattern if desired. The Fill Color toolbar icon ( ) can also be used to change the background color of a cell or range of cells. Select the cell or cells, then click on the Fill Color icon. To change the fill color, click on the down arrow to the right of the icon to bring up the menu of possible colors. Format Painter \ The Format Painter icon ( ) on the toolbar allows you to easily apply the formatting of one cell to other cells in the worksheet. Click on the cell with the desired formatting, then click on the Format Painter icon. A little paintbrush will appear next to the mouse pointer. Then click on the cell or range of cells you wish to apply the formatting to. 3

4 AutoFormat The AutoFormat tool allows you to easily choose from Microsoft Excel s premade table formats, which are available in a variety of colors and styles. If a worksheet contains a table, you can use AutoFormat to change the formatting of that table. To use AutoFormat, click on any cell within the table and follow these steps: To remove an AutoFormat from your worksheet, click on the formatted table, choose AutoFormat from the Format menu to bring up the AutoFormat dialog box, then scroll down and select the None format. Merge and Center When you have a title or heading you wish to center on your worksheet, you can use the Merge and Center tool to merge a row of cells into one big cell and place text in the middle of the new cell: 4

5 Using Mathematical Formulas Programs like Microsoft Excel were originally created to store and manipulate numerical data. You can use formulas to tell the computer that you want to perform a mathematical calculation. Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=), and they are made up of cell addresses, which stand for the values in those cells; operators; and numbers. Operators include: + Addition * Multiplication - Subtraction / Division % Percentage ^ Exponentiation The order of mathematical operations in a formula is the same as in algebra. As with algebra, parentheses can be used to change that order. The order of operations is: 1) Parentheses, 2) Percentage, 3) Exponentiation, 4) Multiplication/Division, 5) Addition/Subtraction. Examples of formulas: =C1+F5 Adds the number in cell C1 to the number in F5. =(A1+A2)/2 Averages the numbers in cells A1 and A2. To enter a formula into your worksheet, follow these steps: NOTE: The information stored in the cell is the formula, not the computed value. If you click on the cell again, you will see the formula in the formula bar. 5

6 Functions Functions are formulas that have already been written by Microsoft Excel to save you time and to allow you to easily perform more complicated calculations. Some examples of functions are: =SUM(A1:A5) Adds the numbers in cells A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5. =AVERAGE(D9:D11) Averages the numbers in cells D9, D10, and D11. =MAX(B2,F2) Displays the largest number from cells B2 and F2. =SQRT(C3) Calculates the square root of the number in cell C3. Functions can be used alone, or they can be combined to carry out even more complex calculations. You can type functions in manually, or you can use the Function button: HINT: Instead of typing a cell address, you can just click on the cell in the worksheet. Click and drag to select cell ranges. This works for both formulas and functions. 6

7 Fixing Errors Microsoft Excel will automatically check for errors in the formulas and functions you enter, and it will usually offer suggestions for correction and other help as well. The two main tools used for error checking and correction are Formula AutoCorrect and background error checking. Formula AutoCorrect catches operator errors, including: Unmatched parentheses: = 250/(C4+ C5 instead of = 250/(C4+ C5) Reversed cell references: = 15A-15B instead of = A15-B15 Double operators: = = A2* 1.25 instead of = A2* 1.25 When these types of errors are made, Microsoft Excel will give you a message with a suggestion for correction, as shown here: You can either accept the correction by clicking on the Yes button or fix the error yourself by clicking on the No button. The suggested correction is not always right. Background error checking provides assistance when a formula you enter displays an error value. Some common error values and causes are listed here: #DIV/0! #NAME? #REF! #NUM! The formula has been written to divide by the number 0 or an empty cell. A range name or a function s name has been misspelled ( SM instead of SUM ), or a colon is missing from a range ( A1A5 instead of A1:A5 ). The formula refers to a cell that has been deleted. Something is wrong with a number in the formula, such as a result being too large or small to display. To fix a formula that has produced an error value, select the cell that contains the formula. Then click on the Error icon ( ) that appears next to the cell. A shortcut menu will appear, as shown to the right, which tells you what the error is (ex. Invalid Name Error ) and contains options to fix or ignore the error. 7

8 Glossary of Terms Alignment Block Chart Clipboard Copy Cut Database Default Dialog Box Edit File Name Font Format The position of text or numbers within a cell. Text and numbers can be aligned to the right-hand side of the cell or the left-hand side of the cell, as well as centered in the middle of the cell. Also called a range, refers to a group of adjacent cells. A user-friendly, graphic representation of numeric and textual data. Sometimes called a graph. A place where text and numbers are temporarily placed after being cut or copied so that they can then be pasted where desired. A command that allows you to make an exact copy of selected text or numbers to be placed in another cell within the same worksheet or on any cell within another worksheet. A command that allows you to remove selected text or numbers from a cell so that you can place them in a different cell within the same worksheet or on any cell within another worksheet. A file containing large amounts of information organized into records, which contain individual pieces of information entered into fields. A predefined setting that is built into a program and will be present each time that program is run unless an alternative setting is specified. A box that pops up when you select certain commands, allowing you to select options and provide the computer with information to do the task. To add, delete, or change information in a worksheet. The name assigned to a workbook either automatically by the computer or by the user when saved. The visual design of characters. Also called a typeface. The way text and numbers appear in a cell, and the way cells appear in the worksheet. 8

9 Gridlines Labels Point Size Rename Sort Shortcut Menus Textual Numbers Lines that define the borders of columns, rows, and cells. Unless the option is selected, they will not print. Text placed in cells, usually at the beginning of rows and columns, to identify data content of other cells. The height of a character. 72 points = 1 inch. To change the name of a saved workbook. To change the order of cells to alphabetical, numerical, or some other predetermined, sequential order. Menus that appear when an object or text is right-clicked with the mouse. They allow you to perform common functions more quickly. Numbers that are not meant to be part of calculations, such as zip codes and phone numbers. Further Reading Suggestions These books and videos, available from the library, will help you learn more about the various versions of Microsoft Excel and how to use them. The version of Excel used at the library, Microsoft Excel 2002, may be different than the version you use on other computers at home, work, or school. Ask a librarian for more titles. Microsoft Excel 5 Microsoft Excel 5 for the Macintosh Step by Step by Catapult, Inc. Microsoft Excel 2000 Excel 2000 for Windows for Dummies by Greg Harvey Learning Excel 2000, Volume 1: Beginning (VHS) Microsoft Excel 2002 Absolute Beginner s Guide to Microsoft Excel 2002 by Joe Kraynak Microsoft Excel 2003 Excel Hacks by David E. Hawley Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2003 by Paul McFedries Microsoft Office Excel 2003 by John Cronan 9

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