ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Excel for Grannies - Part 1 - The Basics

Updated on February 25, 2013

What is Microsoft Excel?

Excel is a spreadsheet similar to a paper ledger. It allows you to place data into neat cells, columns and rows and can perform automatic calculations. They are extremely useful because if you change a value it automatically re-calculates and updates the spreadsheet.

The data is organized in Cells, Rows and Columns. The cells are each individual squares, the rows are the number on the left, and the columns are the letters at the top. Cells can customized, by changing colors, fonts, borders improve the presentation of your spreadsheet or to highlight key points.

In the screen shot below we can see that the Total cost is in Cell B4. Cell B4 contains a formula which multiplies B1 * B2. If you were to change any of the contents of B1 or B2 then the Total cost will be automatically updated.

Simple Addition

Let's look at how to find the total of a list of numbers. Looking at the below screen shot you can see that I have put fruit in Column A. Column B contains the numbers of each fruit. Cell B9 has the total number of all the fruit, which is a simple formula. The formula is =sum(B1:B8). The equals sign means a formula is to follow, sum means to add a range of numbers and (B1:B8) means use this range of cells. So to summarize it means add together all the numbers from Cells B1 to B8. Should you try changing any of the values of the fruit you'll notice how the formula is cell B9 get updated.

You will have noticed that there is a pound sign in the top example in Column B. This is done by formatting the cell. If you select the cell, then right click to open the sub-menu, select format, then select currency you will be able to choose the pound sign from the drop-down list. You can also set how many decimals places you want to display and other useful formats.

If you also have numbers in the C column, you could automatically add them up by copying and pasting the formula from cell B9 to C9. This will intelligently copy the same pattern into the adjacent column.

Finding the average

This is a very useful but simple function which automatically calculates the average from a list of numbers. Similar to Addition function, range goes inside the brackets. =AVERAGE(A1:A6) this cell will now contains the automatically calculated Average as in the screen shot to the right.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)