Bookmark and Share

Excel Basics

This lesson will focus on the "must knows" of Microsoft Excel. We will teach you how to create a new file, save, open, close and undo changes within Excel. If you have experience in any other office program, then most of this information will probably be a simple review.

Advertise on Tizag.com

Excel Basics: Create a New File

Before you can start learning to use Excel, you need to create a new workbook that will store your data. To create a new Excel workbook follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel
  2. With the mouse, go to the Excel menu bar and left-click the File menu



  3. Within the File menu find and left-click New
  4. There should now be a New Workbook pane on the right side of your Excel program



  5. Left-click Blank Workbook to create a new workbook

Excel Basics: Save a New File

Saving frequently, especially after major changes, is a very important practice you should pick up. Lucky for you, saving in Excel takes only a second and in time you'll probably be doing it without any thought!

  1. Add some data to your currently blank spreadsheet
  2. On the keyboard push Ctrl + S (press and hold the control key then push S key while still holding down control) to save your work!
  3. If this is the first time saving the current file then you will be greeted with a Save As popup



  4. At the bottom of this popup is a field labeled File name and currently contains the text "Book1.xls". Replace this with any name you want to give your file, we have chosen "TizagBasics" for this example



  5. Before you press Save, pay attention to where you are saving your file to. The default location Excel saves to is the My Documents folder and we suggest you save there if you are not very comfortable with navigating the Windows File System.

Pushing Ctrl + S will just save your file after you have specified a filename in step 5. We recommend that you save your file at least every 5 minutes. It only takes a second and just think how happy you'll be if your computer crashes or the power goes out and you won't have to worry about losing information!

Remember, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S often!

Excel Basics: Open an Existing File

Now that we have a saved file we can attempt to open an existing file. If you name your file the same as we did then we're going to have a scavenger hunt for the file named "TizagBasics.xls". To open a file in Excel just follow these three steps:

  1. Go to the Excel menu bar and left-click the File menu
  2. Within the File menu find and click the Open choice
  3. If this is the first time saving the current file then you will be greeted with a Open popup



  4. You should currently be in the "My Documents" folder, if not please navigate there.
  5. Find your file "TizagBasics.xls" and double-click the file to open it.

Excel Basics: Close a File

There are two options for closing your Excel file. You can close your file but keep Excel open or you can close your file along with Excel. To only close your file follow these steps:

  1. Click the lower of the two X's that appear in the top right.
  2. If you have made any changes to your file you will be prompted to save before you quit, you should do so.



To close both your file and Excel follow these steps:

  1. Click the upper X that appears in the top right. Notice that this X rests on a raised gray square.
  2. If you have made any changes to your file you will be prompted to save before you quit, you should do so.



Excel Basics: Undo Changes

This could quite possible be the greatest invention man has ever created! The ability to undo a mistake without having to start over! If you're like me, you make more than your fair share of mistakes, especially early in the morning. In Excel there is a quick and easy shortcut to undo mistakes.

  1. Make a bunch of mistake in your Excel spreadsheet (this may be easier for some)
  2. Using the keyboard press Ctrl + Z (press and hold the control key and press the Z key while still holding down control)
  3. Notice that your last change was just undone!
  4. Continue to press Ctrl + Z until all your mistakes have been undone

For undoing a lot of mistakes just hold down the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z. Be careful though, it goes quite fast when you hold it down!

Excel Basics: Redo Changes

Chances are you will accidentally undo something that was not a mistake sometime while using Excel. Good thing there's an undo for undo, aptly referred to as redo. To reverse your undo follow these steps:

  1. Undo something you don't want to undo
  2. Using the keyboard press Ctrl + Y (press and hold the control key and press the Y key while still holding down control)
  3. Notice that your last undo was just reverted!
  4. Continue to press Ctrl + Y until all your accidental undos have been "redone".


Found Something Wrong in this Lesson?

Report a Bug or Comment on This Lesson - Your input is what keeps Tizag improving with time!

Advertise Here

More Tutorials!
Microsoft Office Tutorials Artist Tutorials