Welcome to introduction to Excel 2003. This tutorial was designed both for users who are new to Excel or have very little experience using the functionality of Excel. It assumes that you have at least some familiarity with operating Microsoft office applications, for example opening and closing documents and using toolbars. Although it uses what is now the most recent version of MS Excel, you will most likely find that the lessons in this tutorial will work on earlier versions.
Excel offers an enormous number of possible functions, tools and options for use. Because there are so many things to learn, the approach of this tutorial is to give you a solid understanding of the basic functionality of Excel, show you a few essential tools and then explain certain specific uses that you might find helpful for completing tasks and operations related to the library and information science field.
If you’re new to Excel, you might be wondering when you should choose to use it over the all of the other different MS office applications and even those products on other platforms. This is not an easy question to answer in a generalized way. Excel is a spreadsheet program, which means that it is an application made up of a matrix of cells in which you can enter, store and perform numerous all kinds of manipulations, analysis and computations with data.
I’d like to begin by demonstrating a few things in this already open Excel file to show you just how robust an application Excel truly is.
The first example is a worksheet called grades. I get to this worksheet by selecting the corresponding tab at the bottom of the screen. The grades worksheet shows the numeric test scores of ten students, their corresponding letter grades, a summary of the total grades and a pie chart depicting their overall performance. To arrive at the letter grade, I’ve used a conditional formula that expresses number grades as letters. The grade summary then counts how many of each letter grade appears in the column and that information is then graphed in a pie chart. By the end of this tutorial, you will have learned how to create something very similar to this.
This next example depicts the results of a research project intended to test whether or not students who got significantly less sleep performed worse on an examination than others who got a sufficient amount of sleep. Using formulas already built into Excel, I’ve calculated the mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and performed a t-Test on the data. These are just a few of the many powerful statistical tools Excel has that you might find useful.
This next worksheet is an actual example pulled from the Web showing you how Excel is sometimes made to look like a paper form. This example from North Carolina shows public library statistics formatted to a paper-sized form.
Here, I’m using a built in feature of Excel called Smart Tags. In this example I’ve typed a stock symbol, in this case IMCL for IMCLONE, and Excel goes and retrieves the most current information on this stock from the Web. I’ve also added a conditional statement here to remind me to sell my stock if the price falls below $60.
This last worksheet is an example of Excel’s solver tool. Solver is used when there are multiple options, variables and rules in a given formula and you want to know which set of options would be the most efficient to use based on some criteria you have. In this example, solver is showing the least expensive staffing option given a set of requirements about employee time and wages.