An electronic spreadsheet is used for analysing, sharing and managing information for accounting purpose, performing mathematical calculations, budgeting, billing, etc. A spreadsheet is a matrix of rows and columns similar to an accounting ledger.

The spreadsheet program also provides tools for creating graphs and inserting pictures etc, for analysing the data etc. Some examples of spreadsheet software are Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro-Pro, MS-Excel VisiCalc etc, in which VisiCalc is the oldest spreadsheet package.

Elements of Electronic Spreadsheet

• A spreadsheet which is also known as worksheet is an electronic document in which data is organised in the rows and columns of a grid and can be used in calculations. Each worksheet contains 1048576 rows and 16384 (XFD) columns.

• The intersection of each row and column is called cell. It may hold numbers, formulas, text, date and time, etc.

• A workbook is a document that contains one or more worksheets.

• A formula is an equation that calculates the value to be displayed. A formula when used in a worksheet, must begin with an equal to (=) sign.

• A cell pointer is a boundary that specifies which cell is active at particular moment.

• A cell address is recognised by column label and row number. e.g. C2 where, C is a column label and 2 is a row number. 

Opening of Spreadsheet

You may start MS-Excel by clicking the icon of MS-Excel or from start button. To open the spreadsheet:

Click at Start button → All Programs → MS-Office → MS-Excel 2007

By this the main window of MS-Excel 2007 will open on your screen like the following figure: 

The components of a spreadsheet window are as follows:

(i) Office button The office button is found at the top-left corner of the window. It contains many options like New, Open and Save, etc.

(ii) Quick access toolbar It is a customisable toolbar situated at the left-top corner of the window that contains a set of commands that are independent of the tab. These commands are those commands which are mostly used by the user.

(iii) Title bar The bar located at the top of the application window is called Title bar. It contains the name of the currently open document.

(iv) Ribbon It contains panel of commands which are organised into a set of tabs. Clicking a tab displays several command groups. Each group has related command buttons.

Some tabs and their groups are as follows: 

Home   Clipboard, Font, Alignment, Number, Styles, Cells, Editing.
InsertTables, Illustrations, Charts, links, Text. 
Page LayoutThemes, Page Setup, Scale to Fit, Sheet Options, Arrange.
FormulasFunction Library, Defined Names, Formula Auditing, Calculation.
DataGet External Data, Connections, Sort and Filter, Data Tools, Outline.
ReviewProofing, Comments, Changes.  
ViewWorkbook Views, Show/Hide, Zoom, Window, Macros

(v) Formula bar It displays the contents of the active cell. This could be a formula, data or just text.

(vi) Name box It is located on left of the formula bar. It displays the cell reference or the name of the active cell.

(vii) Worksheet MS-Excel consists of worksheets. Each worksheet contains columns and rows.

(viii) Workbook An Excel file is called a workbook. It contains several worksheets. By default, there are three worksheets in a workbook.

(ix) Column letter Columns run vertically on a worksheet and each one is identified by a letter in the column header.

(x) Row number Rows run horizontally in a worksheet and are identified by a number in the row header.

(xi) Active cell The cell with the black outline. Data is always entered into the active cell.

(xii) Sheet tabs The tab at the bottom of a worksheet tells you the name of the worksheet such as sheet 1, sheet 2, etc. Switching between worksheets can be done by clicking on the tab of the sheet which you wish to access.

(xiii) Status bar The status bar appears at the bottom of the workbook and provides such information like sum, average, etc.

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