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Excel Spreadsheet Help: A Beginner’s Guide to Data Organisation

If you have never used Microsoft Excel before, it can all seem a little overwhelming. There are so many different tools and functions at your fingertips.

But with a little research and practice, you will be amazed by what you can accomplish with an Excel spreadsheet. You can turn a mountain of data into something comprehensible, you can create charts and graphs, and you can use formulas to forecast projections. In this article, we are going to break down everything that you need to know to start your first Excel spreadsheet and get organising that data. Let’s get started!

Getting Started With Your Excel Spreadsheet: Microsoft Excel Basics

The best place to start with Excel spreadsheet help is at the beginning. Don’t worry, you will get your bearings in no time. When you first open the programme, you will see a new blank worksheet.

Your worksheet is made up of a grid of cells. These cells are where you will input data, and they are aligned by vertical columns (labelled by letter) and horizontal rows (labelled by number). 

  1. Each cell is referred to by its column and row number, so the third cell along the top row will be cell C1.
  2. You can type your data directly into the cell, or into the taskbar that appears when you click on the cell.
  3. You can divide your workbook into different worksheets, and their tabs are at the bottom of the screen.
  4. When you have finished entering data into a cell, press ENTER or TAB to move to the next one.
  5. You can save your workbook by clicking Save, or Save As.

Once you have inputted the data that you want, you can start organising it. 

excel spreadsheet help

How to Organise Your Data using an Excel Spreadsheet

One of the simplest and most effective tools that Excel offers is organising data to make it more comprehensible, solving sums, and more.

There are a lot of different options for organising your data, so choose the one that works best for you. Here are the key steps to help you get started with your first workbook.

  1. Check if there’s a helpful ready-made template by clicking File then New.
  2. You can highlight key data by filling the cells with colour.
  3. Sort and filter data by alphabetical order or size by selecting the cells that you want to sort.
  4. Filter out cells that you don’t want to include by clicking the Sort and Filter button. 
  5. Tidy it up by using Wrap Text to ensure that all text is visible.

Once you are more confident, you can start using formulas to add up the totals of the cells in your sheet, add a number format, or create a graph or chart to represent your data.

excel spreadsheet highlighting cells

Benefits of Using an Excel Spreadsheet to Organise Your Data

Excel allows people to get to grips with all kinds of data, whether you are looking to store addresses for a mailing list or figure out where your money is going from your budget. 

Time-Saving Automation

If you start to work on lists Excel will start to predict cell values to save you time. Excel can sort and filter your data by the rules that you set.

You can also use macros, which are commands that are entered into cells to perform tasks, to save even more time.

Easy Accessibility

Create workbooks that you can share with your colleagues or clients to either show them what you are working on or invite them to work on or edit themselves.

Excel also allows its users to lock cells or spreadsheets if they do not want anything to be changed.

excel spreadsheet lock cells

Easy to Use

You can get to grips with Excel quickly. You don’t need to be an accountant to create a detailed budget, and you don’t need to be a programmer to use formulas. 

Your confidence will grow by trying out the wide range of tools that you can quickly learn how to use.

Common Excel Errors and How to Avoid Them

Excel will alert you to errors. There are several reasons why Excel may display an error message, but the specific cause will generally be pointed out by the message itself. 

Here are some of the most common Excel errors and how to avoid them.

#VALUE!

This will appear because one or more of the cells will contain a value that does not match the formula, like a rogue cell containing letters instead of numbers.

You can avoid this by double-checking the cells that you have included.

#DIV/0!

This error occurs when you are asking Excel to divide the value of two cells, but one of them is either blank or has a value of zero. You may have included the wrong cell or not added the data yet.

To avoid this, make sure you have added or checked the number value into the second cell.

excel spreadsheet DIV0

######

This means that you have entered a number into a cell that is too big to display. That number hasn’t gone anywhere, and you can see it by widening the width of the column that the cell is in.

To avoid this error, give yourself enough room in the cells to work in.

#NAME?

Do not be too alarmed if the #NAME? error appears when entering an equation. Excel does not understand the formula’s text, and it may be due to a typo.

To avoid this error, double-check that you have written the command correctly.

The Excel Experts Can Help with Your Spreadsheet Problems

You may be surprised by how quickly you start to pick up new skills, but you may need a little help getting to that point. 

Excel can make your life easier and help your business to save time and run more smoothly. At The Excel Experts, we are here to help you get to grips with these essential business tools.

We understand that you don’t have time to waste, which is why we offer tutorials and a range of services. Whether it’s helping you to complete a tough Excel project or giving on-site training, we can get you to where you need to be.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you with projects and training for you and your staff.

FAQs

What are the 5 basic functions of Excel?

The five basic functions of Excel come down to organising data and completing simple equations. Autosum, the IF function, the FIND function, the LOOKUPs (VLOOKUP (Vertical Lookup) and HLOOKUP (Horizontal Lookup)) and MATCH functions are the most commonly used with beginners. These can help you to find and organise your data.

What is the easiest way to learn Excel spreadsheet?

The easiest way to learn Excel spreadsheets is by following a tutorial for the specific task you want to use it for. Remember that there are so many different tasks that you can use Excel for, and at The Excel Experts we can help you get started with your needs.

How do I use Excel spreadsheets?

Excel spreadsheets are there to help you to organise data, to perform equations, and to display data visually through graphs and charts. To get started using a spreadsheet, simply open a new workbook and decide how you want to display your data in the cells that are arranged horizontally and vertically.

How can I practice Excel at home?

You can practice Excel at home by downloading the software onto your computer and seeing how you can arrange data yourself. Try some of the basic functions to learn how they work and check our resources if you get stuck. The Excel Experts have lots of different blog posts and articles to help with specific issues.

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