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2.2 Creating, Saving, and Retrieving Data

You can also start Microsoft Excel without clicking on a link. Here is a quick overview of creating, saving, and retrieving data:

To start Excel, click on the "Start" button and search for an entry labeled "Microsoft Excel". You might need to click "All Programs" to see that entry, or it might be located directly on your desktop. If you are using Windows 8, look on the "Start" screen for the Excel icon.

If you can not find any of these entries, double click on the desktop icon "My Computer", then "Drive C" and then on the "Program Files" folder. If you double-click on a folder named "Microsoft Office" it should contain another folder named "Office10" or "Office 11" or "Office 12", which in turn will contain the "Excel" program. Double-click that Excel icon to start the program. Alternatively, if you are using Windows 8, swip on the right side of the screen to bring up the Charms menu, tap Search, and type "Excel".

If you still can not find Excel, you may not have the program installed properly, and you should call the help desk at extension x2222.

Practice: Start Microsoft Excel now.

Once Excel is open, you can enter data by clicking on a particular cell, then typing text, numbers, or formulas. If you move to another cell by clicking on it,your changes will be entered into the current cell. You can also:

Practice: What's the label of the last column in Excel? How many rows can an Excel spreadsheet contain? Move to the cell A1 and enter the numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, one number per cell, in the cells A1 to A10.

Excel tries to format your data based on what you enter. Numbers, for example, are right-aligned while text is left-aligned. To ensure that Excel treats your input the way you want t

Excel knows many formulas, and we will get to know some of them as our course progresses. For now, we will introduce the sum formula, which will compute the sum of all numeric entries in a specified range of cells.

Practice: Enter your name in cell A12. Enter the formula

into cell A11, typing it exactly as shown.

You can save the data you worked on last just as in every other Microsoft Windows application (select File | Save or click the disk-like icon on the toolbar), and you can, of course, retrieve your data again any time. Please make sure to remember the folder in which you saved your data.

Practice: Save the data you created (it should contain the numbers 10 through 100, their sum, and your name). 

There is a lot more to know and learn about Excel. For additional details, you could take a course  or workshop about Excel through CTC or TLTC, or you could work through the extensive Microsoft Office Help documentation available by selecting "Help | Microsoft Excel Help". If the "Office Assistant" shows up, click on "Options" and un-check the "Use Office Assistant" checkbox. Then select "Help | Microsoft Help" again to see a list of all available topics.