Microsoft Excel Overview

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What is Microsoft Excel?

Almost every company stores and retrieve its data in Excel. Hence, from job prospects, learning Excel is a good decision. In this Microsoft Excel Overview, you’ll get to know about the tabs, groups, and options in detail.

You may already know that Microsoft Excel is an important part of Microsoft Office. It is a spreadsheet developed for windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, used in recording and storing data in the form of sheets. MS Excel is commonly used by marketers, accountants, data analysts, and other professionals, as it has a lot of functions that help us in organizing data in a systematic manner.

Microsoft Excel has made it easy to store and organize data in tabular form with pictures and charts. Many new features are now available in newer versions of Microsoft Excel.


Some basic terms that you must know before starting with MS excel:

  1. Cell – Each box in a spreadsheet in which we input our data is known as a cell.
  2. Rows – These are the horizontally arranged cells. And there are 10, 48,576 rows in one spreadsheet.
  3. Columns – These are vertically arranged cells. And there are 16,384 total columns in a spreadsheet.
  4. Tabs – Tabs are here to perform particular functions, such as changing layout, font, size, adding or deleting row/column, etc.
  5. Groups – Every tab is divided into multiple groups. In which similar functions are categorized.
  6. Range – It is a group of cells arranged next to each other.
  7. Formula Bar – It shows the data of a selected cell. Also, it is used to apply formulas and functions in a cell or a range of cells.
  8. Workbook – In Excel, multiple sheets together are known as a workbook.

Creating a new file in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel has now included so many formats to make our work easier. When we open excel we see an option to open our recent workbook or to create a new one. For creating a new workbook we will select ‘Blank Workbook’.

But, if you have very little time, so Excel has so many pre-designed templates also. Like billing statements, expense reports, personal monthly budgets, time cards, sales reports, report cards, etc. You can also search for any other template and can recreate it as per need.

Microsoft Excel First page

Introduction to the ribbon

The ribbon of Microsoft Excel contains tabs and icons at the top of the excel window. It opens up so many functions like formatting text, formatting tables, inserting an image, table, or charts, inserting an equation, changing layouts, setting backgrounds, putting formulas, and many more.

Ribbon in MS Excel

Tabs In Microsoft Excel

  • Home Tab
  • Insert Tab
  • Page Layout Tab
  • Formulas Tab
  • Data Tab
  • Review Tab
  • View Tab
  • Format Tab
  • Design Tab

Home tab overview in Microsoft Excel

This Tab allows us to change the color, font, and size of the text. It contains some basic options too like cutting/copying text. The groups this tab include are, clipboard, font, alignment, number, styles, and cells.

Groups in Home Tab:

  • Clipboard: It contains options like cut, copy, paste, and format painter. Format painter allows us to copy the format of one cell to the number of cells.
  • Font: This group consists of all the functions that are used in the formatting of text. Here we can change the font, size, and color of the text. We can also add a different background color to a particular cell and can make a text look bold, italic, and underlined.
  • Editing: It allows us to perform mathematical calculations in a cell, table, or row. And also helps in finding a particular cell or data.
  • Alignment: It changes the alignment of the text in a cell or in a range of cells.
  • Number: Here, we can set formats of cells like accounting, percentage, currency, etc. to indicate the type of information the cell is providing.
  • Styles: For giving style to a cell or range of a cell we use this group. Also, for changing the color of the table or cell and giving them a unique style.
  • Cells: It allows us to insert, delete or format any row, column or cell.
  • Editing: This group enables us to perform mathematical calculations in a cell, table or row. And contains the ‘Find&Select’ option to find a particular cell or data.

Insert tab overview in Microsoft Excel

As the name says, this tab allows us to insert pictures, charts, shapes, equations, etc. For being clearer to the user, the tab is categorized into some groups which are tables, illustrations, apps, charts, reports, sparklines, filters, links, text, and symbols.

Groups in Insert Tab:

  • Tables: We can create a table to organize and sort specific data. It is easy to filter or search a particular table in the whole spreadsheet. Also, by using a Pivotal table option we can arrange and summarize complex data.
  • Illustrations: In this group, we can insert pictures, shapes, or screenshots. Here we can also insert a picture directly from the internet by using ‘Online Picture’. This group also allows us to create shapes or objects in a spreadsheet.
  • Charts: This function allows us to transform our data into charts. There are various types of charts like column charts, line charts, pie charts, area charts, etc. We can design our charts in design tabs by changing the font or colors of the chart.
  • Links: You can add a link of any other document, picture, or data that will be permanently stored in a cell, which you can open anytime by simply clicking on it. It keeps your data safe and organized.
  • Text: This group provides text-related options. Like, we can add a text box in our spreadsheet, add word art, and can also add a header and footer.
    • Header & Footer –This is the text that will be added to the top and the bottom of every page. Usually, it is used for showcasing some basic information about the document like name, date, and time.
  • Equation: This group plays an important role in performing mathematical operations in Excel. We can add a common mathematical equation using this. Like the area of the circle or quadratic formula. Or we can create our equation by using the library of math’s symbols and structures.

Page layout tab overview in Microsoft Excel

This tab allows us to change the layout of our spreadsheet or we can style our whole sheet by using this tab. There are a few groups in this tab which are themes, page setup, scale to fit, and sheet options.

Groups in Page Layout Tab:

  • Themes: As for representing specific data, it is good to add a theme. It will make our data look neat and clean with the same format for each cell. There are many themes in Excel, which help to give the right look to our spreadsheet. Each theme has unique fonts and styles. In this group, we can also edit any given theme by adding our own colors and effects.
  • Page setup: This group allows us to change page orientation, set margins, add a background in a spreadsheet, etc.
  • Arrange: This group allows us to align objects. It also helps in bringing forward any object or sending it back to make sure that the important things are clearly visible.

Formula tab overview in Microsoft Excel

This tab plays a crucial role in recording such data which includes mathematical operations. The groups in this tab are function library, defined names, formula auditing, and calculations.

Groups in Formula Tab:

  • Function library: In this group, we can easily pick any mathematical function to get input in a particular cell. It allows us to add financial functions, mathematical and trigonometric functions, logical functions, etc. to add in our sheet. Using the data in other cells we can get the result in our selected cell.
  • Formula Auditing: Here you can evaluate your formula and also check the errors.

Data tab overview in Microsoft Excel

It is used in storing a large amount of data. It can import data from the web or from other sources. The data tab is helpful in sorting and filtering specific data. It contains groups like getting external data, connections, sort&filter, data tools, and outline.

Groups in Data Tab:

  • Get External Data: It allows the user to import data from external sources. By using this we can import data from Access, the internet, and other sources.
  • Sort & Filter: It sorts data as per the command. Sorting helps in finding data easily. In MS Excel we can sort data in many ways.
  • Data tools: This group enables us in identifying duplicate cells and remove them. Here we can also split a single-column text into multiple columns. For example; if you have a list of full names, you can separate them as one list of names, and the other of surnames. You can separate them by using a symbol like a full stop, colon, etc.

Review tab overview in Microsoft Excel

This tab contains all the necessary options to review your data. Here you can check your spelling, can do research as well as can translate data. There are four groups in this tab, which are proofing, language, comments, and changes.

Groups in Review Tab:

  • Proofing: Here you can check your spelling and research using the encyclopedia. As well as if you are out of words so here you can search for similar words or vocabulary too.
  • Language: This group allows us to change the language of the text.
  • Changes: This group allows us to share our workbook with other people. It includes some other options too, such as protect sheet/ workbook. By protecting your sheet/workbook it will be restricted for others to make changes in the workbook/sheet.

View tab overview in Microsoft Excel

This bar provides different options for viewing the sheets in an Excel workbook. It also provides options for viewing different windows in Excel, for enlarging or reducing the size of the worksheet. It also provides us with an option to view rulers and guidelines if needed. The groups in this tab are Workbook views, show, zoom, Windows, and macros.

Format tab in Microsoft Excel

This tab appears when you insert any image, chart, table, etc. It enables us to make changes in the picture like adjusting its brightness, setting a frame of the image, cropping the image, etc. By using this tab we can also make changes to the text in charts and tables, like changing the font of the data in charts or tables.

Design Tab in Microsoft Excel

It is used to give an attractive look to our charts and tables. It allows us to make changes to the tables and charts. Excel has some pre-designed tables also that we can use to give style to our table. Here we can also give a different name to our table.

Design Tab in Microsoft Excel

Benefits of using Microsoft Excel

Using Microsoft Excel is beneficial in many ways. Some of them are,

Here, it is easy to Store data

It is easy to store a large amount of data in MS Excel. As filtering information and analyzing data is easy in MS Excel. Hence, it is widely used in official works.

Excel is Secure

MS Excel is also popular because it gives security to our data. It keeps our data safe and organized. The workbook or spreadsheet can be protected by a password. More on, we can add restrictions on others so that they can’t make any changes to our data.

Data in one place

Earlier, we need to write everything separately. It was not easy to keep those registers updated and organized. But now just because of Excel, we can store a particular type of data in one place.

Microsoft Excel shortcut keys

Close a workbookCtrl+W
Open a workbookCtrl+O
Go to the Home tabAlt+H
Save a workbookCtrl+S
Remove cell contentsDelete
Choose a fill colorAlt+H, H
Go to the Insert tabAlt+N
Center align cell contentsAlt+H, A, C
Go to the Page Layout tabAlt+P
Go to the Data tabAlt+A
Go to the View tabAlt+W
Open context menuShift+F10, or context key
For more shortcut keys, click here.

I hope this article was helpful. If it was, then do let us know in the comments below. Also, if you're interested in similar articles then, here are a few recommendations for you. 

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