Excel

Updated: 08/08/2017 by Computer Hope

Microsoft ExcelCodenamed Odyssey, Excel is a software program from Microsoft that is part of the Microsoft Office suite of software programs. Developed by Microsoft and first released on September 30, 1985, Excel is capable of creating and editing spreadsheets that are saved with a .xls or .xlsx file extension. General uses of Excel include cell-based calculation, pivot tables, and various graphing tools. For instance, with an Excel spreadsheet, you could create a monthly budget, track business expenses, or sort and organize large amounts of data.

Unlike a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, the Excel documents consist of columns and rows of data, made up of individual cells. Each of these cells can contain either text or numerical values that can be calculated using formulas.

Excel overview

Below is an example of Microsoft Excel with each of its major sections highlighted. See the formula bar, cell, column, row, or sheet tab links for further information about each of these sections.

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

How can Excel be formatted?

Each of the rows, columns, and cells can be modified in many ways, including the background color, number or date format, size, text font, layout, etc. In our above example, you can see that the first row (row 1) has a blue background, bold text, and each cell has its text centered.

Download an example of a spreadsheet file

We've created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded and opened in any spreadsheet program including Microsoft Excel. This spreadsheet helps illustrate some of the capabilities of a spreadsheet, formulas, and functions used in a spreadsheet and allows you to experiment more with a spreadsheet.

Download example.xls

Formula, Function, Lookup, Multiplan, Spreadsheet