Features of MS Excel 2003

MS Excel can be customized in a way that suits a user to achieve his goal. It is extensively used in financial organizations. The features of MS Excel are as follows:

Workbooks: A document in MS Excel is called a workbook. Each workbook contains sixteen worksheets by default. A user can change this number by resetting the default options. Worksheets within workbooks make it easy to bind files of related information. When a user opens a workbook, he can use all the worksheets to perform a task. To create a workbook, a user will have to select the New command from the File menu. To open an existing workbook, a user will have to select the Open option from the File menu. A user can insert a worksheet between two worksheets by choosing the Worksheet option from the Insert menu.

Using keyboard: The following table provides different keyboard shortcuts for selecting a row, column, current cell, worksheet, etc.

To Select Keyboard Shortcuts

Current Cell Enter

Entire Column CTRL+Spacebar

Entire Row hift+Spacebar

Entire Worksheet CTRL+SHIFT+Spacebar

A user can perform various kinds of entries in a cell. He can enter text, number, data, and time in a cell. He can also enter some special characters such as $ % + – / ( ). He can also enter date and time in a cell. He can select different formats for date and time according to his own requirements.

Entering Data in Series: A user can fill a range of cells either with the same value or with the series of values. This can be done using the Autofill handle (small square on the bottom-right corner of the active cell).

Cell References: MS Excel provides three types of cell references: relative, absolute, and mixed. Relative references refer to the cell relative to the given position. Absolute references refer to the specific cell irrespective of the position of the formula. The ‘$’ sign is used to denote an absolute reference. Mixed references are a combination of both relative and absolute references. It has one absolute co-ordinate and one relative co-ordinate. $CI and C$1 are both examples of mixed references.

MS Excel allows fast searching and instant replacing of data. To search or replace the data entered by a user, he can use the Find or Replace command from the Edit menu.

Inserting or Deleting Rows and Columns:

MS Excel provides the facility to insert rows or columns into the existing worksheet. Inserting a row of data shifts the rest of the rows down and removes the last row of the worksheet. Similarly, inserting a column shifts the rest of the columns to the right and deletes the rightmost column. This occurs because the total number of rows and columns remain the same in any case.

MS Excel provides several formatting features that enhance the appearance of the data, which is presented in the worksheets. Some of them are described as follows: MS Excel allows setting up a page before printing. To set up a page, a user will have to open the File menu and click on the Page Setup. The Page Setup dialog box will appear that will allow the user to set the paper size, orientation of the data, scaling of the area, set the left, right, bottom, and top margin, set the header and the footer, etc.

MS Excel provides the autofit selection that adjusts the width of the column according to the widest entry in that column. A user can hide or unhide certain rows or columns. He can also provide the default column standard width.

MS Excel allows a user to align the characters in different ways by using the Alignment tab page of the Format Cells dialog box. The dialog box provides a number of alignment options.

Horizontal Alignment options:

General: The text is left aligned and the numbers are right aligned. This is the default status.

Left: Aligns the contents to the left of the cell.

Center: Aligns the cell contents to the center of the cell.

Right: Aligns the contents to the right of the cell.

Fill: Fills the selected cells with the single character.

Justify: This option is selected with multiple lines of text as it wraps the contents from left to right.

Vertical Alignment options:

Top: Aligns the text at the top of the cell.

Center: Places the text in the center of the cell.

Bottom: Aligns the text on the bottom of the cell.

Justify: Wraps the text from top to bottom.

MS Excel provides a facility of viewing the same worksheet simultaneously in more than one window. This is accomplished by selecting the New Window command in the Windows menu. A user can also create more than one window to arrange the workspace to promptly access the information needed. Using MS Excel, a window can be arranged in different ways by using the Arrange command from the Windows menu.

If a user wants to move between different windows, he can do so by pressing Ctrl+F6 to go to the next window or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F6 to go to the previous window. He can temporarily hide or unhide windows by choosing the Hide command in Window menu to hide the active window or by choosing the Unhide command in the Window menu to unhide the hidden window.

When a user works on a very large worksheet with row and column headings, the row headings scroll off to the left when he moves towards the right. Similarly, when he moves down to see the data, the column headings scroll up. To overcome this problem, he can split the active window into two, with row or column headings in one window and the data on the other window.

Controls: The controls are the special objects, which enhance user interface and facilitate user input. MS Excel provides several custom controls such as list boxes, check boxes, and dialog boxes, etc. A large number of toolbars are found in the View menu. Users can add a toolbar or a number of toolbars into the working document depending upon the work involved and use different controls in their documents.

Functions and formulas: The built-in formulas are called functions. MS Excel provides analyzing data and manipulating text by using different functions. Users can easily calculate percentage, interest, average, etc. by using built-in functions. This can be done either by typing in the function-based formulas or by using function wizards. Formulas are widely used in simple computing (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and advanced computing. They provide the power to analyze data extensively.

Auto-calculation: MS Excel spreadsheet allows a user to automatically recalculate the whole worksheet every time a change is made in a single cell. There are basically two kinds of recalculations.

Automatic: In this type of calculation, the change in the value of the cell automatically recalculates the whole worksheet.

Manual: In this type of calculation, the recalculation of the complete worksheet is performed by pressing the F9 key. This option can be selected on the Calculation tab page of the Options dialog box, which is opened by choosing Options from the Tools menu.

Charts: One of the most important features of MS Excel is a chart. MS Excel allows users to view data entered as tables in a graphical form as charts, which helps a user to easily understand, analyze, and compare data. Excel allows its users to create either two-dimensional charts or three-dimensional charts. A user can enhance the chart by adding chart items, such as data labels, a legend, titles, text, and gridlines. He can also do formatting on these items by using colors, alignment, fonts, and other formatting attributes. MS Excel also allows users to view charts along with the data by using embedded charts. These charts are included in the worksheet and can be copied, moved, and resized in the same way as can be done with any other graphical object.

Database: Data are raw facts, information is processed data, and a database is an organized collection of information. Every organization heavily depends upon databases to store, retrieve, and maintain different kinds of data. MS Excel provides all this in the form of its database feature. In MS Excel, database can be created in two ways:

Enter the data in the form of table in the worksheet.

Use the Data Form command

Records can be inserted, deleted, and sorted by using the Data menu.

With the above-described features of MS Excel, users can perform almost all the operations they want in a very efficient and easy way. Its advanced features have made it the first choice for professionals working in a financial organization to perform their lengthy tasks in an easy way and in a quick manner. Therefore, MS Excel has become the most preferred choice for most of the users as well as professionals throughout the world.