Introduction to MS Excel- Basics, Features, Benefits, Sample Questions

Safalta Expert Published by: Saksham Chauhan Updated Thu, 20 Apr 2023 06:06 PM IST


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There are several spreadsheet applications available, but Excel is the one that is most frequently used. It has been in use for the past 30 years, and throughout that time, it has been modified with an increasing number of functions. The nicest thing about Excel is that it can be used for numerous business functions, such as monitoring inventory and billing, forecasting, finance, data management, and business intelligence. In this article, we bring to you the important features of MS Excel, along with an overview of how to use the program, its benefits, and other important elements. A few sample MS Excel questions and answers are also given further below in this article for the reference of Government exam aspirants.  

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MS Excel: What is it?

You must first comprehend the three most crucial Excel features:

1. Cell: The tiniest but most useful component of a spreadsheet is a cell.


You have the option of entering or copying and pasting your data into a cell. Text, numbers, and dates all qualify as data. Additionally, you may alter its size, font color, background color, borders, and other features. A cell's address, which includes its column number and row number, serves as a unique identifier for each individual cell (If a cell is on the 11th row and on column AB, then its address will be AB11).

2. Worksheet: A worksheet is composed of individual cells, each of which may house text, a formula, or a value. Additionally, it contains an unseen sketch layer that stores diagrams, charts, and photos. Clicking the tab at the bottom of the workbook window will take you to each worksheet in the workbook. A chart sheet, which shows a single chart and is accessed by clicking a tab, can also be stored in a workbook.

3. Workbook: Every application has a distinct file, much like a workbook does. There are one or more worksheets in every workbook. A workbook is often referred to as a collection of worksheets or as a single worksheet. Worksheets may be added or removed, hidden without being deleted from the workbook, and the arrangement of your worksheets can be modified.

Data may be entered into MS Excel's spreadsheet application in the form of tables. Data analysis on an Excel spreadsheet is simple. An example of an Excel spreadsheet is shown in the image below:

excel basic with window components
  • A cell that is now chosen is said to be "active." A rectangle box will be used to emphasize it, and the address will be shown in the address bar. Clicking on a cell or using your arrow buttons will activate it. You may double-click a cell to modify it or use F2 instead.
  • Columns: A column is a row of cells arranged vertically. The total columns in a worksheet are 16384. From A to XFD, each column's identification alphabet is unique. By clicking on a column's heading, you may choose that column.
  • Rows: A row is a line of cells that is horizontal. The total rows in a worksheet are 1048576. Each row has a unique identifying number, ranging from 1 to 1048576. By clicking on the row number indicated on the window's left side, you can choose a certain row.
  • Fill Handle: The active cell's lower right corner has a tiny dot that serves as the fill handle. It aids in the filling of numerical values, text series, range inserts, serial number inserts, etc.
  • Address Bar: It displays the active cell's address. It will display the address of the first cell in the range if you have selected more than one cell.
  • Formula Bar: Below the ribbon, the formula bar is an input bar. It allows you to input a formula in a cell and displays the content of the currently active cell.
  • The title bar will display the name of your workbook, followed by the name of the corresponding program (in this case, "Microsoft Excel").
  • File Menu: Just like all other apps, the file menu is a straightforward menu. It offers possibilities like as (Save, Save As, Open, New, Print, Excel Options, Share, etc).
  • A toolbar that gives you rapid access to features you often use is called a quick access toolbar. You may add additional choices to the fast access toolbar to include your preferred selections.
  • Ribbon Tab: Beginning with Microsoft Excel 2007, ribbons have taken the place of all the options menus. Ribbon tabs are a collection of distinct choice groups that also include the option.
  • Worksheet Tab: This tab displays each and every worksheet that is included in the workbook. Your new workbook will initially have three worksheets with the names Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3, correspondingly.
  • The Excel window's status bar is a brief bar at the bottom. As soon as you begin using Excel, it will provide immediate assistance.

Options in Microsoft Excel

On an Excel spreadsheet, different editing and formatting options are available. The many functions of MS Excel are covered here.

The composition of features in MS Excel is depicted in the graphic below:
Features of MS Excel
  • Font size, font styles, font color, background color, alignment, formatting choices and styles, cell insertion and deletion, and editing options are all included on the home page.
  • Insert includes features including table format and style, picture and figure insertion, sparkline and graph addition, header and footer settings, equation input, and symbol input.
  • Under the page layout option, there are options for themes, orientation, and page configuration.
  • Formulas: Since MS Excel allows you to construct tables with a lot of data, you may use this function to add formulae to your table and receive speedier results. This category includes tools for adding external data (from the web), filtering choices, and data.
  • Review: An Excel sheet can have its proofreading completed (much as spell checking), and readers can leave comments in this section.
  • View: Here, we may adjust the various views in which we want the spreadsheet to be shown. Under this area, options for pane organization and zooming in and out are provided.

Advantages of MS Excel

  • Optimum data storage method
  • You have the mathematical ability.
  • a complete set of data analysis tools
  • Charts that make data visualization simple
  • Printing reports is simple.
  • using so many free templates
  • You can automate using code.
  • Clean up and transform data
  • Organize data with a lot of rows.
  • Excel is available for Internet and mobile use.
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Questions and Answers about MS Excel

1. Which key on the keyboard does Microsoft Excel help use?

2. What are the names of the cells where comments can be entered in an Excel worksheet?
 Cell Tip

3. Where is the MS Excel spreadsheet's page border option located?
Excel spreadsheet cannot add a Page Border.

4. Can someone duplicate a cell from your worksheet without your knowledge?
 It is indeed feasible. You must navigate to the Menu bar, Review, Protect Sheet, and Password in order to prevent someone from copying your spreadsheet. You may prevent people from copying your document by adding a password.

5. How can you rapidly add rows and columns in an Excel sheet?
 You may calculate the total sum of the rows and columns in an Excel spreadsheet by using the SUM function.

6. What does a red triangle in a cell's upper right corner mean?
The red triangle denotes that the cell has a remark attached to it. You can read the complete remark by moving the cursor over it.\

7. How do you add a new worksheet to Excel?
The insert worksheet tab may be found at the bottom of the screen to create a new Excel worksheet.

8. How can the column be resized?
You must first adjust the width of one column before dragging the border to the right of the column header to the desired width. The other method is to choose Format from the home tab, where you must choose AUTOFIT COLUMN WIDTH under the cell section. This will format the cell size when you click it.

9. How would you add a dynamic range to pivot tables' "Data Source"?
Create a named range using the offset function in order to offer a dynamic range in the "Data Source" of pivot tables, and then base the pivot table on the named range you just built.

10. What do MS Freeze Excel's Panes do?
Ans: To lock any row or column, freeze panes are used. The locked row or column will be visible on the screen even after we scroll the sheet vertically or horizontally.

What is pivot table and what are its uses?

PivotTables are powerful tools for calculating, summarizing, and analyzing data, allowing you to see comparisons, patterns, and trends in your data. PivotTables behave slightly differently depending on the platform you are using to run Excel.

Using pivot tables
Common uses for pivot tables include:
  • To calculate totals or averages in business situations. For example, count sales by department or region.
  • Display the total as a percentage of the whole. For example, compare the sales of a specific product with the total sales.
  • Generate a list of unique values. For example, show the state or country the product was ordered from.
  • How to create a 2x2 table summary for a complex report.
  • Identify the maximum and minimum values in your dataset.
  • Querying information directly from an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) server.

What is the formula to calculate percentage in excel?

You should enter the formula =C2/B2 in cell D2 and copy it to whichever many rows you need. Then By selecting the Percent Style button (Home tab > Number group), you can view the generated decimal fractions as percentages.

How to merge cells in excel?

Windows Excel Shortcuts for merging the cells 

Cells Merged: ALT H+M+M
ALT: Merge & Center H+M+C
ALT H+M+A to merge across
Cells to Unmerge: ALT H+M+U

Following are the steps through which you can merge cells 

1. Choose the cells that you want to combine.
2. Click one cell, then use your mouse to pick the other cells you want to merge by dragging it.
3. On the Home tab, click. It is located in the Excel window's upper left corner. The Home toolbar will now appear.
4. Select "Merge & Center" from the menu. This may be found under the Home tab's "Alignment" section.
5. By doing this, the selected cells will combine and have their content centered.

How to freeze cells in excel?

Following are the steps through which you can freeze the cells- 

1. You can freeze a specific row or cell by selecting it.
2. Open the View tab and select Freeze Panes.
3. From the dropdown list, choose Freeze Panes once more.
4. The worksheet that follows when you click Freeze Panes has a grey line after the third row.

Note- Only the rows at the top of the spreadsheet can be frozen in Microsoft Excel. The center of the sheet's rows cannot be locked. Make sure all of the necessary rows are visible at the time of freezing.

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