In order to fully understand what a spreadsheet is and how it works, it is helpful to know what the parts of a spreadsheet are and what they do. You will notice that a spreadsheet is divided into letter columns and numbered rows. Where a letter and number intersect is called a cell. For example, where column A and row 1 intersect is a cell with the address of “A1”.

To enter data into the spreadsheet, click on the cell where you would like a specific piece of data to be. Type the data you wish to enter. The data will appear in the Entry bar at the top of the spreadsheet. The data will remain in the Entry bar until you hit return or until another cell is made active. Data can be entered as numbers or text.


Learn how to add functionality to your spreadsheet by adding formulas to complete calculations.

It is possible to set up your spreadsheet to calculate totals, averages, and/or percentages of the data that you have entered. To perform a spreadsheet calculation, you will enter a function in a cell. A function is a mathematical formula that includes the address(es) of cells and a mathematical operation. Spreadsheet formulas always begin with the equals sign “=”. For example, if you want to add data in cell A1 and B1 together, the formula you would enter in C1 would look something like this: =A1+B1. It is also possible to do calculations on a range of cells, to get a grand total for example. To calculate and display a grand total, you are going to use the function called SUM. For example, If you wanted a grand total of all the data in cell range A1 to A5, the formula you would insert into cell A6 would look something like this: =SUM(A1..A5).


These are a few examples of spreadsheet formulas and what operations they perform.


Use what you have learned to create a simple spreadsheet to calculate the totals of a book order you are about to send in to a company. The spreadsheet will help you keep track of the amount each student ordered as well as calculate the total amount your entire class ordered. First, create a new spreadsheet. In cell A1, type “Name”--you will use this as a column heading. In cell B2, type “Amount”. Then type students’ names down column A, and then type the total amount of each students’ book order down column B. Select the numeric data down column B, and change the format to currency. At the end of your students’ names, enter the label “Total”. At the end or your data in column B enter in the formula that looks something like this: =SUM(B2..B15). Be sure that this cell is formatted for currency. The total of your book order will appear.


**It is possible to change the format of numbers, dates, and times in your spreadsheet. For example, if your spreadsheet deals with money, you would want numbers in your spreadsheet to be formatted for money. Also, you can choose how you want dates and times to appear in your spreadsheet. To change the format of a cell, select the desired cell or range of cells, and then go to the “Format” pull down menu and drag to “Number...”, the Number Format dialogue box will appear. Select the format you would like the cell or range to have and then click “OK”.