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Understanding the Basic Screen

Title Bar
Menu Bar
Toolbar
Formula Bar
Worksheet
Cells

Worksheet Tabs
Task Pane

When you first start Excel, a new, empty workbook is displayed on your screen. Many of the common elements of the Office suite are available from this workbook; title bar, menu bar, toolbars, a formula bar and a status bar.

Title Bar

The title bar is at the top of the screen and displays the application name (Excel) and the filename of the workbook. When you first open Excel the filename will be Book1. After you save your workbook, the title bar will amend itself to reflect the change. On the right of the title bar are minimize, maximize/restore and the close button, respectively.
 
title bar

 

Menu Bar

Underneath the title bar is the menu bar. The menu Bar gives you access to various commands throughout Excel. When you click on a menu a drop down list will appear showing you icons and keyboard shortcuts for various commands.
  menu bar
NOTE: Please note that the menu bars can change depending on what feature you are working with.

 

Toolbar

 

Just below the menu bar lies the standard toolbar. The Standard toolbar allows access to commands, such as new, open, and save, as well as cut, copy and paste.
 
standard toolbar

 

Formula bar

The Formula bar sits below the Standard toolbar and allows you to enter or edit values or formulas in cells or charts. The left hand area is the Name box which displays the active cell while the right hand area is the actual Formula Bar. The formula bar displays information about the active cell. The data in this area changes based on the information in the active cell. You can edit information in the formula bar.
 
formula bar

 

 

Worksheet

When you first open Excel, a workbook appears on the screen and displays the first worksheet. A worksheet is where you enter and organize your data. Worksheets are divided into a grid of rows and columns. A letter is associated with each column and a number is associated with each row. The intersection of each row and column is known as a cell.

 

 

Cells

Cells can contain text, numbers or formulas. Each cell is referenced by the cross section of the column and row. This reference is known as a cell name or cell address.

 

worksheet with active cell
When you click on a cell in the worksheet, it becomes "active" and its cell address is then displayed in the formula bar. You can visually tell that a cell is active by the dark border that surrounds the cell.

 

Worksheet Tabs

By default, each new Excel workbook contains three identical worksheets named, Sheet1, Sheet2 and Sheet3. Each worksheet is identified by a worksheet tab at the bottom of the window. To switch between worksheets, you click the worksheet tab you want to display and that worksheet than appears as the active worksheet. You can name or rename a worksheet at any time by double-clicking the worksheet tab to select the title and then simply typing a new name.
 
worksheet tabs

 

 

Task Pane

The Task Pane appears on the right hand side of the screen when you first open the Excel application. This pane allows you to access commands for a specific task without having to use the menus or toolbars.

The Task Pane allows you to:

  • Open a workbook
  • Create a New Workbook
  • Create a New Workbook from a list of templates
task pane

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