How to Create a Simple Report in Excel

By Norm Dickinson

Microsoft Excel enables you to display a wide range of data with more visual appeal and user friendliness than the rows and columns that you use to set up the basic spreadsheet interface where you enter the raw data. You can create reports that display as charts and use borders and advanced number formatting. Numbers can be formatted for currency, dates, ZIP codes or phone numbers. Create eye-catching visual displays that bring data to life using advanced borders and clip art.

Step 1

Launch Excel with a new, blank workbook.

Step 2

Click the "Insert" tab and choose the "Header & Footer" icon in the Text group. Type a name for your report in the text field at the top of the report that appears.

Step 3

Click "Go To Footer" in the Navigation group on the Design tab. Type a report footer or click one of the choices in the "Header & Footer Elements" group such as "Page Number" or "Current Date" to insert that information in the footer.

Step 4

Click any of the data cells where it says "Click to Add Data" and then click "Normal" in the Workbook Views group on the View tab.

Step 5

Type some data labels into the first row and first column of the spreadsheet and press "Tab" to save the cell and move to the next column or press "Enter" to save the cell and move to the next row.

Step 6

Point the mouse cursor at the small line between the column letters until the cursor turns into a vertical line with two arrows pointing in opposite directions. Click and hold the mouse button and slide the column width to adjust it as needed. Release the mouse button when the column width is the right size for the data.

Step 7

Click in any cell to enter data into that cell and press "Tab" to save the cell and move to the next column or press "Enter" to save the cell and move to the next row.

Step 8

Point the mouse at the top-left corner of a range of cells that contain data that should be grouped together. Click and hold the mouse button down and drag the cursor to the lower-right corner of the data and release the mouse button to highlight (or "Select") the range of cells. Right-click on any cell in the highlighted range and click "Format Cells."

Step 9

Select a number format from the "Category" list on the "Number" tab of the "Format Cells" dialog box. Select from choices for the alignment of the data within the cells on the "Alignment" tab.

Step 10

Change the selected font size and typeface and apply a font color or attribute from the "Font" tab. Create a border for the selected data on the "Border" tab. Click "OK" when finished formatting the selected cells and repeat for other ranges of data on the spreadsheet.

Step 11

Select a range of cells containing data and labels for the data if desired. Click "Other Charts" from the "Charts" group of the "Insert" menu and click "All Chart Types" to display a list of all available charts. Click any of the listed charts and click "OK" to create a dynamic chart of the selected data automatically. Note that the chart automatically updates to reflect any changes made to the data in the selected region.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a learning spreadsheet to experiment with and learn techniques on practice data to avoid making changes to live data that affect other users of a spreadsheet.
  • Data that is too wide for a column will automatically be displayed in adjacent columns if the cells there are blank.
  • Never make changes to a live spreadsheet without creating a backup on the hard drive or an external device such as a network drive, USB flash drive or blank optical disc.