Parts of a Microsoft Excel Environment Window

By Stephanie Ellen

Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that can help you input, track and analyze a huge amount of data. In order to work optimally in the Microsoft Excel environment window, you should be familiar with the main parts of the window that make Excel work: the toolbar (sometimes called the "ribbon"), the spreadsheet itself, and the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) window that allows you to customize Excel to fit your needs.

The Toolbar

The Excel toolbar is where you'll click to perform actions on your data. A series of tabs running across the top of the toolbar have categories that you can click to see available options. For example, the "Home" tab has many basic formatting techniques (like bold, italics and underline) while the "Insert" tab gives you options for inserting and manipulating pictures, charts and other objects in your spreadsheet.

Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2007 is located to the top left of the regular toolbar. It has icons that you can delete and add to. For example, if you find yourself running a particular function or macro, you can add a button in the Quick Access Toolbar instead of having to navigate submenus in the toolbar each time. In Excel 2003 you can add a custom toolbar, which essentially functions the same way.

Spreadsheet Area

The spreadsheet itself takes up most of the room in the Excel window. The spreadsheet is laid out in columns and rows, which may be labeled with letters or numbers. A typical spreadsheet might have letters along the top row as column identifiers and numbers across the left-hand column as row identifiers. This is known as "A1" style. You might also have "R1C1" style, which uses numbers for both rows and columns. Each cell on the worksheet can be typed in, formatted and otherwise manipulated independently or in tandem with other cells. At the base of the spreadsheet, a tab indicates which sheet of the workbook you are working in.

VBE Window

The Visual Basic Editor (VBE) is where you can enter VBA code and customize your workbook. The window is reached by pressing "Alt" and "F11" on your keyboard. You can toggle between the worksheet and the VBE window by pressing that key combination. The VBE has a toolbar for use with writing VBA, and sidebars that tell you what macros (pieces of executable code) are attached to the worksheet.