Step-by-Step Instructions for Making an Excel Spreadsheet

By Stephanie Ellen

Microsoft Excel is an ideal program to use in order to organize and manipulate vast amounts of data. However, the software may seem overwhelming at first. If you are faced with trying to figure out how to use Microsoft Excel to make a basic Excel spreadsheet, the best way is to learn by doing. Start entering data and try a few different basic formatting methods. Soon you'll start to feel comfortable with the software.

Things You'll Need

  • Excel 2007 or Excel 2010

Step 1

Start Microsoft Excel. Double click on the Desktop icon and Excel will open with a blank spreadsheet. If you cannot locate the Desktop icon, click on the "Start" or "Microsoft" button, and then click on "All Programs." Click on "Microsoft Office," and then click on "Microsoft Excel."

Step 2

Click on cell "A1" and enter a name for the column. For example, if you are making a budget, then you might type "Income." Data in Excel are entered in columns for easy formatting and insertion of formulas and functions.

Step 3

Enter your other column headings in row 1. In the budget sheet example, click on cell "B1" and then type "Amount," then click on cell "C1" and type "Expenses" and then click on cell "D1" and type "Amount." If you have other column heading you want to enter, click on cell "E1" and continue working right through the worksheet.

Step 4

Enter the data into your columns. Click on cell "A2" and type your first item. In the budget example, this could be "Mortgage." Press the "Right arrow" key to move the cursor to cell "B2" and then type the corresponding amount. If your mortgage is "$1,000" then type "$1,000" into cell "B2."

Step 5

Add up the numbers in a column by using "Autosum." Highlight all of the data in a column that you want to add, click the "Home" tab and then "Autosum" to add up the entire column. To highlight data in a column, left click on the top left of the first item and then drag the cursor to the bottom right of the column. You can also click on the column identifier to highlight the entire column. The column identifier is the number or letter at the very top of the column.

Step 6

Format your cells by highlighting them, and then clicking on "Format Cells." The pop up window gives you a myriad of choices to align cells, choose borders and fill, and select the type of data you want in cells. In the budget example, you may want to make sure all of your entries are in dollars. Click on the "Number" tab, click on "Currency" and then choose the type of currency you would like to have by clicking on the down arrow next to "Currency."

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to change the font in your cells, hold the "Ctrl" and "Shift" and "F" keys together to bring up the "Format Cells" dialog box with the "Font" tab selected.