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Microsoft Excel 2013 - Overview

Excel Workbook also known as Excel database or Excel, may look like a mere data entry application tool to many of us, but it is a very powerful analyzing tool extensively used by experts in most of the companies. It is integrated with many Microsoft Products like VBA and Power Query etc. We can also extent it's functionality by adding several add ins and plugins which help to connect Excel to other software programs. Data from several software can be imported into Excel and can be thoroughly analyzed and can be displayed in charts. Excel has got many inbuilt templates for personal use and official use.

Why Excel?

  • Excel is a user friendly application, an ANALYSIS TOOL, which is cheaper in cost and has salient feature to do analysis, which adds more values to users.
  • Excel has several functions(predefined programs) related to Financial, Date & Time, Maths & Trig, Statistical, Lookup & Reference, Database, Text, Logical, Information, Engineering, Cube, Compatibility, and Web. So it has its presence in almost all industry.
  • With Excel, you can do personal calculation, business calculation, forecasting, formatting, conditional formatting, and analysis of data in a detailed manner. Several templates are free in Excel.
  • With VBA (Visual Basic Application), you can create MACROS and to run the programs automatically. Note: VBA Programming is embedded in Excel 2013 itself.
  • Excel has features to import data from text files, Microsoft access, SQL Server, Microsoft Query, Oracle etc. You can use Power Query to import data from different sources.
  • Microsoft has export and security features, sharing features also. Most of the software will have the facility to export its data to Excel.
  • Excel has pivot tables, add ins, several charts, which makes easier to understand the data.
  • Excel has different editions for home, business, students etc. It can be used in desktop environment or in cloud (online) environment.

It contains sheets and many tabs (menu) under which groups are placed. Excel contains default tabs like: FILE, HOME, INSERT, PAGE LAYOUT, FORMULAS, DATA, REVIEW AND VIEW and in each Tab, you see different groups and each group has different command buttons meant for doing specific tasks. For example, under HOME TAB, you can see groups like CLIPBOARD, FONT, ALIGNMENT, NUMBER, STYLES, CELLS, EDITING etc. In Editing Group, you can see command buttons like AUTO SUM, FILL , CLEAR, SORT and FILTER, FIND, SELECT etc. The tab Developer and Power Query have been attached to Excel by us. The diagram below is a snapshot of Microsoft Excel HOME TAB and some information will be missing (sheets, rows, columns) also since we cannot capture everything in a diagram.

Excel 2013 Interface
Excel Interface

Excel WorkSheets

Most of the normal users use only one worksheet, but based on the usage, a user can have one or more worksheet in an excel workbook. For example, if someone is interested to know about the income and expenses for the last 5 years, then you can create 5 worksheets and store relevant income and expenses of each year.

In each worksheet, you can see lines running horizontally and vertically. Rows run horizontally and are identified by NUMBERS. In the snapshot, you can see those numbers on the left side starting from 1 to 9 and Columns run vertically and are identified by LETTER or LETTERS. You can see those letters starting from A to T. To be more meaningful, columns have user defined names, which are called as HEADERS. The intersection of row and column is called as CELL and data is always stored in cells. Cells are identified by their cell references and Formulae are written only on cell references. For more information about different version, editions, pricing, please visit and you can also visit

Excel Cells & Values

Refer the following diagram to get a clear idea of how to name a cell and access it's value. This section is inteded for the beginners to have a better understanding of how to identify a particular cell.

Excel 2013 CELLS
Excel 2013 Tutorial

Column Header Department Number is stored in C4.

Value 10 is stored in C5.

Value 20 is stored in C6.

Column Header Department Name is stored in D4.

Value Sales is stored in D5.

Value Finance is stored in D6.

In the bottom, usually you see worksheet (sheet1 - default worksheet provided by Excel) which is not displayed in our diagram. If you want to add more worksheet, you can click that + (plus) symbol adjacent to SHEET1 worksheet.

In the next section, we will explain the Key Features that you need know in Excel 2013.

Features & Functions in Excel 2013  Next