Entering and Editing Data

Basic formatting in Excel can customize the look and feel of your Excel spreadsheet. Learn about formatting cells in Excel here.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Enter and delete data
  • Edit data
  • Select multiple cells

Entering data

You can enter three types of data in a worksheet: text, numbers, and formulas. Text is any entry that is not a number or formula. Numbers are values that are used when making calculations. Formulas are calculations.

To enter data into a cell:

  • Click the cell.
  • Begin typing the data.
  • An insertion point appears, and the text you are entering appears in the active cell and in the Formula bar.

Formula Bar

  • The Formula bar buttons—Cancel and Enter—appear.
  • Clicking the Enter button Enter button ends the entry and turns off the Formula bar buttons.

Enter Text

To delete data:

  • Click the cell.

AND

  • Click the Cancel button Cancel Button to delete an entry and turn off the Formula bar buttons.

OR

  • Cancel an entry by pressing the Escape key.

OR

  • Right-click and choose Clear Contents from the shortcut menu.

OR

  • Select data and press Delete or Enter.

Important pointExcel’s AutoComplete feature keeps track of text entered in a column and can complete other entries in the same column. For example, if you typed GCFLearnFree.org in cell A1 and enter G in A2, Excel automatically fills the cell with GCFLearnFree.org. If GCF Global Learning is the text you want to enter, press Enter or Tab to move to the next cell. If it’s not what you want, just keep typing until you overwrite the AutoComplete feature.

Editing data

You may find that you need to edit or change data you enter into a cell. You can do this two ways.

To use the quick and easy method:

  • Click the cell and type the new entry; the old entry is replaced.

If the original entry is long and only requires a minor adjustment (in spelling, for example), edit the entry.

To edit:

  • Click the cell and edit the entry in the Formula bar.

OR

  • Double-click the cell. This opens the cell for direct editing.
  • Press Enter or click the Enter button on the Formula bar Enter Button to complete the entry.

Enter Text

Selecting multiple cells

In Excel, the cell that is currently selected is the active cell. A group of cells is called a range.

To select a range of cells:

  • Move to the first cell in the range.
  • The mouse pointer becomes a large cross. Large Cross
  • Hold down the left mouse button and drag to the last cell you want to select.
  • Release the mouse button.
  • The cells you selected are shaded.

To select all cells in a column or row:

  • Click the Column or Row heading.

To select multiple columns or rows:

  • Click one heading and drag to select the others.

Column Selected

Row Selected

To select the entire worksheet:

  • Click the gray rectangle in the upper-left corner to select entire worksheet.

Select All Button

Important pointIf the cells and columns you want to select are not directly next to each other, select one of the ranges you want to select and hold down the Control key while selecting other ranges. For example, you may want to select column A and column C, but not column B.

Challenge!

Practice selecting a range of cells using one of the methods taught in this lesson:

  • Click a cell and drag to select a number of cells.
  • Click a column or row heading.
  • To select an entire worksheet, click the gray rectangle in the upper-left corner.