Getting Started with Excel

This Excel 2010 tutorial includes everything you need to know to get started with Microsoft Excel.

Getting to know Excel 2010

Video: Navigating Excel 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (3:04).

The Excel 2010 interface is similar to Excel 2007. There have been some changes we'll review later in this lesson, but if you're new to Excel first take some time to learn how to navigate an Excel workbook.

The Excel interface

Click the buttons in the interactive below for an overview of how to navigate an Excel workbook.

labeled graphic


A row is a group of cells that runs from the left of the page to the right. In Excel, rows are identified by numbers. Row 15 is selected here.

Name Box

The name box tells you the location or the name of a selected cell. In the image below, cell B4 is in the name box. Note how cell B4 is where column B and row 4 intersect.

Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access toolbar lets you access common commands no matter which tab you are on. By default, it shows the Save, Undo, and Repeat commands. You can add other commands to make it more convenient for you.

Zoom Control

Click and drag the slider to use the zoom control. The number to the left of the slider bar reflects the zoom percentage.

Page View

There are three ways to view a spreadsheet. Click a page view button to select it.

Normal view is selected by default and shows you an unlimited number of cells and columns. It is highlighted in this image.

Page Layout view divides your spreadsheet into pages.

Page Break view lets you see an overview of your spreadsheet, which is helpful when you're adding page breaks.

Horizontal Scroll Bar

You may have more data than you can see on the screen all at once. Click and hold the horizontal scroll bar and slide it to the left or right depending on which part of the page you want to see.


Excel files are called workbooks. Each workbook holds one or more worksheets (also known as spreadsheets).

Three worksheets appear by default when you open an Excel workbook. You can rename, add, and delete worksheets.

Formula Bar

In the formula bar, you can enter or edit data, a formula, or a function that will appear in a specific cell. In this image, cell C1 is selected and 1984 is entered into the formula bar. Note how the data appears in both the formula bar and in cell C1.


A column is a group of cells that runs from the top of the page to the bottom. In Excel, columns are identified by letters. Column L is selected here.


The Ribbon contains all of the commands you will need in order to perform common tasks. It has multiple tabs, each with several groups of commands, and you can add your own tabs that contain your favorite commands. Some groups have an arrow in the bottom-right corner that you can click to see even more options.