Cell Basics

In Excel cell function and references are helpful to better understand Excel spreadsheets. Use Excel cell reference functions as well.

Cell content

Any information you enter into a spreadsheet will be stored in a cell. Each cell can contain different types of content, including text, formatting, formulas, and functions.

To insert content:

  1. Click a cell to select it.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting cell A1
  2. Type content into the selected cell, then press Enter on your keyboard. The content will appear in the cell and the formula bar. You can also input and edit cell content in the formula bar.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Inserting cell content

To delete cell content:

  1. Select the cell with content you want to delete.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a cell
  2. Press the Delete or Backspace key on your keyboard. The cell's contents will be deleted.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Deleting cell content

You can use the Delete key on your keyboard to delete content from multiple cells at once. The Backspace key will only delete one cell at a time.

To delete cells:

There is an important difference between deleting the content of a cell and deleting the cell itself. If you delete the entire cell, the cells below it will shift up and replace the deleted cells.

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to delete.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a cell to delete
  2. Select the Delete command from the Home tab on the Ribbon.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Delete command
  3. The cells below will shift up.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Cells shifted to replace the deleted cell