Getting Started with Excel

This Excel 2013 tutorial includes everything you need to know to get started with Microsoft Excel.

Working with the Excel environment

If you've previously used Excel 2010 or 2007, Excel 2013 will feel familiar. It continues to use features like the Ribbon and Quick Access toolbar, where you will find commands to perform common tasks in Excel, as well as Backstage view.

The Ribbon

Excel 2013 uses a tabbed Ribbon system instead of traditional menus. The Ribbon contains multiple tabs, each with several groups of commands. You will use these tabs to perform the most common tasks in Excel.

Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about the different commands available within each tab on the Ribbon.

Certain programs, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, may install additional tabs to the Ribbon. These tabs are called add-ins.

To minimize and maximize the Ribbon:

The Ribbon is designed to respond to your current task, but you can choose to minimize it if you find that it takes up too much screen space.

  1. Click the Ribbon Display Options arrow in the upper-right corner of the Ribbon.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Ribbon Display options
  2. Select the desired minimizing option from the drop-down menu:


    • Auto-hide Ribbon: Auto-hide displays your workbook in full-screen mode and completely hides the Ribbon. To show the Ribbon, click the Expand Ribbon command at the top of screen.


      Screenshot of Excel 2013Auto-hiding the Ribbon
    • Show Tabs: This option hides all command groups when they're not in use, but tabs will remain visible. To show the Ribbon, simply click a tab.


      Screenshot of excel2013Showing only Ribbon tabs
    • Show Tabs and Commands: This option maximizes the Ribbon. All of the tabs and commands will be visible. This option is selected by default when you open Excel for the first time.

To learn how to add custom tabs and commands to the Ribbon, review our Extra on Customizing the Ribbon.

To learn how to use the Ribbon with touch-screen devices, review our Extra on Enabling Touch Mode.