Getting Started with Google Sheets

Learn how to create a new Google Sheet to get started with this free cloud-based spreadsheet program.

Cell basics

Every spreadsheet is made up of thousands of rectangles, which are called cells. A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. Columns are identified by letters (A, B, C), while rows are identified by numbers (1, 2, 3).

Cell C10

Each cell has its own name—or cell address—based on its column and row. In this example, the selected cell intersects column C and row 10, so the cell address is C10. Note that a cell's column and row headings become darker when the cell is selected.

You can also select multiple cells at the same time. A group of cells is known as a cell range. Rather than a single cell address, you'll refer to a cell range using the cell address of the first and last cells in the cell range, separated by a colon. For example, a cell range that included cells A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 would be written as A1:A5.

In the images below, two different cell ranges are selected:

Understanding cell content

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

To select cells:

To input or edit cell content, you'll first need to select the cell.

  1. Click a cell to select it.
  2. A blue box will appear around the selected cell.
    Selecting a single cell

You can also select cells using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

To select a cell range:

Sometimes you may want to select a larger group of cells, or cell range.

  1. Click and drag the mouse until all of the cells you want to select are highlighted.
  2. Release the mouse to select the desired cell range.
    Clicking and dragging to select multiple cells

To insert cell content:

  1. Select the desired cell.
    Selecting a cell
  2. Type content into the selected cell, then press Enter. The content will appear in the cell and the formula bar. You can also input content into and edit cell content in the formula bar.
    The new cell content

To delete cell content:

  1. Select the cell you want to delete.
  2. Press the Delete or Backspace key on your keyboard. The cell's contents will be deleted.
    Deleting a cell's content