Microsoft Excel Tutorial for Beginners: Step by Step Guide [2024]

Microsoft Office includes three major web applications – MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint. Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for managing and analysing extensive data. Following a Microsoft Excel tutorial is best to understand the application’s complex aspects as a beginner. Some tutorials also provide examples to simplify the learning process. 

This is one such comprehensive tutorial, so keep reading to learn more and hone your MS Excel skills!

What is Microsoft Excel?

MS Excel is a spreadsheet program used for recording and analysing statistical and numerical data. The speciality of MS Excel is its features performing different operations like graph tools, calculations, macro programming, pivot tables, etc. 

Microsoft Excel sheet comprises a collection of rows and columns forming a table. Generally, alphabetical letters are assigned to columns, while numbers are assigned to rows. A point where a row and a column meet is called the cell. It is interesting to note that every cell has an address. The cell address is represented by the letter representing the column and the number representing the row. It is a must-learn feature for beginners.

A new document in Excel will always start with a worksheet. Generally, the Excel file gets saved as a .xls extension. 

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What is a worksheet in Excel?

A worksheet has innumerable rows and columns. The point of intersection of a row and column is called a cell which contains space for data. Worksheet assists you in different tasks like data analysis, calculations, or data integration. Representation of rows in an excel sheet is by numbers, and representation of columns is by alphabets. 

There can be many sheets in an Excell workbook labelled as Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3 etc., free to use and rename by users. You can add as many sheets to an Excel workbook as you want. 

Knowing the Interface of MS Excel

MS Excel interface saves all our data and statistics. Therefore, various components in the interface are essential before working on MS Excel. In addition, familiarity with the application can increase work efficiency. In the below image, you can see the main components. Let’s discuss these in detail.

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Quick Access Toolbar

The common Excel commands are available in Quick Access Toolbar. These commands include Undo, Save, and Repeat. Users can access these commands quickly while working on Excel. In addition, the Quick Access Toolbar is entirely customisable, enabling you to choose your preferred tools for convenience.

Excel Ribbon

Excel versions are changing with time, updating traditional menus, and adding a new ribbon system, allowing multiple tabs to perform the most common functions. The tabs on the ribbon include – File, Home, Insert, Formula, Page Layout, Data, View, Review, and Help. You can find commands under each tab. For example, the Formula tab houses logical, mathematical, string, text, date, finance, and time functions – all are customisable.

Formula Bar

The formula bar is used to write formulas and functions for manipulating data. Along with entering data, functions, or formulas, we can edit them in the particular cell. 

Name Box

The name box contains the name or location of a selected cell. 

Worksheet Views

Users have different display options for choosing their worksheet view available in Page Layout View, Normal View, or Page Break View options. Views are useful for various tasks, particularly for printing the spreadsheet. 

Zoom Control

Zoom control is found in the extreme right corner of the Excel spreadsheet. You just have to click and drag the slider to use the Zoom control, and as you move the slider to the right, the zoom percentage increases and vice versa. By default, the Excel view zoom percentage is 100%. 

Features of MS Excel

Various features of MS Excel are created keeping diverse data assessment needs in mind, with most of the components being customisable. Knowing the interface enables the user to minimise workload and accomplish tasks in a limited time. Some important features of MS Excel include:

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Autofill lets you fill the cells with sequential or repetitive records. Examples include repeated documents, chronological numbers, or dates. Users can also copy functions and alter numbers and texts using Autofill. 


Autoformat allows users to use predefined table formatting options. 

List AutoFill

This feature automatically develops cell formatting when adding a new component at the end of a list. 


With the AutoSum feature, you can automatically calculate the sum of a column or a row by inserting an additional formula for a cell range. 


The wizard works as a guide to display various techniques and tips to work with Excel. In addition, you can reposition the text and record with the Drag and Drop feature. 

Pivot Table

The Pivot Table helps flip and sum data in a few seconds. You can generate statistical documents, periodic financial statements, etc., with a pivot table, etc., by executing data analysis. In addition, pivot tables help in analysing complex data relationships graphically. 

Shortcut menus

Shortcut menus ditch the lengthy process on MS Excel with simple shortcut commands.


Graphic data representation is always efficient in attracting eyes and simplifying data comprehension. Charts feature is available in various forms like bar, pie, line, and more to transform data into its graphical representation.


Autoshapes toolbar allows drawing various geometrical shapes, flowchart items, arrows, etc. You can also draw graphs with these shapes. 

Besides these features, formulas and functions are also an integral part of MS Excel, though they are included under Advanced Excel. Once you get accustomed to MS Excel functions, you can move towards the ‘advanced’ stage. 


MS Excel is a detailed application with numerous functions. While some are classified as fundamentals, others are complex and work under Advanced Excel. Instead of hurrying through the application, it is recommended to go through a detailed Excel tutorial for beginners to grasp the gist of this application. Practical work will eventually introduce you to varying nuances of MS Excel. Make sure to choose the right Microsoft Excel tutorial to get started!

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Q1: Is it possible to learn MS Excel on your own?

Yes, it is possible to learn MS Excel independently. Initially, you will need a good Excel tutorial for beginners to learn the basics. After learning the basic functions, you can also learn complex programming in Excel by following the Microsoft Excel tutorial. Practical assessments deliver the best results than theory, so try to solve problems on the application.

Q2: What are some of the basic MS Excel skills?

These basic Excel skills are essential to know before working on Excel: Managing worksheets Opening and saving a workbook Printing Cell formatting Charts Basic Excel functions Sorting data Find and Replace option

Q3: Name the five important functions in MS Excel.

Here are five primary functions of MS Excel: TEXT function SUM function AVERAGE function VLOOKUP function CONCATENATE function

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