facebook google plus twitter
Webucator's Free Introduction to Microsoft Excel Tutorial

Lesson: Entering Data in Microsoft Excel Worksheets

Welcome to our free Introduction to Microsoft Excel tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Microsoft Excel 2019 Training course.

In this lesson, you will learn how to enter data in Excel worksheets.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn to enter text in Microsoft Excel worksheets.
  • Learn to add or delete cells in worksheets.
  • Learn to add an outline for your data.
  • Learn to enter a hyperlink in a worksheet.
  • Learn to use AutoComplete.
  • Learn to enter numbers and dates in Microsoft Excel worksheets.
  • Learn to use the Fill Handle to add data to cells.

Worksheets

Microsoft Excel worksheets are made up of rows and columns. Rows are defined by numbers and columns are defined by letters. When you open Excel, cell A1 is automatically highlighted. Anything you type will show up in this cell. To enter text into a different cell, simply select the cell by clicking on it and then begin typing.

Before entering text, it is helpful to be aware of the three shapes your cursor will take and what each one means:

  1. The thick white cross. This is used for cell selection. Thick Cross Selector
  2. The thin black cross. This is used for autofilling data and for copying formulas, both of which will be covered later in this course.Thin Black Cross
  3. The four-headed arrow. This is used for moving cells or other items.Four-Headed Arrow

Entering Text

To enter text in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Select the cell into which you wish to enter text by clicking on it.
  2. Begin typing.

Note that in addition to showing up in the cell, the text you are typing also shows up in the Formula Bar:Formula Bar

If you are entering a lot of text, it is sometimes easier to type directly into the formula bar. To do this, simply select the cell by clicking on it and then click in the Formula Bar and begin typing.

Using Flash Fill

Flash Fill is similar to the AutoComplete feature. It looks for patterns in your data and shows a suggestion. As soon as it detects what you are attempting to do, it shows a recommended pattern.

In the following example, full names have been entered in Column A. In Column B, this is what happens when you begin entering just first names, pressing Enter after each:

Flash Fill

Expand Data across Columns

You can also easily expand data across columns by hovering the cursor over the lower-right corner of the cell and when it turns into a thin black cross, dragging. This will copy the data to multiple columns.

Expand Data

Adding and Deleting Cells

You can add and delete cells when working with a worksheet:

To add a cell to a worksheet:

  1. Select the cell where you want to insert a new cell.
  2. Right-click and select Insert. Insert Command
  3. In the Insert dialog box, select an option and click OK. Insert Cell

To delete a cell in a worksheet:

  1. Select the cell you want to delete.
  2. Right-click and select Delete. Delete Command
  3. In the Delete dialog box, select an option and click OK. Delete Cell

Adding a Hyperlink

To add a hyperlink to a cell in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Select the cell to which you want to add the hyperlink.
  2. From the Insert tab, in the Links section, select Link. (New in Excel 2019: if you have recently used a link in a cloud-based file or website, that link will be available as a drop-down item to quickly insert.) Insert Link
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, select the text to display as well as the link address, and then click OK. Add Link
  4. The link now appears in the sheet. Link Inserted

Add WordArt to a Worksheet

You can insert WordArt in a worksheet in Excel 2013, 2016, and 2019.

To add WordArt:

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text section, select the WordArt arrow. WordArt
  2. Select a WordArt style from the list. WordArt Style
  3. A text box appears where you can enter your WordArt text. Text Box

Using AutoComplete

When you are typing data into a list, Microsoft Excel will attempt to guess what you intend to type based on the data in the cells above the one in which you are typing. This feature has been improved in Excel 2019. The example below illustrates this. Only the letter "B" has been typed into cell A4. Excel is guessing that the user intends to type "Ball":AutoComplete

If the user does intend to enter "Ball", he or she can press Enter as soon as Excel has correctly guessed.

Things to be aware of regarding the AutoComplete feature:

  1. If there are multiple words in a list starting with the same letter, Excel won't guess until enough letters have been typed that only one match remains:AutoComplete
  2. If there is an empty cell in the middle of a list, Excel will assume the data above and below the empty cell constitute different lists, and AutoComplete will not recognize words from the other list:AutoComplete

Entering Text and Using AutoComplete

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

Before the end of this course we will build a spreadsheet showing the quarterly profit & loss statement for a fictitious company called Dave's Lemonade Stand. This is the first of these exercises. The spreadsheet will ultimately look like the below:Final Spreadsheet

In this exercise, you will enter income and expense categories in column A of a new worksheet.

  1. Open a new workbook and enter text, using AutoComplete whenever possible, in column A so that your worksheet looks like the following:Enter Text
  2. Save the workbook as Dave's Lemonade Stand.xlsx in your Excel2019.1/Exercises folder.

Solution:

  1. Open a new workbook.
  2. Select cell A2, type "Income", and press Enter.
  3. Enter the required text in cells A3:A7.
  4. In cells A8 and A9, type "S" and press Enter.
  5. Enter the required text in cells A10 and A11.
  6. Save the workbook in your Excel2019.1/Exercises folder.

Entering Numbers and Dates

In the next lesson we will cover formatting numbers to include commas, decimals, currency symbols and more, and formatting dates in various ways. In this lesson, however, we will simply enter dates and numbers in the most basic format, and use autofill to quickly add numbers that follow a pattern.

To enter numbers in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Select the cell into which you wish to enter a number by clicking on it.
  2. Begin typing a number.

Things to be aware of when entering numbers:

  1. There is no need to enter commas. If you wish to display commas, you can format your numbers to display them. This will be covered in the next lesson.
  2. By default, trailing zeroes are not shown. For example, if you enter "5.00" into a cell and press Enter, the value shown will change to just "5". We will cover displaying decimals in the next lesson.

To enter dates in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Select the cell into which you wish to enter a date by clicking on it.
  2. Type the date in the following format: mm/dd/yy (e.g., 12/21/12) or m/d/yy (e.g., 1/1/00).

Using the Fill Handle

If your data follows a pattern, you can use the Fill Handle to quickly and easily add data to multiple rows and columns.

To use the Fill Handle:

  1. Enter enough data to establish a pattern and then select the cells containing the pattern.
  2. Click on the Fill Handle, which is located in the bottom right cell of the selected cells:Fill Handle
  3. Drag the Fill Handle for as many rows or columns as desired:Fill Handle

Examples of scenarios in which it might be useful to use the Fill Handle include:

  1. Entering a numbered list:Numbered List
  2. Entering days of the month:Days of the Month
  3. Entering months of the year:Months of the Year
  4. Entering yet to be named items which need to be differentiated:Data Items
  5. Copying formulas throughout a row or column. This will be covered later in this course.

Entering Numbers and Dates

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, you will enter the four quarters of the year at the top of your worksheet and will enter projected quarterly numbers for the two income categories.

  1. Open or go to Dave's Lemonade Stand.xlsx, which you created in the previous exercise.
  2. Follow the instructions below to add data to rows 1, 3, and 4 such that your worksheet looks like the following:Numbers Exercise
    1. Enter dates and numbers in columns B and C
    2. Use Autofill to add dates and numbers to D and E
  3. Edit cells A7:A9 by replacing "Some Expense" with "Payroll", "Marketing" and "Supplies", as shown in the above image.
  4. Save the workbook.

Solution:

  1. Open or go to Dave's Lemonade Stand.xlsx.
  2. Enter "3/31/19" in cell B1.
  3. Enter "6/30/19" in cell C1.
  4. Enter "3000" in cell B3.
  5. Enter "3100" in cell C3.
  6. Enter "2000" in cell B4.
  7. Enter "2200" in cell C4.
  8. Select cells B1:C1, click the Fill Handle and drag to column E.
  9. Select cells B3:C3, click the Fill Handle and drag to column E.
  10. Select cells B4:C4, click the Fill Handle and drag to column E.
  11. Edit cells A7:A9 by replacing "Some Expense" with "Payroll", "Marketing" and "Supplies".
  12. Save the workbook.