The Microsoft Excel 2007 Starter's Guide

The Microsoft Excel 2007 Starter's Guide

Introduction into Microsoft Excel 2007

Microsoft Excel and the Microsoft Office Suite of productivity applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access and Publisher) are used around the world to create dynamic, professional-looking documents for both business and personal use.  Excel is perfect for reports, spreadsheets, charts and graphs.

 Excel saves files using the .XLS and .XLSX file extensions which have become standards for and synonymous with the creation and sharing of documents.

This guide assumes that you have already installed Microsoft Excel or Office with the Excel application.  This starter guide is broken down into the following sections. If you want to jump to a section, simply click on the link:

Starting Microsoft Excel
The Excel 2007 Interface
Creating Formulas
Types of Operators and Precedence
Adding Borders and Shading Cells
Inserting a Chart

Beginning with Microsoft Excel

After you have installed Microsoft excel, you will have two ways in which you can open the program. You will have an icon on your desktop and/or quick launch bar and you will be able to navigate to it from your start menu. Depending on whether you used the default installation options you will generally find the Microsoft Office and Excel applications in:
ms excel 2007 desktop icon

Start All Programs Microsoft Office (or there will be a Microsoft Excel icon in All Programs)

ms excel 2007 desktop icon


With the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007, there is a new interface called the Ribbon. Some users prefer not to use it and instead use the old drop down menu system. Unfortunately you cannot simply switch over to the old interface. However, the Ribbon can be closed if you wish and there is a quick launch toolbar that can be customized to show your most often used items.

MS Excel full ribbon

By double-clicking on the ribbon tab (Home, Insert, etc) or right clicking and choosing minimize the Ribbon to hide or show the full ribbon. You can also open the Ribbon simply by clicking the tab for the features you wish to see.

excel 2007 minimized ribbon

In the screenshot above you will notice two important features of Microsoft Excel 2007. The Quick Access Toolbar which can be shown either above or below the Ribbon and the Office Button which provides you with basic file manipulation options like save, open, print and send.

The new Ribbon layout has grouped features together in a fairly logical way that is meant to help you navigate them more quickly

Creating Formulas

The Formula Ribbon has collected together all the pieces for formula building.

  1. Click whatever cell you wish to place a formula in.
  2. Now you can either type the Equal sign (=) or choose something from the Ribbon.
  3. If you know exactly what you want to type you may or else you can use the Ribbon to construct your formula.
  4. Fill in the necessary fields and click Ok or type in your Formula.

Types of Operators and Precedence

Arithmetic operators Comparison operators

Arithmetic operator



+ (plus sign)



– (minus sign)



* (asterisk)



/ (forward slash)



% (percent sign)



^ (caret)



Comparison operator



= (equal sign)

Equal to


> (greater than sign)

Greater than


< (less than sign)

Less than


>= (greater than or equal to sign)

Greater than or equal to


<= (less than or equal to sign)

Less than or equal to


<> (not equal to sign)

Not equal to


Text concatenation operator

Text operator



& (ampersand)

Connects, or concatenates, two values to produce one continuous text value


Reference operators

Reference operator



: (colon)

Range operator, which produces one reference to all the cells between two references, including the two references


, (comma)

Union operator, which combines multiple references into one reference



Intersection operator, which produces on reference to cells common to the two references

B7:D7 C6:C8

The order in which Excel performs operations in formulas



: (colon)

(single space)

, (comma)

Reference operators

Negation (as in –1)





* and /

Multiplication and division

+ and –

Addition and subtraction


Connects two strings of text (concatenation)

< >


Excel implements operators in a specific order so you know exactly what to expect from your results. If you are getting different results than you expected be sure to check your operators or group the operations as you need them. You can group operators by using parenthesis ().

Operator precedence

This is the exact order that Excel will use operators in a formula

Adding Borders and Shading to Cells

  1. Select the cell you want to edit
  2. Select the Home Ribbon and choose Format a Format Cells (Alternatively you can use CTRL-1.)
  3. On the Format Cells Menu click the Border or Fill tab as desired.
  4. Select how you want the cell to look and click OK.

adding borders and shading to cells in excel

Inserting a Chart

  1. Choose the Insert Ribbon
  2. Select the type of chart you want to insert from the Charts area of the RibbonColumn, Line, Pie, Bar, Area, Scatter or Other.
  3. Once you insert the chart you will be able to determine where you want it to be displayed and what data to put into it.

Tip  If you select only one cell, Excel automatically plots all cells containing data that directly surround that cell into a chart. If the cells that you want to plot in a chart are not in a continuous range, you can select nonadjacent cells or ranges as long as the selection forms a rectangle. You can also hide the rows or columns that you don't want to plot in the chart.

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