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Introduction to Microsoft Excel for job seekers

Let me introduce myself. My name is Christian and I am going to be your teacher. In this blog post, I will be taking you on the basics of Microsoft Excel.
In Nigeria, many employers of labor require from job seekers some basic knowledge of excel whereas, other employers may require more complex knowledge. The reason is not far-fetched. Excel is a pure mathematical machine (program) designed to aid computations of mathematical equations and accountancy. Apart from solving basic and complex mathematics, excel is used for keeping records. For example, we can use excel to keep records of how many items are in a shop, amount of daily rainfall, the grades of students in a subject, the ages of students in a class and anything you can think about.

Learning excel is not as difficult as people think. Many get intimidated once they open up Microsoft excel and see lines running horizontal and vertical without any clue on what to do with them. Don't be scared as we will be learning how to manipulate those lines to the extent that you can beat and pound your chest in front of your potential employer.

I will try as much as possible to make the lesson very simple. We will start from simple to less simple tasks.Relax your mind and be ready for an interesting session with me!

In order not to bore you with the theories of excel, let us create our first excel project! Creating this projects and the subsequent projects, will make learning excel faster as you will subconsciously learn to use many  features of excel without undergoing an extra training. I am using 2013 Excel. Whichever version of excel you have will suffice.

Let's take a look at the picture below:

Our first project will be to recreate the above table

Can we create that? Of course yes. Open your Excel software and type in those stuffs. Easy huh? Make sure you save your workbook by pressing CTRL S on your keyboard and save it with any name and to any folder of your choice.
Next which is very easy but important is identifying the positions of our entries.Entries is derived from the word, "enter" . It means what we enter in the cells .It is very important we learn addressing (or naming) each of the cells where those entries are made. Cells are those rectangular boxes in the worksheet above.
The cells which run horizontally are called rows. Can we identify entries on the first row? certainly! The entries on the first row are Names, age and gender. What can we find on the 7th row? we can find Jane, 15 and F on the 7th row. On which row can we find Emeka? Your guess is as good as mine! we can find Emeka on the 9th row. You can see that the rows are actually numbered. we have a total of 13 rows in our project. There are thousands of rows in an excel worksheet depending on which version of excel you are using. On Excel 2007, we have a total of 65536 rows. So it means we can actually expand our list to 65536! On Excel 2013, we have a total of 1,048,576! and so on depending on the version. We should not bother ourselves memorizing them.
The cells which run vertically are called columns. Unlike the rows which are labelled in numbers, the columns are labelled in alphabets. So let's identify entries under column A. Moving downwards(vertically) , we can see entries like Names, Amaka, Jane, Luke, Monica, down to John. On which column can we find gender? We can find gender under column C. Easy right? There are only three columns in our project, from A to C. There are hundreds and thousands of columns in excel depending on which version you are using.
In identifying the position of an entry, we may need to combine the row and the column where it is found. For example, the entry, Amaka can be found under column A and the second row (row 2) So we can actually say that the entry Amaka is found at column A, row 2. For simplicity , we can say that Amaka is found at cell A2 where "A" represents the column and "2" represents the row as seen in the picture below. Easy right?




Question: On which cell can we find Harry?
Answer: From the above worksheet, Harry can be found at A6

Question:Where can we find age 22?
Answer: We can find age 22 on cells B4 and B13

I guess you are now familiar with naming cell ranges. So authoritatively, we can say our list/entries starts from A1 and ends at C13. This can be shortly written as A1:C13. In excel , the colon (:) sign means "to". In otherwords, A1:C13 can be read as A1 to C13.

Wow! We have covered many things in a short while! We just learnt how make a list in excel. Not just that. We also learnt how to identify the positions of the cells which contains our entries by using their rows and column numbers

In my next blog post, will be going into a more interesting session! You will be learning how to manipulate that list you created ( so keep that workbook saved) . We are going to perform some magic with that list so much that your employer will be nodding in consternation!

So Stay tuned!

Definition of terms

Worksheet: Worksheet is a single page in excel composed of cells. A worksheet is the first thing you see when you open an excel program.
Workbook: Workbook is composed of different worksheets. We can have hundreds of worksheets in a workbook.