Microsoft Office/Excel Terminology

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  • Workbook vs. Worksheet – when you open Excel, a new file is created called Book 1 (until you name it differently). It is called “Book” because it is a Workbook that is initially made up of three Worksheets. Think of a three ring binder with three sheets of paper in it. As with a binder, you can add sheets to your Workbook (Insert > Worksheet), delete them, and re-arrange them. Double click on the Worksheet title to rename it.
  • Cell – cells are the basic rectangular building blocks of a spreadsheet. They are assigned an address, generally referred to as a cell reference, according to their column and row (e.g. the cell in column B at row 3 is referenced as cell B3).
  • Row – rows travel horizontally and are numbered.
  • Column – columns travel vertically and are assigned letters.
  • Formula – a mathematical formula used to calculate a result based on data from one or more other cells. Often they consist of some combination of the standard mathematical operators ( +, -, *, /) (e.g.: =(A1+A5)/B13).but they may also include functions (see below). When you type a formula into a cell, that cell will generally display the result obtained by the formula, rather than the formula itself.
  • Functions – pre-written formulae that perform common (and not so common) calculations, such as summation and averaging. You can combine many functions and operators in a single formula to obtain more complex results (e.g.: =SUM(A1:A13).