Microsoft Excel 5.0 Macintosh


We have structured the following information about Excel according to your level of background knowledge.

If you have never used Excel before

Use your mouse to move to the logo in the upper left corner of your screen. Hold the mouse button, move the mouse down to Microsoft Excel, and release the button. It takes a few seconds for Excel to open. Go to on the menu bar and scroll down to Quick Preview. There are three interactive lessons. You should start with the first one. 'Getting started' takes about 7 minutes to complete and will introduce you to basic spreadsheet tasks you need to use to create your own workbooks:

If you like to learn more about Excel

You can learn how to perform a wide variety of standard tasks by going through the Examples and Demos tutorial. Go to on the menu bar and scroll down to Examples and Demos. The following topics are touched upon:

After learning the basics of Excel you should be able to help yourself by using additional on-line help features, as described below.

Getting information, while you work

When you have questions about Microsoft Excel, you can find most of the answers within Excel itself. For an overview, go to on the menu bar and scroll down to Quick Preview. Click 'Getting information while you work'. This lesson takes about 4 minutes to complete. The most common ways to obtain information while you are working are the following:

If you have used older versions of Excel or other spreadsheet before

Microsoft Excel version 5.0 is packed with new features that will make your work easier and faster to do. Go to on the menu bar and scroll down to Quick Preview. Click 'What's New'. This lesson points out new features in Excel 5.0 related to the following topics:

You may want to go through the Examples and Demos tutorial as discussed above. If you have used LOTUS 1-2-3 before, you may find the option Help for Lotus 1-2-3 users under the menu useful.

Specific tips and advice

Over the years we noticed that there are several typical mistakes that students make when using Excel. Some of those are not obvious and the solution of the problem may be difficult to find in the on-line help files. We are listing those below.

  1. When making XY plots, do use the XY (Scatter) chart type, not the Line chart type, even, when you want to connect the data points by a line. A Line chart uses the row number on the X-axes instead of the data in the column that you have highlighted. Even in the scatter plot, you are able to connect data points.
  2. Place busy charts on an extra worksheet.
  3. You can perform quite sophisticated data analysis within Excel. In the Tools menu you find the option Data Analysis... which allows you to calculate correlations, perform t-tests, plot histograms, etc. If this option does not appear, you need to go to the Tools menu, option Add-Ins and check the Analysis ToolPak and hit ok. This will then install the tools package.
  4. Data files that you download from the web are often not in Excel format, but are consiting of comma separated values (.csv) or tab separated values (.tsv). When you open those files, Excel will help you to convert the files. However, in case you have manipulated the file, for example by making graphs or adding formulas, make sure that you save the file as Workbook and not in the original format, because you will loose everything in that file that goes beyond the simple numbers.
  5. If a formula yield several numbers as result they are called Array formulas (apple shift enter). The easiest way to use them is probably through the function wizard. You'll need to highlight the cells in which the formula output should appear. To activate the formula you need to type Apple key-Shift-Enter, all at the same time.
  6. It is possible to have two Y axes with differnt scales, but only one X-axes.
  7. If you want to add data to a chart that is already created, highlight the column of data to be added and copy the column into the chart.

Tasks you should be able to perform

For this class you should be able to do the performing the following essential tasks. If you don't, go to the appropriate tutorial section, or type in the key words in the help menu. You should know how to:

  1. open and save files,
  2. enter data,
  3. select cells,
  4. enter formulas; note how Excel references cells,
  5. move, cut, copy, and paste contents of cells,
  6. copy a formula to a range of adjacent cells,
  7. choose commands,
  8. use toolbar buttons,
  9. create and edit different types of charts,
  10. add trendlines to data on charts.