What is Microsoft Excel?

What is Microsoft Excel?

Welcome to the world of Microsoft Excel!

Microsoft Excel is a software program for developing what is known as a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is a place for storing data and to see how your data changes with any variation you make on other data in the spreadsheet or other spreadsheets linked to your data.

Data consists of numbers, text, symbols or a combination of all such characters.

An Excel spreadsheet is not unlike a database in that the letters for the columns of a spreadsheet can represent the fields of a database and the numbers for each row in the spreadsheet are like the record numbers of a database. And certainly you do use an Excel spreadsheet to store, organise and present data in many different ways so you can see hidden patterns in your data or to perform certain tasks in an easier way. The only subtle difference is how easy it is to move between records with the press of the Up and Down Arrow keys compared to a database (even in list mode), and how a lot of information can be shown in one spreadsheet. Although spreadsheets can be broken up into manageable parts and areas clearly defined for data entry (a feat more suited to a database), spreadsheets are renowned for their ability to show the fine details of what is happening in your data and generate quick graphs summarising your results.

Think of Microsoft Excel as not unlike a 3D modelling package in the sense that the data it acquires is used to model the "real world". People do this because they want to see what is happening, and could happen in the future, by making subtle changes to the data. In 3D modelling, people imitate the real world in a graphical manner by building 3D objects in virtual space and then specifying how the objects should behave to replicate the real world based on certain well-defined "formulas" (designed to describe the physics of certain phenomena and the interactions these will have on objects to create the "real-life" behaviours we are familiar with). In Microsoft Excel, modelling the real world is done through the use of numbers, and how those numbers should appear are defined by formulas of their own.

Thus, Excel is a software tool that is extremely useful when understanding financial situations and seeing how minor changes to certain numbers can affect the outcome in terms of profit, or your ability to repay a loan and things like that. But, of course, it need not have to be restricted to finance. Anything that requires number crunching in any field of endeavour can be placed into an Excel spreadsheet where you need to see changes take place. It is through these changes that will ultimately help you to make very good decisions

Microsoft Excel is an immeasurably important tool. It is worth learning how to use this software to at least a comfortable level.