Page 5 of 22PREVNEXT

Audio course: Get to know Excel: Create your first workbook

Active cell is outlined in black; selected cell is highlighted and cell location is shown in Name Box

Fig. 1  The active cell is outlined in black.
Fig. 2  Cell C5 is selected and is the active cell. It has a black outline.
Callout 1 Column C is highlighted.
Callout 2 Row 5 is highlighted.
Callout 3 Cell C5, the active cell, is shown in the Name Box in the upper-left corner of the worksheet.

Cells are where you get down to business and enter data in a worksheet.

When you open a new workbook, the first cell in the upper-left corner of the worksheet you see is outlined in black, indicating that any data you enter will go there.

You can enter data wherever you like by clicking any cell in the worksheet to select the cell. But the first cell (or nearby) is not a bad place to start entering data in most cases.

When you select any cell, it becomes the active cell. When a cell is active, it is outlined in black, and the headings for the column and the row in which the cell is located are highlighted.

For example if you select a cell in column C on row 5, the headings on column C and row 5 are highlighted, and the cell is outlined. That cell is known as cell C5, which is the cell reference.

The outlined cell and the highlighted column and row headings make it easier for you to see that cell C5 is the active cell. Also, the cell reference of the active cell appears in the Name Box in the upper-left corner of the worksheet. By looking in the Name Box, you can see the cell reference of the active cell.

All of these indicators are not too important when you're right at the very top of the worksheet in the very first few cells. But when you work further and further down or across the worksheet, they can really help you out.

And it's important to know the cell reference if you need to tell someone where specific data is located in a worksheet. Suppose, for example, that your mortgage payment, your bonus, or your job title is located in cell E35 (or cell BF684).

In the practice you'll see how to use the Name Box to go straight to cells located anywhere on the worksheet.

Page 5 of 22PREVNEXT