Excel is very useful and powerful software. In this tutorial series, you should learn about excel from the very beginning. This is the first part of these tutorial series and today we are about to know some basic features and functionality of Excel in order to understand excel in a very smooth way, Now let us jump to the topic.

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program in which you can handle form basic to complex arithmetical and statistical operations. You can create templates or start from scratch to perform any statistical or analytical works you need. In short, the scope of excel is next to endless in this particular field. There are many alternatives available to Ms. Excel, but still, Excel is better than those other competitors.

To understand a spreadsheet program, first of all, we have to know what is a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is nothing, but a collection of multiple rows and columns. A horizontal line is known as "Row", and a vertical line is known as "Column" and when a horizontal line crosses a vertical line, a point called "Cell" is created. So Cell is the intersection point between the rows and columns. In Excel, the Rows and Columns are named numerically and alphabetically respectively. In this way, each cell has a unique alphanumerical identity concerning its parent column and row.

For example in Excel, the name of the very first column is "A" and the very first row is "1". Hence the name of the first Cell is "A1" which can be also seen in Name Box. On the right side of the name box, there is a wide box which is called Formula Bar. Anything a cell contains, you can view and edit in this formula bar. Names of the Cells are displayed in the name box and the content of the cells like any formula or data is shown on the Formula Box.

In Excel, cells can be formatted in terms of font style, font color, cell color, cell type, orientation, and many other ways.

An Excel file is called "Workbook". A workbook is a collection of one or multiple worksheets.

Those worksheet is being interlinked by each other, like the cells also. This interlinking between cells is called cell reference. The right down corner of a cell has a bold black spot, called fill handle. The use of a cell reference is fulfilled by dragging the fill handle horizontally or vertically.

The cell reference in excel is differentiated by three types, that's been

1)Relative Reference.

2)Absolute Reference.

3)Mixed Reference.

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1)Relative Reference

The drag and drop handle of any cell in excel follows the rule of a Relative reference by default. As an example: create a table of three columns (ie: A, B, C) & five rows (ie: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Put some data in column A, and column B, and get the summation of Column A & B, in column C with the right formula. Now if you drag the fill handle from C1 to row 2,3,4 & 5, you will observe that all results in column C will take the input from its respective row (ie: C2 = A2+B2; C3=A3+B3 & so on...).

2)Absolute ReferenceWith the help of absolute reference, you can instruct the fill handle to follow the given cell reference exactly for all its relative cells. Unlike relative reference, here the cells do not follow any relative cells either horizontally or vertically. To use the absolute reference you have to enter the dollar ($) symbol before the row & column names. Alternatively you can press the "F4" button from the keyboard, and let the "$" symbol to be automatically entered before both the row & column names. For example, if the cell you want to refer is "=A1", then it should be entered like "=$A$1". Now once you drag the cell, you will see that all the relative cells will follow the exact content of A1.

#### 3)Mixed Reference

If you want the fill handle to follow relative reference while dragging horizontally but to follow absolute reference while dragging vertically, then you should enter the "$" symbol only before the row name and not before the column name. for example, if the cell you want to refer is "=A1", then it should be entered as "=A$1". You can also do the opposite if you want the fill handle to follow relative reference while dragging vertically but to follow absolute reference while dragging horizontally, In both cases, it will be a mixed reference.Remember, pressing the "F4" button when the formula is highlighted, will always toggle between different cell references.

#### 3)Mixed Reference

If you want the fill handle to follow relative reference while dragging horizontally but to follow absolute reference while dragging vertically, then you should enter the "$" symbol only before the row name and not before the column name. for example, if the cell you want to refer is "=A1", then it should be entered as "=A$1". You can also do the opposite if you want the fill handle to follow relative reference while dragging vertically but to follow absolute reference while dragging horizontally, In both cases, it will be a mixed reference.

Remember, pressing the "F4" button when the formula is highlighted, will always toggle between different cell references.

**Estimated reading time:**3 minutes, 46 seconds.*Contains 756 words*