The Excel Dictionary: Common Terms Defined

How many of these do you know?

Conquering Excel and knowing all its intricacies is something not a lot of people achieve during their career. But, knowing the most common terms can help you get a great head start. Check out these terms below!

  • Workbook — Workbooks are Excel spreadsheet files. It will hold all of the data you’ve entered and is able to be viewed and edited by multiple users.
  • Worksheet — Nestled within a workbook are worksheets or spreadsheets. You can have multiple, labeled by tabs at the bottom. The tab you are working on is called the active worksheet.
  • Cell — A cell is a single block within a worksheet. Data entered in worksheets are placed within cells. There are many things you can do with cells- you can color code them, put text or numbers in the and a lot more. An active cell is one that has your cursor in it, opened for editing.
  • Columns and Rows — Columns and rows are directions in which your cells are aligned, which are vertically and horizontally, respectively.
  • Column and Row headings — Each row and column have a heading, a shaded gray area that’s lettered and numbered outside of the columns and rows. Clicking on one will highlight the entire column or row it’s responsible for.
  • Ribbon — Just above the workbook is a section of buttons located in what is called the Ribbon. This is where you change many of the settings of your worksheets.
  • Cell Reference — A cell reference is essentially a set of directions that identify a cell. Based on the row and column a cell lies in, it would be represented as a letter followed by a number. Can you find cell A6? It’s where column A and row 6 meet.
  • Cell Range — A Cell range is a group of cells separated by a colon. For example, A1:A5 would include cells A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5.
  • Formula — A very common term to Excel users, a formula is a sequence of data inserted into a cell,  sequence inside a cell to produce a result. It can be math, different references, or a function.
  • Function — Functions are pre-built Excel formulas. They’re used often and help to simplify complex formulas.
  • Error Code — If Excel discovers an error in an entered formula, an error code will display.
  • Conditional Formatting — If cells meet specific criteria, such a duplicate values, or a number above or below a specific number, conditional formatting can apply to highlight these.
  • Freeze Panes — To see a row or column even when scrolling past it, freeze it.
  • Pivot Table — A pivot table is a tool used to help display data automatically. Information within it is pulled from one set of data and put into another, as a table, and is generally most useful when dealing with large amounts of data.
  • Pivot Chart — A pivot chart is a visual representation of data within pivot tables.
  • Source Data — Information within a pivot table can be gathered from data within a worksheet, or from external data.

Think you’ve got these down? Put them to the test! Discover more ways to conquer Excel on our blog.