Lesson 8: Getting Started with Google Sheets
Google Sheets allows you to organize, edit, and analyze different types of information using spreadsheets. In this lesson, you'll learn about the different ways you might use spreadsheets and how to navigate the Google Sheets interface. You'll also learn the basic ways to work with cells and cell content, including how to select cells, insert content, and copy and paste cells.
Watch the video below to see an overview of Google Sheets.
All about Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows you to store and organize different types of information, much like Microsoft Excel. While Google Sheets does not offer all of Excel's advanced features, it's easy to create and edit spreadsheets ranging from the simple to the complex.
While you might think spreadsheets are only used by certain people to process complicated numbers and data, they can actually be used for a variety of everyday tasks. Whether you're starting a budget, planning a garden, or creating an invoice or just about anything else you can think of, spreadsheets are a great way to organize information.
Review the slideshow below to learn some of the other ways you might use spreadsheets.
To create a new Google spreadsheet:
You may notice that there is no save button. This is because Google Drive uses autosave, which automatically and immediately saves your files as you edit them.
The Google Sheets interface
In order to use and edit spreadsheets, you will need to become familiar with the Google Sheets interface.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the Google Sheets interface.
You can use the toolbar menu options to edit and modify your spreadsheet in various ways. Click a menu and select the desired action from the drop-down list.
By default, any new spreadsheet is named Untitled Spreadsheet. Click the title to rename the spreadsheet.
Collaboration options allow you to share your spreadsheet with others and make comments as you work.
This toolbar provides convenient shortcut buttons for formatting the data in your spreadsheet, like font size, text alignment, and text color.
A column is a group of cells that runs vertically from top to bottom. Columns are identified by letters. Column C is selected in this example.
A row is a group of cells that runs horizontally from side to side. Rows are identified by numbers. Row 9 is selected in this example.
Each rectangle in a spreadsheet is called a cell. A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. Click to select a cell. Cell A1 is selected in this example.
Every spreadsheet can have multiple sheets. Select the sheet tabs to navigate among sheets, and click the plus sign (+) to add a new sheet.
You can use the formula bar to enter and edit data, functions, and formulas for a specific cell.
Navigate to Google Sheets Home Screen
Click this icon to navigate back to your Google Sheets homepage.
Saved Changes Notification
Google Sheets automatically saves your changes as you work. The saved changes notification lets you know your spreadsheet has been saved.
Every spreadsheet is made up of thousands of rectangles, which are called cells. A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. Columns are identified by letters (A, B, C), while rows are identified by numbers (1, 2, 3).
Each cell has its own nameor cell addressbased on its column and row. In this example, the selected cell intersects column C and row 10, so the cell address is C10. Note that a cell's column and row headings become darker when the cell is selected.
You can also select multiple cells at the same time. A group of cells is known as a cell range. Rather than a single cell address, you'll refer to a cell range using the cell address of the first and last cells in the cell range, separated by a colon. For example, a cell range that included cells A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 would be written as A1:A5.
In the images below, two different cell ranges are selected:
Understanding cell content
Any information you enter into a spreadsheet will be stored in a cell. Each cell can contain several different types of content, including text, formatting, formulas, and functions.
To select cells:
To input or edit cell content, you'll first need to select the cell.
You can also select cells using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
To select a cell range:
Sometimes you may want to select a larger group of cells, or cell range.
To insert cell content:
To delete cell content:
To copy and paste cells:
It's easy to copy content that is already entered into your spreadsheet and paste this content to other cells.
To cut and paste cells:
Unlike copying and pastingwhich duplicates cell contentcutting and pasting moves content between cells.
There may be times when you want to copy and paste only certain parts of a cell's content. In these cases, you can use the Paste Special option. Click Edit in the toolbar menu, hover the mouse over Paste Special, and select your desired paste option from the drop-down menu.
To drag and drop cells:
Rather than cutting and pasting, you can drag and drop cells to move their contents.
To use the fill handle:
There may be times when you want to copy the content of one cell to several other cells in your spreadsheet. You could copy and paste the content into each cell, but this method would be time consuming. Instead, you can use the fill handle to quickly copy and paste content from one cell to any other cells in the same row or column.
Using the fill handle to continue a series
The fill handle can also be used to continue a series. Whenever the content of a row or column follows a sequential orderlike numbers (1, 2, 3) or days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)the fill handle will guess what should come next in the series. In our example below, the fill handle is used to extend a series of dates in a column.