Column A column is the vertical component
of a spreadsheet. A record (or row) can have
many associated columns, such as base pay,
FICA, state tax, federal tax, and so on. Each
column contains one type of information and is
normally labeled to identify the type it contains,
such as base pay.
The columns are usually
identified by letters (A, B, C, D, and so on).
Data cell A data cell contains one piece of
information associated with a particular record.
Thus, a record/row that contains seven pieces of
information will haveyou guessed itseven
data cells. A data cell is symbolically identified
b y u s i ng
s o m e t y p e
o f c o m m o n
notation-usually column, row. Therefore, if
you have a spreadsheet with 20 records, each
with 7 columns of information, the rows will be
numbered from 1 through 20, and the 7 columns
will be identified by the letters A through G. In
this way, the fourth column, sixth row of the
spreadsheet will be data cell D6, which, in figure
3-3, contains the value 2156.10.
The entire collection of data cells is often referred to
as a matrix or an array. When entering data, it is not
necessary to enter it in alphabetical or numerical order;
the software package will normally arrange the data in
whatever sequence you desire.
In looking at figure 3-3, you will notice each
individual has only one record, and each record/row
contains seven columns (or data cells) of information.
There could have just as easily been 20, 50, or 75
columns of information per record. The number of data
cells is limited only by the parameters of the spreadsheet
software and by the amount of available RAM. To give
you some idea of a spreadsheets size, the worksheet you
see in figure 3-3 might be only a small portion of the
entire worksheetthe amount that can be displayed at
one time. Although there appear to be only 20 rows and
7 columns of information, depending upon the software
package you are using, it could conceivably contain up
to as many as 8,192 rows and 256 columns of
information totaling more than 2 million data cells. A
spreadsheet of this size would be equivalent to a piece of
paper approximately 21 feet wide by 130 feet long. Try
spreading that out on a table!
Interacting with Spreadsheet Software
Like other software packages, you have cursor
movement keys, function keys, and commands to tell
the software what to do. The following list contains
some of the more common ways you can expect to
interact with a spreadsheet software package:
Cursor movement (or arrow) keys You can
move the cursor one cell at a time in one of four
directionsup, down, left, or right. Other keys
such as PgUp and PgDn move the cursor up or
down one full page; still others, when used in
conjunction with other keys, move the entire
worksheet in a specific direction.
Function keys You can use F1, F2, F3, and so
on, to display HELP screens, edit entries, display
range names, enter absolute formulas, move
back and forth between screens or windows,
perform range and global recalculations, and so
Spreadsheet commands You can use
commands to tell the software what to do.
Features of Spreadsheet Software
Spreadsheet software packages normally include
ways to do the following things:
Enter labels (non-numeric data).
Enter values (numeric data).
Enter formulas (to perform calculations,
analyses, comparisons, and projections).
Insert and delete columns and rows.
Copy and move ranges of data cells/records
from one area of a worksheet to another.
Erase part or all of a worksheet.
Change the way values are represented on part
or all of a worksheet.
Split the viewing screen to allow you to view
two parts of a worksheet simultaneously.
Save, retrieve, rename, erase, and copy files.
Print a worksheet.
Figure 3-4 is an example of a printed spreadsheet
showing the labels and titles, along with the values you
entered (shown in italics), and the values calculated by
the computer (shown in bold). Notice all the totals and
subtotals were calculated by the computer. By using
spreadsheet software, you need only enter a new price