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Spreadsheet Cells and Ranges

When you look at a spreadsheet, the first thing that pops out at you is that blank white grid!

This giant grid is what makes a spreadsheet, and each little box in that grid is known as a cell.

Cells and How They Work

A cell is any individual box you see in a spreadsheet, and each one of these boxes can contain any single piece of information.

There are many different types of information that you can put in a cell.

Those types of information are:

  • A piece of data
    • This is a number or string of text that you type directly into the cell
    • For example, you could type in the number “22” or type in the phrase, “I love spreadsheets!!”

  • A function
    • This is a predefined formula included with the spreadsheet that performs some calculation and returns a result
    • A great example would be the COUNT function – this function counts some number of items and returns the total

  • A reference
    • This is something that refers to another cell or group of cells (known as a range) that exist within a spreadsheet

  • A formula
    • A formula is essentially a mixture of the three items listed above
    • For instance, you can add a function mixed with another function and references to build a formula that goes in a single cell

Adding Information and Referring to Cells

To add information to a cell:

  • Select the cell by clicking on it
  • Type in the information
  • Hit the enter key or select another cell

Here is an example:

Select cell C4 by clicking on the box at the intersection of column C and row 4.

Each cell is called or referred to by the row and column that intersect to create that cell.

Next, type in your name.

Finally, hit the enter key or select another cell.

You can also select an entire row or column by clicking on the header.

To select column C, click on the column C header.

To select row 4, click on the row 4 header.

As mentioned before, a cell is referred to by its intersecting row and column. Therefore, the cell at the intersection of column B and row 2 is referred to as B2.

Ranges – Groups of Cells

A range is simply a collection of two or more cells.

Ranges can be a group of cells that are next to each other or a group of individual cells scattered across the spreadsheet.

To select a range of cells that are grouped together, simply click and drag your cursor. To select individual cells throughout the spreadsheet, hold down the CTRL key and click on each cell that you want to include in the range.

Here are two examples:

To select the range B3:C6, click on cell B3 and drag your cursor to cell C4.

To select cells A2, B4, and C6, hold down CTRL and click on each of the three cells.

Referencing a Range

To reference a range of cells that are grouped together:

  • Add the reference of the cell in the top left corner of the range
  • Add a colon
  • Add the reference of the cell in the bottom right corner of the range

For example, take a look at the range A2:C6.

Cell A2 is in the top left corner of the range and cell C6 is in the bottom right corner of the range.

Therefore, this range is referred to as A2:C6.

Moving a Range

You can move a range from one place in a spreadsheet to another.

To move a range:

  • Select a range and click on the border of the range

  • Drag the range to its new location

You can also copy or cut and paste a range from one location to another.

To copy and paste a range:

  • Select the range, right-click, and then click Copy (or press CTRL + C)

  • Select the cell where you want the first cell of the range to appear, right-click, and then click Paste (or press CTRL + v)

And that’s about it for the basics of cells and ranges.

If you have any other questions or would like to learn more about specific topics surrounding cells and ranges, be sure to leave a comment down below!

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