Go to to access Wiley’s ebook EULA.

Excel® 2013 For Dummies®

Visit to view this book's cheat sheet.

Table of Contents


About This Book

How to Use This Book

What You Can Safely Ignore

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Part I: Getting Started with Excel 2013

Part II: Editing without Tears

Part III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way

Part IV: Digging Data Analysis

Part V: Life beyond the Spreadsheet

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Conventions Used in This Book

Selecting Ribbon commands

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I: Getting Started with Excel 2013

Chapter 1: The Excel 2013 User Experience

Excel’s Ribbon User Interface

Going Backstage

Using the Excel Ribbon

Customizing the Quick Access toolbar

Having fun with the Formula bar

What to do in the Worksheet area

Showing off the Status bar

Launching and Quitting Excel

Starting Excel from the Windows 8 Start screen

Starting Excel from the Windows 7 Start menu

Adding an Excel 2013 shortcut to your Windows 7 desktop

Pinning Excel 2013 to your Windows 7 Start menu

Pinning Excel 2013 to the Windows 7 taskbar

Exiting Excel

Help Is on the Way

Chapter 2: Creating a Spreadsheet from Scratch

So What Ya Gonna Put in That New Workbook of Yours?

The ins and outs of data entry

You must remember this . . .

Doing the Data-Entry Thing

It Takes All Types

The telltale signs of text

How Excel evaluates its values

Fabricating those fabulous formulas!

If you want it, just point it out

Altering the natural order of operations

Formula flub-ups

Fixing Those Data Entry Flub-Ups

You really AutoCorrect that for me

Cell editing etiquette

Taking the Drudgery out of Data Entry

I’m just not complete without you

Fill ’er up with AutoFill

Fill it in a flash

Inserting special symbols

Entries all around the block

Data entry express

How to Make Your Formulas Function Even Better

Inserting a function into a formula with the Insert Function button

Editing a function with the Insert Function button

I’d be totally lost without AutoSum

Sums via Quick Analysis Totals

Making Sure That the Data Is Safe and Sound

Changing the default file location

The difference between the XLSX and XLS file format

Saving the Workbook as a PDF File

Document Recovery to the Rescue

Part II: Editing without Tears

Chapter 3: Making It All Look Pretty

Choosing a Select Group of Cells

Point-and-click cell selections

Keyboard cell selections

Using the Format as Table Gallery

Cell Formatting from the Home Tab

Formatting Cells Close to the Source with the Mini-bar

Using the Format Cells Dialog Box

Understanding the number formats

The values behind the formatting

Make it a date!

Ogling some of the other number formats

Calibrating Columns

Rambling rows

Now you see it, now you don’t

Futzing with the Fonts

Altering the Alignment

Intent on indents

From top to bottom

Tampering with how the text wraps

Reorienting cell entries

Shrink to fit

Bring on the borders!

Applying fill colors, patterns, and gradient effects to cells

Doing It in Styles

Creating a new style for the gallery

Copying custom styles from one workbook into another

Fooling Around with the Format Painter

Conditional Formatting

Formatting with scales and markers

Highlighting cells ranges

Formatting via the Quick Analysis tool

Chapter 4: Going Through Changes

Opening Your Workbooks for Editing

Opening files in the Open screen

Operating the Open dialog box

Changing the Recent files settings

Opening multiple workbooks

Find workbook files

Using the Open file options

Much Ado about Undo

Undo is Redo the second time around

What to do when you can’t Undo?

Doing the Old Drag-and-Drop Thing

Copies, drag-and-drop style

Insertions courtesy of drag and drop

Copying Formulas with AutoFill

Relatively speaking

Some things are absolutes!

Cut and Paste, Digital Style

Paste it again, Sam . . .

Keeping pace with Paste Options

Paste it from the Clipboard task pane

So what’s so special about Paste Special?

Let’s Be Clear about Deleting Stuff

Sounding the all clear!

Get these cells outta here!

Staying in Step with Insert

Stamping Out Your Spelling Errors

Eliminating Errors with Text to Speech

Chapter 5: Printing the Masterpiece

Previewing Pages in Page Layout View

Using the Backstage Print Screen

Printing the Current Worksheet

My Page Was Set Up!

Using the buttons in the Page Setup group

Using the buttons in the Scale to Fit group

Using the Print buttons in the Sheet Options group

From Header to Footer

Adding an Auto Header and Footer

Creating a custom header or footer

Solving Page Break Problems

Letting Your Formulas All Hang Out

Part III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way

Chapter 6: Maintaining the Worksheet

Zooming In and Out

Splitting the Worksheet into Windows

Fixed Headings with Freeze Panes

Electronic Sticky Notes

Adding a comment to a cell

Comments in review

Editing comments in a worksheet

Getting your comments in print

The Range Name Game

If I only had a name . . .

Name that formula!

Naming constants

Seek and Ye Shall Find . . .

Replacing Cell Entries

Doing Your Research

Controlling Recalculation

Putting on the Protection

Chapter 7: Maintaining Multiple Worksheets

Juggling Multiple Worksheets

Sliding between the sheets

Editing en masse

Don’t Short-Sheet Me!

A worksheet by any other name . . .

A sheet tab by any other color . . .

Getting your sheets in order

Opening Windows on Your Worksheets

Comparing Worksheets Side by Side

Shifting Sheets to Other Workbooks

Summing Stuff on Different Worksheets

Part IV: Digging Data Analysis

Chapter 8: Doing What-If Analysis

Playing What-If with Data Tables

Creating a one-variable data table

Creating a two-variable data table

Playing What-If with Goal Seeking

Making the Case with Scenario Manager

Setting up the various scenarios

Producing a summary report

Chapter 9: Playing with Pivot Tables

Data Analysis with Pivot Tables

Pivot tables via the Quick Analysis tool

Pivot tables by recommendation

Manually producing pivot tables

Formatting Pivot Tables

Refining the Pivot Table style

Formatting values in the pivot table

Sorting and Filtering Pivot Table Data

Filtering the report

Filtering column and row fields

Filtering with slicers

Filtering with timelines

Sorting the pivot table

Modifying Pivot Tables

Modifying the pivot table fields

Pivoting the table’s fields

Modifying the table’s summary function

Creating Pivot Charts

Moving pivot charts to separate sheets

Filtering pivot charts

Formatting pivot charts

Part V: Life beyond the Spreadsheet

Chapter 10: Charming Charts and Gorgeous Graphics

Making Professional-Looking Charts

Charts thanks to Recommendation

Charts from the Ribbon

Charts via the Quick Analysis tool

Charts on their own chart sheets

Moving and resizing embedded charts

Moving embedded charts to chart sheets

Customizing charts from the Design tab

Customizing chart elements

Editing the generic titles in a chart

Adding Great-Looking Graphics

Sparking up the data with sparklines

Telling all with a text box

Downloading online images

Inserting local images

Editing inserted pictures

Formatting inserted images

Adding preset graphic shapes

Working with WordArt

Make mine SmartArt

Screenshots anyone?

Theme for a day

Controlling How Graphic Objects Overlap

Reordering the layering of graphic objects

Grouping graphic objects

Hiding graphic objects

Printing Just the Charts

Chapter 11: Getting on the Data List

Creating Data Lists

Adding records to data lists

Moving through records in the data form

Finding records with the data form

Sorting Data Lists

Sorting on a single field

Sorting on multiple fields

Filtering Data Lists

Using ready-made number filters

Using ready-made date filters

Using custom filters

Importing External Data

Querying Access database tables

Performing web queries

Chapter 12: Linking, Automating, and Sharing Spreadsheets

Using Apps for Office

Using Excel Add-Ins

Adding Hyperlinks to a Worksheet

Automating Commands with Macros

Recording new macros

Running macros

Assigning macros to the Ribbon and the Quick Access toolbar

Sharing Your Worksheets

Sharing workbooks via OneDrive

E-mailing workbooks

Sharing workbooks with IM

Presenting worksheets online

Editing worksheets online

Reviewing workbooks online

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 13: Top Ten Beginner Basics

Chapter 14: The Ten Commandments of Excel 2013

Cheat Sheet
End User License Agreement

About the Author

Greg Harvey has authored tons of computer books, the most recent and most popular being Excel 2010 For Dummies and Excel 2010 All-in-One For Dummies. He started out training business users on how to use IBM personal computers and their attendant computer software in the rough-and-tumble days of DOS, WordStar, and Lotus 1-2-3 in the mid-80s of the last century. After working for a number of independent training firms, Greg went on to teach semester-long courses in spreadsheet and database management software at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

His love of teaching has translated into an equal love of writing. For Dummies books are, of course, his all-time favorites to write because they enable him to write to his favorite audience: the beginner. They also enable him to use humor (a key element to success in the training room) and, most delightful of all, to express an opinion or two about the subject matter at hand.

Greg received his doctorate degree in Humanities in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Asian Studies and Comparative Religion last May. Everyone is glad that Greg was finally able to get out of school before he retired.


An Erucolindo melindonya

Author’s Acknowledgments

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the people, both at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and at Mind over Media, whose dedication and talent combined to get this book out and into your hands in such great shape.

At John Wiley & Sons, Inc., I want to thank Andy Cummings and Katie Feltman for their encouragement and help in getting this project underway and their ongoing support every step of the way. These people made sure that the project stayed on course and made it into production so that all the talented folks on the production team could create this great final product.

At Mind over Media, I want to thank Christopher Aiken for his review of the updated manuscript and invaluable input and suggestions on how best to restructure the book to accommodate all the wonderful new features in Excel 2013 and, more importantly, lay out the exciting new “anytime, anywhere” story to Excel users.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions and Editorial

Senior Project Editor: Nicole Sholly

Senior Acquisitions Editor: Katie Feltman

Copy Editors: Amanda Graham, Jean Nelson

Technical Editor: Russ Mullen

Editorial Manager: Kevin Kirschner

Editorial Assistant: Anne Sullivan

Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case

Cover Photo: © Henrik Jonsson / iStockphoto

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Sheree Montgomery

Layout and Graphics: Melanee Habig

Indexer: BIM Indexing & Proofreading Services

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


I’m very proud to present you with Excel 2013 For Dummies, the latest version of everybody’s favorite book on Microsoft Office Excel for readers with no intention whatsoever of becoming spreadsheet gurus.

Excel 2013 For Dummies covers all the fundamental techniques you need to know in order to create, edit, format, and print your own worksheets. In addition to showing you around the worksheet, this book also exposes you to the basics of charting, creating data lists, and performing data analysis. Keep in mind, though, that this book just touches on the easiest ways to get a few things done with these features — I don’t attempt to cover charting, data lists, or data analysis in the same definitive way as spreadsheets: This book concentrates on spreadsheets because spreadsheets are what most regular folks create with Excel.

About This Book

This book isn’t meant to be read cover to cover. Although its chapters are loosely organized in a logical order (progressing as you might when studying Excel in a classroom situation), each topic covered in a chapter is really meant to stand on its own.

Each discussion of a topic briefly addresses the question of what a particular feature is good for before launching into how to use it. In Excel, as with most other sophisticated programs, you usually have more than one way to do a task. For the sake of your sanity, I have purposely limited the choices by usually giving you only the most efficient ways to do a particular task. Later, if you’re so tempted, you can experiment with alternative ways of doing a task. For now, just concentrate on performing the task as I describe.

As much as possible, I’ve tried to make it unnecessary for you to remember anything covered in another section of the book. From time to time, however, you will come across a cross-reference to another section or chapter in the book. For the most part, such cross-references are meant to help you get more complete information on a subject, should you have the time and interest. If you have neither, no problem. Just ignore the cross-references as if they never existed.

How to Use This Book

This book is similar to a reference book. You can start by looking up the topic you need information about (in either the Table of Contents or the index) and then refer directly to the section of interest. I explain most topics conversationally (as though you were sitting in the back of a classroom where you can safely nap). Sometimes, however, my regiment-commander mentality takes over, and I list the steps you need to take to accomplish a particular task in a particular section.

What You Can Safely Ignore

When you come across a section that contains the steps you take to get something done, you can safely ignore all text accompanying the steps (the text that isn’t in bold) if you have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through more material.

Whenever possible, I have also tried to separate background or footnote-type information from the essential facts by exiling this kind of junk to a sidebar (look for blocks of text on a gray background). Often, these sections are flagged with icons that let you know what type of information you will encounter there. You can easily disregard text marked this way. (I’ll scoop you on the icons I use in this book a little later.)

Foolish Assumptions

I’m only going to make one foolish assumption about you and that is that you have some need to use Microsoft Excel 2013 in your work or studies. If pushed, I further guess that you aren’t particularly interested in knowing Excel at an expert level but are terribly motivated to find out how to do the stuff you need to get done. If that’s the case, this is definitely the book for you. Fortunately, even if you happen to be one of those newcomers who’s highly motivated to become the company’s resident spreadsheet guru, you’ve still come to the right place.

As far as your hardware and software goes, I’m assuming that you already have Excel 2013 (usually as part of Microsoft Office 2013) installed on your computing device, using a standard home or business installation running under either Windows 7 or 8. I’m not assuming, however, that when you’re using Excel 2013 under Windows 7 or 8 that you’re sitting in front of a large screen monitor and making cell entries and command selections with a physical keyboard or connected mouse. With the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface tablet for Windows 8 and the support for a whole slew of different Windows tablets, you may well be entering data and selecting commands with your finger or stylus using the Windows Touch keyboard and Touch Pointer.

touchscreen.eps To deal with the differences between using Excel 2013 on a standard desktop or laptop computer with access only to a physical keyboard and mouse and a touchscreen tablet or smartphone environment with access only to the virtual Touch keyboard and Touch Pointer, I’ve outlined the touchscreen equivalents to common commands you find throughout the text such as “click,” “double-click,” “drag,” and so forth in the section entitled, “Selecting Commands by touch” in Chapter 1.

Keep in mind that although most of the figures in this book show Excel 2013 happily running on Windows 7, you will see the occasional figure showing Excel running on Windows 8 in the rare cases (as when opening and saving files) where the operating system you’re using does make a difference.

warning_bomb.eps This book is intended only for users of Microsoft Excel 2013! Because of the diversity of the devices that Excel 2013 runs on and the places where its files can be saved and used, if you’re using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 for Windows, much of the file-related information in this book may only confuse and confound you. If you’re still using a version prior to Excel 2007, which introduced the Ribbon interface, this edition will be of no use to you because your version of the program works nothing like the 2013 version this book describes.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized in six parts with each part containing two or more chapters (to keep the editors happy) that more or less go together (to keep you happy). Each chapter is divided further into loosely related sections that cover the basics of the topic at hand. However, don’t get hung up on following the structure of the book; ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you find out how to edit the worksheet before you learn how to format it, or whether you figure out printing before you learn editing. The important thing is that you find the information — and understand it when you find it — when you need to perform a particular task.

In case you’re interested, a synopsis of what you find in each part follows.

Part I: Getting Started with Excel 2013

As the name implies, in this part I cover such fundamentals as how to start the program, identify the parts of the screen, enter information in the worksheet, save a document, and so on. If you’re starting with absolutely no background in using spreadsheets, you definitely want to glance at the information in Chapter 1 to discover the secrets of the Ribbon interface before you move on to how to create new worksheets in Chapter 2.

Part II: Editing without Tears

In this part, I show you how to edit spreadsheets to make them look good, including how to make major editing changes without courting disaster. Peruse Chapter 3 when you need information on formatting the data to improve the way it appears in the worksheet. See Chapter 4 for rearranging, deleting, or inserting new information in the worksheet. Read Chapter 5 for the skinny on printing your finished product.

Part III: Getting Organized and Staying That Way

Here I give you all kinds of information on how to stay on top of the data that you’ve entered into your spreadsheets. Chapter 6 is full of good ideas on how to keep track of and organize the data in a single worksheet. Chapter 7 gives you the ins and outs of working with data in different worksheets in the same workbook and gives you information on transferring data between the sheets of different workbooks.

Part IV: Digging Data Analysis

This part consists of two chapters. Chapter 8 introduces performing various types of what-if analysis in Excel, including setting up data tables with one and two inputs, performing goal seeking, and creating different cases with Scenario Manager. Chapter 9 introduces Excel’s vastly improved pivot table and pivot chart capabilities that enable you to summarize and filter vast amounts of data in a worksheet table or data list in a compact tabular or chart format.

Part V: Life beyond the Spreadsheet

In Part V, I explore some of the other aspects of Excel besides the spreadsheet. In Chapter 10, you find out just how ridiculously easy it is to create a chart using the data in a worksheet. In Chapter 11, you discover just how useful Excel’s data list capabilities can be when you have to track and organize a large amount of information. In Chapter 12, you find out about using add-in programs to enhance Excel’s basic features, adding hyperlinks to jump to new places in a worksheet, to new documents, and even to web pages, as well as how to record macros to automate your work.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

As is the tradition in For Dummies books, the last part contains lists of the top ten most useful and useless facts, tips, and suggestions. In this part, you find two chapters. Chapter 13 provides you with the top ten beginner basics you need to know as you start using this program. Chapter 14 gives you the King James Version of the Ten Commandments of Excel 2013. With this chapter under your belt, how canst thou goest astray?

Conventions Used in This Book

The following information gives you the lowdown on how things look in this book. Publishers call these items the book’s conventions (no campaigning, flag-waving, name-calling, or finger-pointing is involved, however).

Selecting Ribbon commands

Throughout the book, you’ll find Ribbon command sequences (the name on the tab on the Ribbon and the command button you select) separated by a command arrow, as in:


This shorthand is the Ribbon command that copies whatever cells or graphics are currently selected to the Windows Clipboard. It means that you click the Home tab on the Ribbon (if it isn’t displayed already) and then click the Copy button (that sports the traditional side-by-side page icon).

Some of the Ribbon command sequences involve not only selecting a command button on a tab, but then also selecting an item on a drop-down menu. In this case, the drop-down menu command follows the name of the tab and command button, all separated by command arrows, as in:

FormulasCalculation OptionsManual

This shorthand is the Ribbon command sequence that turns on manual recalculation in Excel. It says that you click the Formulas tab (if it isn’t displayed already) and then click the Calculation Options button followed by the Manual drop-down menu option.

The book occasionally encourages you to type something specific into a specific cell in the worksheet. When I tell you to enter a specific function, the part you should type generally appears in bold type. For example, =SUM(A2:B2) means that you should type exactly what you see: an equal sign, the word SUM, a left parenthesis, the text A2:B2 (complete with a colon between the letter-number combos), and a right parenthesis. You then, of course, have to press Enter to make the entry stick.

Occasionally, I give you a hot key combination that you can press in order to choose a command from the keyboard rather than clicking buttons on the Ribbon with the mouse. Hot key combinations are written like this: Alt+FS or Ctrl+S (both of these hot key combos save workbook changes).

With the Alt key combos on a physical keyboard, you press the Alt key until the hot key letters appear in little squares all along the Ribbon. At that point, you can release the Alt key and start typing the hot key letters (by the way, you type all lowercase hot key letters — I only put them in caps to make them stand out in the text).

Hot key combos that use the Ctrl key are of an older vintage and work a little bit differently. On physical keyboards you have to hold down the Ctrl key while you type the hot key letter (though again, type only lowercase letters unless you see the Shift key in the sequence, as in Ctrl+Shift+C).

Excel 2013 uses only one pull-down menu (File) and one toolbar (the Quick Access toolbar). You open the File pull-down menu by clicking the File button or pressing Alt+F to access the Excel Backstage view. The Quick Access toolbar with its four buttons appears directly above the File button.

Finally, if you’re really observant, you may notice a discrepancy in how the names of dialog box options (such as headings, option buttons, and check boxes) appear in the text and how they actually appear in Excel on your computer screen. I intentionally use the convention of capitalizing the initial letters of all the main words of a dialog box option to help you differentiate the name of the option from the rest of the text describing its use.

Icons Used in This Book

The following icons are placed in the margins to point out stuff you may or may not want to read.

technicalstuff.eps This icon alerts you to nerdy discussions that you may well want to skip (or read when no one else is around).

touchscreen.eps This icon denotes a tidbit only for Excel users who are running Excel 2013 on some sort of touchscreen device such as a Windows 8 tablet or smartphone.

tip.eps This icon alerts you to shortcuts or other valuable hints related to the topic at hand.

remember.eps This icon alerts you to information to keep in mind if you want to meet with a modicum of success.

warning_bomb.eps This icon alerts you to information to keep in mind if you want to avert complete disaster.

Where to Go from Here

If you’ve never worked with a computer spreadsheet, I suggest that you first go to Chapter 1 and find out what you’re dealing with. Then, as specific needs arise (such as, “How do I copy a formula?” or “How do I print just a particular section of my worksheet?”), you can go to the Table of Contents or the index to find the appropriate section and go right to that section for answers.

Occasionally, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., has updates to its technology books. If this book has technical updates, they will be posted at

Part I


pt_webextra_bw.TIF Visit for more great Dummies content online.

In this part…

check Explore the Excel user Ribbon interface.

check Make sense of the most commonly used tabs and command buttons.

check Customize the Quick Access toolbar.

check Start (and stop) Excel 2013.

check Find help through the online Excel 2013 Help window.

check Become familiar with the prominent buttons and boxes for entering spreadsheet data.

check Recover a lost workbook when disaster strikes.

check Visit for more great Dummies content online.