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In Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Curt Frye gives a comprehensive overview of Excel, the full-featured spreadsheet software from Microsoft. The course covers key skills such as manipulating workbook and cell data, using functions, automating actions, printing worksheets, and collaborating with others. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you enter a value into your worksheet, Excel determines what type of value it is: a number, text, date, and so on, and assigns the cell a format based on that data's type. Part of that format includes the cell's alignment, which means that the data can start at the left edge of the cell, end at the right edge, or be centered within the cell. If you want, you can reposition your data within a cell by changing its alignment. To change a cell's alignment, you go to the Home tab of the Ribbon, and then you use the controls within the Alignment group.
There are a lot of them. I'm just going to focus on the few that you'll use the most often. The most commonly used controls are the left, center, and right alignment controls. You can see that we have left-aligned data. Those are the text values here: Quarter, Month and Revenue, and also right- aligned, which are the numbers here and the numbers here. In general, text is aligned to the left and numbers are aligned to the right. The Quarter, Month, and Revenue values are headers, so what I prefer to do is center my headers within the cell.
To do that, you can select the cells and then on the Alignment tab, click the align center or center text button. When you do, Excel centers the text horizontally. If you prefer to have it on the left, you can click left align, on the right, click align right, but we'll set it back to center. You can also align your text vertically within a cell. By default, Excel aligns your text with the bottom of the cell. However, you can also align it with either the center of the cell or the middle of the cell, when you're talking about up and down, or the top.
Most of the time I prefer, if I'm going to change the alignment - and I don't always - I will align it to the middle of the cell. If you want your data to be left-aligned, but you wanted to be in a little bit from the side of the cell, so, for example, you notice here that the Quarter number and the Month run fairly close together and rather than inserting a skinny column here, what I'll do is I will indent the data in the cells C4 through C15. To do that, you select the cells and then, again in the Alignment group, you click the Increase Indent button.
When you do, Excel indents the text from the left edge. If you click the Decrease Indent button, which is here, then Excel decreases the indent. I'll leave the increase in, so I'll just click the button again, and now the number of the Quarter and the name of the Month are separated, but I haven't done anything like adding spaces to the data. One other way to work with your data within a cell, especially textual data, is to wrap that data within a cell. Notice in cell F16 that I have data that spills over the edge of the cell.
There's no data in G16, H16, or I16, so Excel displays it. If I click the cell and then, in the Alignment group click Wrap Text, Excel wraps that text within the cell. Now, I'm going to undo the wrap text operation, and let's say that instead of wrapping the text, I want to add a hard line break within the cell. Normally if you press Return, you move to the next cell, or you finish entering data into a cell. So let's say - and I will make this column a little bit wider - that I want to break the text after the word 'for.' To do that, I can double-click the cell, click where I want to insert my break, and I will delete the space between 'for' and 'Two' so that when I add the line break, there isn't an extra space there.
Then I hold down the Command and Ctrl keys and press Return. When I do, Excel adds a hard line break without going on to the next cell. Now when I press Return, that data stays there, and it's formatted exactly the way that I want. Changing a cell's alignment helps you distinguish your headers from your data, and makes your data easier to read. There are lots of options available in the Home tab's Alignment group. I didn't have time to cover them all in this movie, but you should take the time to explore them on your own.
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