Google Sheets is one of the most powerful spreadsheet programs that allows you to store huge data sets and perform complex calculations with them. It uses functions and formulas to perform these calculations on the data stored in the cells.
This makes a lot of work easier because you don’t have to do any calculations manually. In short, it can save you a lot of time and effort if done right. But it’s a complicated program to get started with. Read on to master the basics of this sometimes intimidating program.
Why use this guide
Most beginners are not fully aware of Google Sheets features or where to start. In this guide, you’ll learn how to set up a perfect work environment in Google Sheets, use functions and formulas, and create charts.
If you’re a newbie, this guide serves as a great place to start. However, if you’re a little more experienced, you can dig into other more complex, useful Google Sheets formulas.
Set up the perfect work environment in Google Sheets
For many users, the default size of cells in a spreadsheet may be too small or too large to properly hold the data. It is best to change the appearance beforehand so that your data looks visually appealing and easy to read. Here are a few things you can do to change the look of your spreadsheet.
Resize a row or column in Google Sheets
There are two ways to resize a column or row in Google Sheets.
method 1: To adjust row or column size on the go, all you have to do is:
- Hover over the edge of the column or row header, which is indicated by a gray divider. When you move the mouse pointer over a dividing line, the cursor shape changes to a line with arrows on either side.
- Click and drag your cursor either left or right, or up or down, depending on whether you’re resizing a column or a row.
Method 2: This allows you to resize single and multiple rows or columns. To do this, follow the steps below:
- Click the row or column heading to select it. Use Shift + left click to select multiple columns or rows.
- Right-click to open a drop-down menu.
- Click on that change size Possibility. The option may look different depending on how rows or columns are resized. Clicking on it will open a small window where you can customize your settings.
- Enter your desired size in the text box.
- click OK to save your changes.
Having multiple tabs in a spreadsheet is an easy way to split it up based on your data. It helps keep your sheet organized and prevents it from slowing down when you open a sheet that has many formulas running at once.
To add a table, just click plus symbol (+) in the lower left part of the screen. This creates another tab in the same table. Think of it like pages in a book.
Working with two or more tabs in a spreadsheet can get confusing if you don’t know which tab of the spreadsheet contains which data. One solution to this problem is to rename the tabs.
In order to do this:
- Right-click the tab whose name you want to change. A drop-down menu will appear.
- Click on Rename and enter the name for the tab.
- Press Enter to save the changes.
To delete a table tab, right-click the desired tab and select Delete from the drop-down menu. Google Sheets will ask you for confirmation. Click on OKand it will delete the tab.
Using functions in your spreadsheet
If you’re new to Google Sheets, one of the most important things to learn is functions, as they are powerful, predefined formulas that you can use to perform calculations on your spreadsheet. There are three ways to enter a function in your spreadsheet.
Method 1: Select the cell where you want to enter the function in the first method. Then click the fx text bar and enter the function there.
Method 2: Enter the function directly into the cell.
Method 3: Follow the steps below to use a feature through the insertion Menu:
- Click on insertion in the top bar.
- Choose function in the drop down menu.
- Click on All and then look for your desired function in the list.
- Click on the desired function to add it to the cell.
Every formula follows a specific syntax, and deviating from it can result in the formula not working at all. While many functions work with different syntax, many use a similar line of calculation. Here is the syntax for most formulas in Google Sheets:
- function is the function name and will show Google Sheets the calculation you want to perform.
- arguments are the parameters that the function uses to return a result.
Operators in Google Sheets
Formulas can use several different operators within the arguments. These include:
- Arithmetic sign: These are used to perform mathematical calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- Comparison Operators: These operators are used to compare values and return logical expressions like TRUE or FALSE.
- Concatenation Operators: These operators are used to join multiple strings into one. Google Sheets also has a CONCATENATE function.
- Reference Operators: These operators are used to create Google Sheets formulas. These can also be used to display and connect data ranges.
Insert charts into your spreadsheet
Simply entering your details isn’t enough when you’re working with people who might want a quick look at the results. Huge spreadsheets can be tedious to analyze, so you can use Google Sheet’s handy charting feature to make the data more readable.
Here are the steps you need to follow to create a chart in Google Sheets:
- Select the cells with the data you want to add to the chart. This is indicated by a blue border around the cells.
- Click on insertion in the top bar.
- Select from the drop down menu diagram.
- A sidebar will appear on the right side of the screen.
- Check the box below chart type and select the chart you want to create.
- When you’re done, you can close the sidebar with cross symbol (X).
You can customize color, font, style, background and other features by going to To adjust tab in the Chart Editor.
Keep learning Google Sheets
Now that you have the basics down, you can start creating spreadsheets. But it takes years to become a true pro at Google Sheets. Keep practicing and time will fly by when you master this powerful program.
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