# What Is a Spreadsheet in Excel

**What Is a Spreadsheet in Excel** – The electronic spreadsheet is a type of document, which allows the manipulation of numerical and alphanumeric data arranged in the form of tables composed of cells (which are usually arranged in a two-dimensional array of rows and columns).

The cell is the basic unit of information in the spreadsheet, where you insert the values and formulas that perform the calculations. It is usually possible to perform complex calculations with formulas and / or functions and draw different types of graphs.

**Origins of spreadsheets**

In 1972 the concept of an electronic spreadsheet was created in Richard Mattessich’s Budgeting Models and System Simulation. Pardo and Landau deserve part of the credit for these types of programs, and in fact attempted to patent (US patent number 4,398,249) some of the algorithms in 1970. The patent was not granted by the patent office as a Purely mathematical invention. Pardo and Landau won a court case stating that “something is still patentable only because the point of novelty is an algorithm.” This case helped with the start of software patents.

Dan Bricklin is the accepted inventor of spreadsheets. Bricklin told the story of a college professor who did a spreadsheet on a blackboard. When the teacher found an error, he had to erase and rewrite a lot of steps in a very tedious way, prompting Bricklin to think he could replicate the process on a computer, using the board / spreadsheet paradigm to see the results of the Formulas that intervened in the process.

His idea became VisiCalc, the first *spreadsheet*, and the “fundamental application” that made the PC from being just a hobby of computer enthusiasts, to become also a tool in business and In companies.

**Cells**

The cell of a spreadsheet is visually the place where you can enter data or perform calculations. They are usually rectangular in shape and are formed at the intersection of a row and a column and are identified by a name, such as C4 (C is the name of the column and the name of the row).

The rows are horizontal and are identified by the numbers in ascending sequence. The columns instead are identified with the letters of the alphabet and go vertically on the Worksheet.

In the cells you enter any type of information such as text or numbers, and also formulas or instructions to perform a certain calculation or task.

**Basic arithmetic operations in spreadsheets**

Each time you insert data into a cell, you can see that, for example, the literal or text data is aligned to the left of the cell, whereas a numeric type (integer or decimal) is aligned to the right of The cell automatically.

However, it can be said that whenever one or more calculations are needed in a cell, it is necessary to write the calculation in a different way.

There are basic arithmetic operators such as sum, difference, product and quotient that allow to perform such calculations, there are also predetermined functions for that purpose. In all cases, the equal sign (=) must be preceded by all these types of calculations in order for the template to “recognize” that data as an arithmetic operation or function on a particular data or group of data.

**The four basic operations in templates: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division**

The basic operations in a spreadsheet are the known arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

It is important to mention that for the execution of the task, it is necessary to start writing with an equal sign (=) or a plus sign (+) depending on the version of the spreadsheet.

The multiplication is done by means of the * operator (which is displayed as an asterisk). For example = b1 * c3, multiply the values in cells b1 and c3. You can multiply more than two cells.

The division is done by means of the / operator. For example = b1 / c3, divide the value in cell b1 by that of cell c3.

If it is desired to raise the value of a cell to exponent n, the circumflex symbol (^) must be used. For example, to raise the contents of cell c4 to cube, write the formula = c4 ^ 3.

If the sum is of few cells, it is convenient to add them directly: = a1 + a2 + a3. The same can be done if you need to subtract: = a1-b1-c1.

**Operations grouping symbols**

When combined operations (divisions that add to a multiplication, for example) must be made, parentheses can be used as in mathematics to separate one operation from another. However, and just as in mathematics, operations have a “natural” Order of Priority of operation. Power and roots are solved first. Then ratios and products. And finally me.

**Operations grouping symbols**

When combined operations (divisions that add to a multiplication, for example) must be made, parentheses can be used as in mathematics to separate one operation from another. However, and just as in mathematics, operations have a “natural” Order of Priority of operation. Power and roots are solved first. Then ratios and products. And finally additions and subtractions.

**Order of priority of operations**

All subexpressions in parentheses are evaluated first. Subexpressions with nested parentheses are evaluated from the center to the extremes.

Within an expression, the operators are evaluated as follows:

The expression is analyzed from left to right respecting the “Natural” Order of Priority of operation.

If there are parentheses in the expression, what is inside them are evaluated from left to right according to their order of priority.

If more than one pair of parentheses are found in the expression, the evaluation is performed starting with the parenthesis that is leftmost in the expression until the pair of parentheses is located to the right of the expression.

**Notions of constants and variables**

A pair of concepts of vital interest in mathematics, and in all application of this science to a specific area of knowledge, is that of constant and variable. To use a simple terminology, we will understand by constant every number (or more generically all value) concise.

A variable instead, and as its name suggests, is a representation of a data that may not always have the same value.

Thus, when we say the boiling temperature of water is 100 ° C, we are referring to a constant value for that particular phenomenon. However, if we make reference to the experience of heating the water, we will observe that as the time passes, the values that the temperature takes vary until reaching the boiling point. In this second case, the temperature is considered variable.

**Constant operations**

The Excel calculation template, of course, can directly manipulate specific (constant) values, much like a calculator.

Thus, if one wants to add the numbers 12, 13, 12 and 14 which are in cells a1, a2, a3 and a4 respectively, it will suffice to position itself in cell a5 and write = 12 + 13 + 12 + 14.

As will be seen below, this way of performing calculations (complex or not), is not recommended. Making a mistake in loading a value would mean correcting the wrong number, and also the formula itself.

**Operations with variables. Advantage**

It can be added to all the above that in Computer Science, the interpretation of constant and variable is similar to that of mathematics, but also has a particular focus on the idea of variable.

It is considered that every variable, in computing, stores a value. In this way it will be much more advantageous to manipulate a variable, and not its specific content. In the *Excel Calculation Worksheet*, manipulating variables is equivalent to manipulating cells.

Thus, in the example above, it will be more efficient to write in the cell a5 the formula “with variables” = a1 + a2 + a3 + a4, than the formula “with constants” = 12 + 13 + 12 + 14. In the first case, if an error is made in loading the values from a1 to a4, only one error will be corrected. Since the formula is written “in cells” – that is, by manipulating variables – the formula itself will recalculate the correct result without having to be corrected.

A formula is a sequence consisting of constant values, references to other cells, names, functions, or operators. A formula is a basic technique for data analysis. You can perform various operations with spreadsheet data such as *, +, -, Sine, Cosine, etc. In a formula you can mix constants, names, references to other cells, operators and functions. The formula is written in the formula bar and must always begin with the = sign.

The different types of operators that can be used in a formula are: Arithmetic operators are used to produce numerical results. Example: + – * /% ^ Text type operator is used to concatenate cells containing text. Example: & Relational operators are used to compare values and provide a logical (true or false) value as a result of the comparison. Example: <> = <=> = <> Reference operators indicate that the value produced in the referenced cell must be used in the formula. In Excel they can be: – Operator of rank indicated by colon (:), is used to indicate a range of cells. Example: A1: G5 – Joining operator indicated by a comma (,), joins the values of two or more cells. Example: A1, G5.

When there are several operations in the same expression, each part of it is evaluated and resolved in a given order. This order is known as operator priority. You can use parentheses to modify the order of priority and force the resolution of some parts of one expression before others.

Operations in parentheses are always executed before those outside the parentheses. However, within the parentheses the normal priority of operators is maintained. When there are expressions that contain operators of more than one category, those with arithmetic operators are solved first, then those with comparison operators and finally those of logical operators.

The comparison operators have all the same priority, ie they are resolved from left to right, in the order they appear. They are: Comparison Equality (=) Inequality (<>) Less than (<) Greater than (>) Less than or equal to (<=) Greater than or equal to (> =)

The logical and arithmetic operators are solved in the following order of priority (from major to minor): Logical Arithmetic Exponentiation (^) Not Negation (-) And Multiplication (*) and Division (/) Or Addition (+) and Subtraction (- ) Concatenation of characters (&) When there is multiplication and division in the same expression, each operation is resolved as it appears, from left to right. In the same way, when additions and subtractions are presented in the same expression, each operation is solved in the order in which it appears, from left to right. The string concatenation operator (&) is not really an arithmetic operator but is a priority for all comparison operators.

Functions A function is a predefined formula that performs calculations using specific values in a particular order. All the functions have to follow a syntax and if this one is not respected Excel will show us an error message. 1) Input arguments or values are always enclosed in parentheses. Do not leave spaces before or after each parentheses. 2) Arguments can be constant values (number or text), formulas or functions. 3) The arguments must be separated by a semicolon “;”. Example: = SUM (A1: B3) This function is equivalent to = A1 + A2 + A3 + B1 + B2 + B3.

## What Is a Spreadsheet in Excel

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