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Excerpt for MS Excel from the keyboard by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition

MS Excel from the keyboard

By Visimpscot (http://tinyurl.com/visimpscot) Published by Pointsize Press at Smashwords 2018 Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

Other titles by Visimpscot:

  • MS Word from the keyboard

  • LibreOffice / OpenOffice Writer from the keyboard

  • LibreOffice / OpenOffice Calc from the keyboard

  • NVDA digital skills

Contents

Introduction

Different keyboards

For tutors

MS Excel some history

Target audience group

Conventions

Suggested approaches for effective learning with this guide

The aims of this guide

Keyboard access in general

What is a spreadsheet and how are they structured?

Pen-picture of the MS Excel screen

MS Excel general shortcuts

Customising MS Excel for visually impaired users

MS Excel’s default Workbook formats and conventions

How to Launch MS Excel

Getting a feel for how to move around a worksheet

Entering data into a Worksheet

Workbook exercise creating and saving a Worksheet with headings and formulae for totals

AutoSum

Highlighting / selecting cells

MS Excel’s additional selection mode

Saving and opening files

The library folders

Recently opened files

Essentials of the MS Windows open / save dialog

Saving A Worksheet to the “Documents folder or a flash drive step by step

Opening an already created file / workbook step by step

Shortcuts available in the save and open dialog Boxes

Printing Workbooks, Worksheets and Cell Ranges

Portrait Printing

Landscape Printing

Cut, Copy and Paste with the Windows and MS Office Clipboards

The Traditional Windows Clipboard

The MS Office multiple Clipboard

Spell- and formula-checking your Worksheets

Spell-checking the text in worksheets

Creating a multi page Workbook

Insert, delete and rename worksheets

Changing the Column Width and Row Height of Your Worksheets

Columns

Rows

Manually formatting cells

Selecting a border style

Selecting a font type and size

Selecting a cell or worksheet background pattern or colour

Selecting the type of number format and currency symbol to use

Selecting the way you want text and values aligned

Applying a cell formatting style

Editing a single cell

Clearing and deleting cells, rows, columns and worksheets

Clearing

Deleting

Naming Cells

Changing cell references in formulae to names

Using Goto to jump to named cells and cell references

Entering dates

Using, Viewing and Printing Common formulae

Example formulae

Workbook exercise amending data and formulae

Printing spreadsheets showing their formulae

Sorting and auto-filling data

Sorting lists of data in ascending or descending order

Workbook exercise sorting

The Find and Find and Replace Features

Find

Find and replace

Autofilter

Importing data from other programs

AutoCorrect

Add a text entry to the AutoCorrect list

MS Excel macros

Password protecting Workbooks

MS Office help system

MS Office help keyboard shortcuts

Comprehensive list of MS Excel’s keyboard shortcuts

Function keys

Other useful shortcut keys

MS Excel ribbon interface shortcuts

Screen reader specific MS Excel hotkeys

JAWS special MS Excel hot keys

HAL special MS Excel hot keys

Window-Eyes and special MS Excel hot keys and Set-Up

NVDA special MS Excel hotkeys





Introduction

This guide was inspired in 2016 by one on using Microsoft (MS)Excel from the keyboard that was written by John Wilson in 2006, after ten years it was in serious need of updating. The world is full of guides and tutorials to using MS Excel and hardly needs any more… but very few of them pay much attention to using MS Excel while relying on the keyboard, rather than a mouse or some other pointing device.

The guide has been written by Visimpscot (http://tinyurl.com/visimpscot), we are based in the East of Scotland but also have also worked in Asia, East Africa and the Pacific. Concentrating on delivering quality IT training, we specalise in helping the ‘not for profit sector’ and users with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments. You can contact us by emailing visimpscot@live.co.uk .


If you spot any errors that have slipped through editing and proof reading, please let us know.

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. Basically it means that you can freely use or adapt this material so long as Visimpscot is acknowledged and that any resulting product uses the same license. If you do use or adapt this guide please let us know because shared ideas are better ideas. If you want to produce translations into other languages that would be great.


There are times when it is suggested that certain tasks are best carried out with sighted assistance, it is not that it is impossible to do them without but because it really will be easier.


The guide is free but if you do use it and want to make a donation please go to the NVDA screen reader project website (http://www.nvaccess.org/) and make a donation to support them.

Different keyboards

This guide assumes that you are using a standard layout desktop or laptop ‘qwerty’ keyboard. Some small keyboards on notepad computers or large keyboards for users with visual or motor control impairments may not have all of the keys mentioned. There may be ways around this problem by remapping the keyboard but this not a task for the inexperienced.

For tutors

There are many tutorials, guides and books to using MS Office programs (Access, Excel, Powerpoint, Word) that cover features this guide does not, or only gives short treatment to. One web based resource that provides a large number of well structured free tutorials is the Goodwill Community Foundation (http://www.gcflearnfree.org/topics).

If you study this guide and practise with the examples and exercises then what you need to do to customise learning material such as the Goodwill Community Foundation tutorials for keyboard only access should become apparent.

MS Excel some history

Before Microsoft Office 2007 the popular MS Office programs MS Excel and MS Word used a menu based interface supplemented by visual tool bars, accessing the menus with the keyboard. From Office 2007 onwards MS Word and MS Excel have used a ribbon interface. The keyboard shortcuts of the old menu based system still work although they now bear no logical connection to the program interface displayed on the screen. However, MS Excel is a powerful and widely available program and many MS Windows screen reading programs have keyboard commands specifically designed for it.

Target audience group

This guide was written for visually impaired computer users and their tutors. Using MS Excel with keyboard access methods and no mouse or other pointing device, is the basis of this work. The guide assumes a basic understanding of the Windows operating system and your particular screen reader’s general hot keys.

The guide was not written to be used with any particular screen reader program but is intended for users of MS Excel 2007 or later. It is not uncommon for screen reading programs to have extra spreadsheet commands specifically for use with MS Word You should also study the guides manuals which come with your screen reader and get to know the main hot keys for use in spreadsheet programs, although a list of many of them for JAWS, HAL, NVDA and Window-Eyes is given at the end of the guide.

Conventions

The terms “hotkey” and “keyboard shortcut” are used interchangeably in this guide.

All keystrokes are formatted like this. In this guide and all individual and combinations of keys you actually have to press during a procedure are in capital letters so that they stand out to anyone reading this tutorial visually, e.g. to bring up the Open dialogue box press CONTROL + O, terms have the following meanings:

  • ALT + F AND A Means hold down the left ALT key and whilst still holding it down press the letter F, then release both and press the letter A.

  • CONTROL + S Means hold down the CONTROL key and whilst keeping it held down press the letter S and then release both.

  • SHIFT + END Means hold down the SHIFT key and whilst keeping it held down press the END key.

  • ALT + E + C, and press ENTER Means hold down the left ALT key and whilst keeping it held down press the letter E key, release both and then press the letter C key followed by the ENTER key.

If, in a menu, your screen reader announces an arrow or says something like submenu, this means that pressing ENTER or right ARROWING on this menu item will take you into a sub-menu to arrow up and down in and make a choice. If your screen reader announces a row of three dots or says something like dialogue, you will open up a dialogue box to work in if you press ENTER on it.

Some of the keyboard access methods make extensive use of the TAB key and the up, down, left and right arrow keys and at times ‘tabbing’ and ‘arrowing’ are used as verbs, apologies to English language purists.

Suggested approaches for effective learning with this guide

It is up to the individual how they gain information and work through this guide, but a few suggestions might assist the learner who is relatively new to computers. I suggest that you read through the whole of a section before attempting to practise it to obtain an overview of what is being done.

There are a number of approaches can be taken to make reading the guide and simultaneously carrying out the instructions more fluid and easier to follow. You could try one of these methods:


Ideally, if you have two computers (physical or physical and virtual), you can load the tutorial into your text editor or word-processor on one PC and have the software program running on the other. You can listen to the directions on one computer whilst practising them on the other.


If you only have the one computer, you could launch your word-processor and load the tutorial into it for reading and then launch MS Excel to practise the lessons. You would have to keep cycling between each running program by pressing ALT + TAB.


Other options would be for you to print out a copy of the tutorial in large print if you can use this and work from this hard copy, or get your local library or resource centre (if there is one) to produce a Braille version for you to work from if you are a Braillist.

The aims of this guide

This is not a comprehensive guide to using MS Excel, hopefully that after working through it learners will be equipped to follow other tutorials or courses on MS Excel with little adaptation needed.

The guide aims to take a learner new to spreadsheets through the beginner*s level concepts and practical stages of MS Excel or to help an experienced computer user who is unused to relying on keyboard commands.


If the guide does not meet your particular needs the Creative Commons License means that you are free to adapt it, so long as the source is acknowledged and any derivative work uses the same license.


Unless you are an experienced computer and screen reader user work through the guide systematically, as the sections build on one another and jumping straight to a middle or end section may not make sense if you have not read and practised earlier sections. Experienced computer users may not need to spend much time on basic spreadsheet concepts but mastering navigating through a spreadsheet is particularly important.


A visually impaired person may decide to create spreadsheets for your own use that avoid fancy formatting and blank rows and columns. However, if sighted people are going to view them, you may then wish to change the layout, formatting and spacing to give a more professional.

Keyboard access in general

This is not specific to MS Excel but should work in any well designed program.

Most computer programs have some ‘hotkeys’ / ‘keyboard shortcuts’ to access commands quickly and easily, an example would be CONTROL N for create a new file.


In tandem with ‘hotkeys’, you can use most visual program interfaces (or should be able to if the program designers have done their job properly) with keystrokes.


Only one control can ‘have focus’… be the active control at a time. In a group of controls, such as a program menu pressing the TAB key will move the focus forward through the controls in a set order, SHIFT TAB will move the focus backwards through the controls.


Pressing the up or down ARROW keys generally has the same effect as TAB and SHIFT TAB while pressing the left or right ARROW keys will move the focus into a submenu.


For button controls, when they have focus, pressing ENTER is the equivalent of clicking on the button with a computer mouse


For check box controls, when they have focus, pressing SPACEBAR will check or uncheck the control


For tabbed controls, when they have focus, pressing CONTROL PAGE down will move to the next tab, pressing CONTROL PAGE up will move to the previous tab.


For radio button controls, when they have focus, pressing SPACEBAR will check or clear the control

What is a spreadsheet and how are they structured?

Experienced users may choose to skim through this section.

Microsoft MS Excel is a spreadsheet program. It provides a grid of vertical columns and horizontal rows of “cells” into which you can type numbers, words or formulae to do calculations.


The text you type into a cell is called a “label” and the figures you type in are called “values”.


One or many pages of a spreadsheet are known as a file, although MS Excel has its own name for such a file, calling it a “workbook”. So, if a workbook had 100 pages (known as worksheets) within it, the workbook would be like a ring binder and the 100 worksheets within it would represent the pages within the encompassing binder. Each Workbook will have its own unique filename with an extension of “.XLS”, e.g. book1.xls, invoice3.xls, smith44salesledger.xls .

Each worksheet in a workbook has columns running down the sheet which are labeled from left to right A, B, C, D, etc. and it has rows running across the sheet which are numbered down the left-hand side 1, 2, 3, etc. So, by knowing the letter at the top of a column and the number at the left of a row, you can easily work out the co-ordinates of a particular cell within a sheet. For example, a cell which is two in from the left and two down from the top would have a cell reference position coordinate of B2, a cell which is five in from the left and 124 rows down could be found at the cell coordinate of E124, etc.


The default name for the first page in a workbook is “Sheet1”, the second “Sheet2” etc. but you can give change these names.


A “cell”, is a kind of box, such a cell can vary in size, horizontally (width) and vertically (depth) depending on your requirements, for instance, it may simply contain one character, such as the number 2 or it might contain ten words spread over three separate lines.


Worksheets can also include a “chart”, which is a graphical representation of the data on a worksheet.


You would, create or read a spreadsheet like reading a bus or train timetable. It is simply a grid of small (but expandable) boxes, each of which has a known place on the grid that is given by the column and row letter / number.


The hierarchy of MS Excel’s structural levels, from the largest down, is: workbook, worksheet and then cell.

Pen-picture of the MS Excel screen

A single MS Excel screen of information will typically contain:

  1. The “Title Bar” containing the name of the worksheet which is on screen, e.g. “Book1” and then the words “Microsoft Excel” if you have not yet replaced this default file name with a name of your own.

  2. Below the Title bar is the “ribbon interface”. It is possible to use some keyboard commands with the ribbon interface but for most screen reader users it will be simpler to ignore it.

  3. Next down comes the “Formula Bar” where a formula or the contents of the cell with current focus can sometimes be viewed. Look at this in mouse or virtual cursor mode unless your screen reader has a read Formula Bar hot key, e.g. CONTROL + F2 with JAWS.

  4. All the main part of the screen down to the last two lines contains the worksheet grid of cells i.e. with columns alphabeticised at the top A, B, C, etc, and rows numbered at the left 1, 2, 3, etc. Only a fraction of a total worksheets potential size can be displayed on one screen even, with the screen maximised (ALT + SPACEBAR X).

  5. On the bottom line of the displayed screen are found the worksheet tabs which can be used to move from worksheet, to worksheet (the default is for 3 worksheets called ‘Sheet 1’, ‘Sheet 2’ and ‘Sheet 3’) but you can achieve this from the keyboard by pressing CONTROL + PAGE up or down. Have a look at the stationary screen in your screen reader*s mouse or virtual mode. Note that if you arrow right or down the worksheet will move (scroll) to the left or down and reveal more columns and more rows.

  6. Finally, on the last line, is the status bar, normally displaying the current work sheet number and the total number of worksheets… for example Sheet 1 / 3, if MS Excel is displaying worksheet one of three. It will also display different information at other times, such as the autosum total of any cells you have selected. This is a way of quickly viewing what the total of a range of cells amounts to by pressing your screen readers read Status Bar hot key, e.g. Numpad 2 in HAL or / in HAL, INSERT Numpad 3 in JAWS and ALT + S* in Window-Eyes.

MS Excel general shortcuts

Whether these keyboard shortcuts do anything when you press them will depend on what type of worksheet environment you are in, what stage you are at and whether or not you have selected any cells, etc.

This is a list of MS Excel’s shortcuts for those who prefer or rely on shortcut keystrokes. It includes Excel’s most useful and frequently used shortcuts. This is a fraction of all the Excel shortcuts. A more complete list of these shortcuts is included in, Part Four of the guide.


Press BACKSPACE: To delete the character to the left of the insertion point.

Press F1: To invoke Excel’s online help system.

Press F2: To be able to edit the contents of the current cell.

Press F8: To turn on extending a selection by using the arrow keys.

Press F11: To create a chart which uses the current range.

Press F7: To invoke the spell-checker for any text in your spreadsheet.

Press F9: To calculate all sheets in all open workbooks.

Press right, left, up or down ARROW keys: To move one cell at a time in any direction. Pressing TAB also moves you one cell at a time along a row from left to right and SHIFT + TAB moves you backwards. Pressing ENTER after completing a cell moves you down a row in the current column.

Press PAGE up or PAGE down: To move through a spreadsheet upwards or downwards one page (the exact amount varies with page different page setups).

Press ALT + =: To generate an auto sum.

Press =: To then be able to type a formula into the current cell.

Press CONTROL + SPACEBAR: To select/select the whole of the column the cursor is currently in.

Press SHIFT + SPACEBAR: To select/select the entire row the cursor is in.

Press ALT + ENTER: to insert a carriage return and start a new line in the same cell.

Press CONTROL + F: To bring up the find dialogue box.

Press CONTROL + 1: To display the format cells dialogue box.

Press CONTROL with any of the ARROW keys: To move to the edge of data regions, e.g. CONTROL + down ARROW when in the middle of row D of a page with several rows in it will jump you to the last cell in row D with data in it.

Press CONTROL + PAGE down: To switch to the next spreadsheet page including any with charts on them.

Press CONTROL + PAGE up: Opposite of the above.

Press ALT + PAGE down: To move right one screenful of information, which will normally mean jumping 11 rows to your right each time you do this.

Press HOME: To jump to the beginning of the current row.

Press END and then left ARROW: To jump to the end of the current row.

Press CONTROL + HOME: to jump to Cell A1.

Press CONTROL + END: to jump to the last cell in your current data range.

Press CONTROL + ;: To insert the date in the current cell.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + 7: To obtain a border format outline.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + -: To remove a border.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + ;: to insert the time.

Press CONTROL + backtick: to toggle displaying formulae or values, i.e. displaying a formula in a cell or the results of that formula.

Press CONTROL + N: to open a new workbook.

Press SHIFT + F11: To insert a new Excel worksheet.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + SPACEBAR*: To select all objects.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + !: To invoke two decimal place format.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + &: to generate an outline border around the worksheet.

Press *CONTROL + SHIFT + _*: To remove borders.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + 8: To select the whole region of the worksheet data.

Press CONTROL + SHIFT + ~: To obtain general number format.

Press SHIFT + up, down, left or right ARROW: To select/select cells as you go.


Note 1: You can use the standard Windows selecting methods to select/select text in cells, i.e. combinations of CONTROL, SHIFT, the arrow keys and the HOME and END keys, e.g. CONTROL + SHIFT + PAGE up to select one screen of information, SHIFT + HOME to select from the beginning of the current row to the cell the cursor is currently in, CONTROL + SHIFT + END to select from the current cursor position to the end of the worksheet, etc.


Note 2: The standard Windows shortcuts for copying to the Clipboard, pasting, etc, all work as normal, e.g. CONTROL + C, CONTROL + X and CONTROL + V.



Customising MS Excel for visually impaired users

If you use a screen reader and cannot make any reasonable use of your computer monitor screen, you should set up MS Excel like this:

  1. Ensure that the formatting and standard tabs are on displayed (they are usually on by default)*:

  2. Turn “Grid Lines” on (they are usually on by default)

  3. Always work with your worksheet windows maximised by pressing ALT + SPACEBAR and then X if they are not already maximised.

  4. The MS Office help system will probably try to access online resources, this is only any use if you have a reliable Internet connection that is always on. If this is not always the case it should be set to “only use resources from this computer”.

  5. Keep the navigation pane of the open and save file dialogues on (it is on by default, so just do not turn it off) and the preview pane off.

  6. Do not bother with the “Freeze” or “Split” Window options unless you can see well enough to do so. They are useful for sighted people and of little or no use to people who cannot see the screen or who only have access to a small magnified portion of the screen.

MS Excel’s default Workbook formats and conventions

When you create a new workbook MS Excel will use these default settings:

  1. Text and labels typed into a cell will be left aligned.

  2. Figures and values entered into a cell will be right aligned.

  3. The font will be ‘Calibri’, normal, in 11 point.

  4. The vertical alignment will be to have cell entries aligned to the bottom of a multi-line cell.

  5. The cell numbering format will be general, i.e. continuous numbers without comas, decimal points, pound signs, etc.

  6. The height of a cell will be 12 points, i.e. deep enough for 1 line of text/figures only.

  7. Cell borders will be of continuous thin lines.

  8. The cell foreground Colour will be automatic, i.e. normally black.

  9. The background cell pattern/colour will be set to off, meaning no background cell patterns will be used and the background will be left the colour of the paper if printed.

  10. No cells will be hidden or protected.



It is possible to change the default settings but this is a task best left to an experienced and sighted person.

How to Launch MS Excel

You can start MS Excel a number of different ways, two of them are:

  1. Press Windows key, then arrow down (until you reach All Programs), arrow down to ‘Microsoft Office’, press ENTER, arrow down to MS Excel and press ENTER, and it will start up. This is a long way to start MS Excel and there will probably be quicker options on your computer but it will work on any MS Windows computer you come across, except those running MS Windows 8 but even then it can easily be modified to give it the features that it lacks (there is a free program called Classic Shell that will do this and it can be downloaded from www.classicshell.net)

  2. Using A Quick Launch Icon on the Desktop by pressing Windows key + M or Windows key + D to reach the Desktop.


This method assumes you already have a shortcut on your Desktop to launch MS Excel from. If not, one can be created but it may be easiest to get sighted assistance for this.

Getting a feel for how to move around a worksheet

Launch MS Excel using one of the methods in the last section. If you do not land in cell A1 (Column A, Row 1) automatically, press CONTROL + HOME to jump straight there. Now just experiment with some of the MS Excel general movement and command keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys to get a feel for both a single screen of a worksheet and for the colossal size of the entire possible number of columns and rows a sheet can accommodate. For example:

  1. Use your up, down, left and right ARROW keys to move from one blank cell to another and notice how your screen reader announces the combined cell co-ordinates derived from those headings. You can move from your current cell to the next cell to the right by pressing the TAB key, backwards with SHIFT + TAB and that pressing ENTER in a given cell moves you down a cell in the same column.

  2. If you want to go directly to a cell some way into a worksheet, press CONTROL + G (for the MS Excel Navigator) and then type into the edit field the cell co-ordinates of where you want to jump to, e.g. V99, and press ENTER. Check your position by arrowing up once and then back down once to get the coordinate of your current cell announced to you.

  3. Now move back to cell A1 with CONTROL + HOME. Next press CONTROL + END and note this does not take you to the last cell in an empty sheet. What it would do if your worksheet had data in some of the cells is take you to the last cell in the sheet which has data in it? Experiment and find out.

  4. Move to cell B4 and then press the PAGE down key and observe that you are moved a lot of rows further down in the same column (the exact amount will depend on the page setup . Another press of PAGE down takes you to a place the same number of rows further down the sheet as the first press of PAGE down did. Pressing PAGE up takes you back.

  5. Go back to A1 with CONTROL + HOME, then press CONTROL + right ARROW and note you are taken directly to the last column in row 1, which is XFD in a blank sheet. If you did this whilst in a worksheet which had data typed into it in 9 cells from A1 down to C3, i.e. columns A, B and C plus rows 1, 2 and 3 were all completed, you would only have been taken to the left edge of the data, C1 in this case.

  6. To move up or down a column to the edge of the data in it, press CONTROL + up or down ARROW. If there is no data in the column you are in you would be taken either to the first row in the column or to the last possible row which is row 65,526. If the sheet had data in it, you would have gone to the earliest or latest cell which had data in it in your current column, if your cursor was within the area of the worksheet data when you started.

  7. If you would like to go to the next worksheet to enter data into, press CONTROL + PAGE down. Pressing CONTROL + PAGE up will take you back to your first sheet and any data you may have entered into it. This command moves through the worksheets that already exist (by default this is usually 3) it does not create new worksheets.

  8. Move to one of the empty cells and enter a number, press ENTER or TAB. You can delete or modify the contents of a cell by pressing the DELETE key (and ENTER to confirm) when you are in it in it or by pressing F2 and backspacing it out, with this you can also edit the data to produce a slightly different figure, etc.

  9. Complete a few rows and columns and keep on experimenting in this way, using the MS Excel general and your screen reader shortcuts and hot keys, until you are happy that you know what happens when you do certain things in a blank worksheet and in a worksheet with a small block of data in it.

Entering data into a Worksheet

You type figures or text into a cell in the same way as you would into any other edit field. Create the following small worksheet of fish, chips and bread rolls sold for the week for a chip shop to practise on by following the instructions.

Workbook exercise creating and saving a Worksheet with headings and formulae for totals

  1. Launch MS Excel and press CONTROL + HOME to go to cell A1 if you are not already there. Use one of the already-mentioned launch methods, e.g. press Windows key, arrow through to Microsoft office, Excel and press ENTER.

  2. In cell A1 type the heading “Day” and press the right ARROW or the TAB key. If you make a typing mistake, just erase it by pressing the BACKSPACE key as many times as necessary.

  3. In cell B1 type the heading “Fish” and press the right ARROW key.

  4. In cell C1 type the heading “Chips” and press the right ARROW.

  5. In cell D1 type the heading “Rolls” and now press the down ARROW key once followed by the HOME key to move to cell A2, immediately below your A1 heading of “Days”. Note that your screen reader may speak the column heading when you get back to column A.

  6. In cell A2 type “Monday” and press either TAB or right ARROW.

  7. In cell B2 type “100” and press right ARROW*.

  8. In cell C2 type “150” and press right ARROW or TAB.

  9. In cell D2 type “50” and press down ARROW followed by HOME to go to cell A3.

  10. In cell A3 type “Tuesday” and press right ARROW.

  11. In cell B3 type “120” and press right ARROW.

  12. In cell C3 type “140” and press right ARROW.

  13. In cell D3 type “50” and press down ARROW followed by HOME.

  14. In cell A4 type “Wednesday” and press right ARROW.

  15. In cell B4 type “177” and press right ARROW.

  16. In cell C4 type “190” and press right ARROW.

  17. In cell D4 type “90” and press down ARROW followed by HOME.

  18. In cell A5 type “Thursday” and press right ARROW.

  19. In cell B5 type “120” and press right ARROW.

  20. In cell C5 type “140” and press right ARROW.

  21. In cell D5 type “85” and press down ARROW followed by HOME.

  22. In cell A6 type “Friday” and press right ARROW.

  23. In cell B6 type “200” and press right ARROW.

  24. In cell C6 type “170” and press right ARROW.

  25. In cell D6 type “105” and press down ARROW followed by HOME.

  26. In cell A7 type “Totals” and press right ARROW.

  27. In cell B7 press = (equals sign) and then in the edit field type in the formula: SUM(b2:b6) and press ENTER. Note that MS Excel moves you to the next row down, so press up ARROW to view the resulting total of fish sold for the week. The figure should be 717.

  1. Now, while in the fish total cell (B7), press CONTROL + C to copy the formula to the Clipboard and then move to the total cell for chips with right ARROW and press CONTROL + V to copy the same formula in there (the cell reference b2:b6 will be update automatically) . do the same for the total of rolls with CONTROL + V (you do not need to copy it to the Clipboard first this time as the formula you copied is kept on the Clipboard until you overwrite it with something else or turn your computer off). Check that the formulae have been copied and the totals automatically calculated for you. The chips total should be 790 and the rolls total 380.

  2. Save this simple worksheet (it then becomes a single sheet workbook) to a file that can be worked on latter in this tutorial To save the workbook, press CONTROL + S (for Save) and then type a filename into the edit field you come into, e.g. fishandchips, and press ENTER. The file will save to the hard disk and automatically be given an “.XLS” file extension by MS Excel. Saving is explained in more detail in a later section.

  3. When you want to create another Workbook, you just press CONTROL + N (for New Workbook). Note 1: Be aware that the default way MS Excel aligns text is to the left of a cell but it aligns other values to the right. You will want to make the alignment uniform or perhaps centred at some stage for cosmetic appearance reasons, we will go into this later. Note 2: If you make a mistake when typing a formula or function into a cell, the error message you will likely get from MS Excel is either “#name?” or “#value?”. You will have to go back to the cell in question, press the DELETE key and then re-enter the formula correctly. Note 3: If you need to type a figure into a cell which starts with a 0, you must precede it with a ’ (apostrophe), otherwise MS Excel will ignore the zero. Similarly, if you want to start typing text into a cell with the = sign, you must precede it with the backtick, otherwise MS Excel will think you want to type a formula or function in and go into formula mode.

AutoSum

In step 26 of the exercise you typed a formula into a cell to add up a column of figures in a specified range, i.e. cells B2 to B6. Excel has a way to sum down a column. Instead of pressing = and then typing the formula as you did in step 26 above, you can press ALT + = and then press ENTER, and Excel will sum (total) the column of cells above the cursor.

If you have not got the fish and chips workbook open, press CONTROL + O (for Open) and type the filename of “fishandchips” into the edit field which you are now in and press ENTER to bring it to screen (open file starts in the last used folder) .


Now go to Cell B7 and press DELETE to erase the contents of that total cell together with its formula then, with your cursor in that same cell, press ALT + = and see what happens.

Highlighting / selecting cells

You need to select or select existing text, cells or formulae before carrying out certain actions on them, such as deleting them, moving or copying them, emboldening them or changing the font etc. “Highlighting” (also known as selecting) is where you mark a cell or block of cells to perform one of a number of commands on them, e.g. to delete data in them simultaneously, to move them, to copy them elsewhere, to print them, to perform a calculation on them, etc.

You can do this by selecting with the SHIFT key, as follows:

  1. Move to the first cell you want to select to select the rest of the cell range required, e.g. by then keeping the SHIFT key depressed and arrowing in the required direction to the last cell in the range you want to have selected.

  2. If you wish to select the whole column your cursor is currently in, press CONTROL + SPACEBAR*.

  3. To select the whole row the cursor is in, you press SHIFT + SPACEBAR.

  4. To select the block of cells from cell B1 to E10, you would place the cursor in B1 and then arrow right to E1 and down to E10 keeping the SHIFT key depressed all of the time.

  5. To select the whole of a Worksheet, you press CONTROL + A, but this will select all cells including those with no data in them, i.e. 256 columns by 65,536 rows, which is not something you would normally want to do.

  6. To select the full data area of your worksheet and not unwanted cells to the right and underneath the data region, with the cursor anywhere in the data area of the sheet, press CONTROL + SHIFT + 8.

  7. To select a portion of a sheet from the cursor position down to the end of the data in the sheet, press CONTROL + SHIFT + END.

  8. To select cells from the cursor position to the end of the row, press CONTROL + SHIFT + right ARROW.

  9. Any of the standard Windows movement shortcuts which you carry out in conjunction with the CONTROL key can also be used to select sections of data if you also keep the SHIFT key depressed while moving over the cells.

  10. To remove the selecting from a block, press any of the arrow keys once in any direction. Note: Sometimes selecting fails when working from the top left of a block of cells right and downwards. You may get better results working backwards from bottom right to top left.


After selecting blocks of cells with data, numeric values and dates/times, etc., in this way, you could effect any of the formatting, printing, copying, etc, commands on it listed in 1 to 9 at the end of Section 9 above.

You can try some of these things on the fishandchips.xls file you created earlier but do not save these changes. If you make a change which you then decide you do not want, you can press CONTROL + Z to undo that, i.e. put things back to how they were before the change. If, before carrying out a command on a selected block of cells, you would like to that you have indeed selected the correct cell range, you should use your screen reader’s say select hot key to do this, e.g. SHIFT + INSERT down ARROW* with JAWS, ALT + M with WE and Numpad 1 with HAL but note that these read selected hot keys do not always work in MS Excel..

MS Excel’s additional selection mode

You can use standard Windows selecting procedures with the SHIFT key or CONTROL + A for select all. MS Excel also has an Additional Selection Mode that is toggled on or off by pressing F8. When it is on, you will be able to arrow around a worksheet and select cells, columns, rows and ranges of cells, etc, without having to hold down the SHIFT key. When Additional Selection Mode is on:

  • Press the right ARROW key to select the next cell to the right

  • down ARROW will select the next cell down

  • HOME selects all cells from the current cell to the first cell in the in the row

  • CONTROL + END selects from the cell the cursor is currently in to the last cell with any data in that row, etc.



To remove this type of selection / selecting you have to press F8 and any arrow key.

Whatever way you choose to do it, as soon as you have the cell, row, column or group of cells selected you can, for example:

  1. Press the DEL key to delete it.

  2. Press CONTROL + X to cut/move it to the Clipboard for pasting elsewhere with CONTROL + V.

  3. Press CONTROL + C to copy it to the Clipboard. This will not cope with multiple selections.

  4. Press CONTROL + B to embolden it if it is text (make it thicker and darker).

  5. Press CONTROL + U to underline it if it is text.

  6. Press CONTROL + I to make it italic if it is text (lean to the right).

  7. Press CONTROL + 1 press CONTROL + PAGE UP or CONTROL + PAGE DOWN to navigate to the ‘Font’ page of controls, tab through the controls to select any font type, style and size you want to use and press ENTER apply it to the selected / selected cells.

  8. Press CONTROL + P to print the entire spreadsheet, current workbook or the currently selected / selected range of cells (selecting what the print command applies to is done in the print dialog).

Saving and opening files

If you are already familiar with opening and saving files you should still review this section, even if you do not need to spend long on it.



Many people, if they have a visual impairment or not take a while to grasp the concept of files and folders, besides the intricacies of drive letters, drive mappings and expanded or unexpanded tree views. These concepts can be introduced in different ways but one of the best is to keep things as simple as possible, some learners may never need to know any more, others can build on their existing knowledge when they need to.

The library folders

MS Windows provides you with a set of library folders “Documents”, “Music”, “Pictures” and “Videos” on the hard disk of the computer. Unless there is a very good reason not to (perhaps you are using a public access computer in a library or cyber cafe), using them will make your life a lot easier. All of your MS Excel work should be saved in the “Documents” folder.

It may not be possible to follow this advice if you are using a shared public access computer, in this case you might have to use a removable flash drive instead.

Recently opened files

Pressing ALT + F (opens the Office Button) and right ARROW will take you to a list of files that MS Excel has opened recently, that you can arrow through, if you have opened the file that you want recently it should be in this list, arrow to it and press ENTER to open it again.

Essentials of the MS Windows open / save dialog

The MS Windows open file and save dialogues are almost the same.



The MS Windows open file dialog

From any program you can launch the file open dialog by pressing CONTROL O and close it pressing ESCAPE.

The MS Windows open dialog has a lot of controls and pressing the TAB key will move through them in order, pressing TAB SHIFT moves through them in reverse order.

  1. The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control

  2. Announced as files of type, this control filters the file types that are displayed. For example when it is set to "All Files" everything will be displayed, if it is set to "All Excel Files" only MS Excel files will be displayed

  3. Tools

  4. Announced as open button

  5. Announced as cancel button

  6. The address bar, announced as address

  7. Announced as search box

  8. Announced as command module tool bar

  9. The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

  10. The items view pane, announced as items view list

  11. The details pane, announced as namespace tree (the details pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

  12. The preview pane, announced as namespace tree (the preview pane will be missing if it has been turned off)



The beginner does not need to use most of these controls. The essential controls are:

  • The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control. This control displays the name of the file that you want to open.

  • The address bar, announced as address. This control displays the name of the folder whose contents is currently being displayed in the items view pane. As well as reaching it by pressing TAB or SHIFT TAB, pressing F4 will jump to it from any control in the open file dialog

  • The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off). When you are in this control pressing the down or up ARROW’ keys will move through a list. Understanding this list is not essential to opening your MS Excel work files if you have saved them in the “Documents” folder, or on a removable flash drive. As you arrow through this list “Documents” will be an item in it, if you are using a removable flash drive that will be an item in the list too (exactly what it is called will depend on the particular flash drive that you are using, discovering this might need sighted assistance). When “Documents” or your flash drive is selected press ENTER, this will display the contents in the items view pane

  • The items view pane displays the contents of what has been selected in the navigation pane, the list can be moved through with the down and up ARROW keys, if the item selected is a file pressing ENTER will open it, if the item is a folder inside “Documents” or the flash drive then pressing ENTER will display the contents in the item view panel

The MS Windows save file dialog

From any program you the file save dialog by pressing CONTROL S and close it by pressing ESCAPE.



The MS Windows save dialog has a lot of controls and pressing the TAB key will move through them in order, pressing TAB SHIFT moves through them in reverse order.

  1. The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control and contain a filename such as "Book 1" that has been generated automatically

  2. "Save As type" edit field, this sets the file format, by default it will be "Excel Workbook" do not change this unless you understand the intricate details of file formats.

  3. Authors

  1. 4.Tags

  1. Save thumbnail

  2. Hide folders

  3. Tools

  1. Announced as save button

  2. Announced as cancel button

  3. The address bar, announced as address

  4. Announced as search box

  5. Announced as command module tool bar

  6. The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

  7. The items view pane, announced as items view list

  8. The details pane, announced as namespace tree (the details pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

  9. The preview pane, announced as namespace tree (the preview pane will be missing if it has been turned off)



The beginner does not need to use most of these controls. The essential controls are:

  • The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control. This control displays the name of the file that you want to save. When you start to type in this control your typing will replace the automatically generated file name

  • The address bar, announced as address. This control displays the name of the folder whose contents is currently being displayed in the items view pane. As well as reaching it by pressing TAB or SHIFT TAB, pressing F4 will jump to it from any control in the save file dialog

  • The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off). When you are in this control pressing the down or up ARROW’ keys will move through a list. Understanding this list is not essential to saving your MS Excel work files if you have saved them in the Documents folder, or on a removable flash drive. As you arrow through this list Documents will be an item in it, if you are using a removable flash drive that will be an item in the list too (exactly what it is called will depend on the particular flash drive that you are using, discovering this might need sighted assistance). When Documents or your flash drive is selected press ENTER*, this will display the contents in the items view pane

  • The items view pane displays the contents of what has been selected in the navigation pane, the list can be moved through with the down and up ARROW keys, if the item selected is a folder inside “Documents” or the flash drive then pressing ENTER will display the contents in the item view panel. If nothing in the item view panel is selected then pressing ENTER will save the file in the folder displayed there.



Saving A Worksheet to the “Documents folder or a flash drive step by step

The sections describing the save and open file dialogs were quite long, it may be easier to understand with a step by step example.

  1. Press CONTROL S or SHIFT F12 to open the Save dialog box.

  2. MS Excel will give the workbook a filename of its own, e.g. “book1.xls”. You can overwrite this with a name of your choice by typing over it with for example “fishandchips”. MS Excel will automatically give it an “.XLS” filename extension for you.

  3. TAB to the address bar, or press F4, the address bar will display where the file will be saved. This will normally be to your “Documents” folder or it might be the last used location that was used.

  4. If the address bar is displaying “Documents” (or the name of your flash drive) then things are fine, press ENTER to complete the save command.

  5. If the address bar is not displaying “documents” (or the name of your flash drive) TAB to the navigation pane, arrow down to “Documents” (or the name of your flash drive), press ENTER, TAB to the save button and press ENTER to complete the save command.

  6. You can now start to create another workbook by pressing CONTROL N if you want to. Note 1: After saving the default filenames of “book1.xls”, “book2.xls”, etc, that MS Excel gives to workbooks will change to your chosen filename of “fishandchips.xls” and be reflected in the Title Bar at the top of your screen. Note 2: After you save your workbook it will remain on screen for you to continue to edit or modify as you wish. It is a good idea to save a workbook to a filename frequently as you create it in case you have a power or computer failure. You will then be able to recover most of your work after restarting your PC. You can continue to save to the same filename after you have first saved it and named it, by simply Pressing CONTROL S every few minutes. If you want to save a second copy to a different filename or to a different location, press ALT F and then A* (for Save As) and give it a different filename this time.

Opening an already created file / workbook step by step

After creating and saving your workbook you are likely to want to open it again. To open a workbook:

  1. Press CONTROL O (for Open).

  2. If you have had the file / workbook open recently the file open dialog box comes up with focus in the filename edit field and pressing the down ARROW or up ARROW will move through a list of recently opened files. If it has not been too long since you last opened the file then it could be in this list, arrow to the file and press ENTER to open it.

  3. If you have had a folder open recently and know that the file / workbook you want to open is in that folder TAB or SHIFT TAB from the filename edit field to the address bar. Pressing the down ARROW or up ARROW will move through a list of recently opened folders. If it has not been too long since you last opened it the then the folder should be in this list. Arrow to the folder you want and press ENTER to go to this it. Note if there appears to be no files in a folder that you know should contain spreadsheet files, it may be because the Files of Type box is set to a file format that the files were not saved in. This means that MS Excel will not be able to see them. To fix this, TAB to the Files of Type list and press A for All Files, then SHIFT TAB back to the files list and all files, whatever type, will be displayed.

Shortcuts available in the save and open dialog Boxes

  • Press F2: Rename a file or folder. Select File, press F2, type new name, type full stop then file extension and press ENTER.

  • Press F4: To place focus in Address Bar and automatically opens the drop down menu. Press down ARROW to choose from the drop down list. + Press ENTER to open the drive or folder.

  • Press F6 or TAB: Moves focus through the controls in the dialog, TAB SHIFT does the same in the opposite direction

  • Press BACKSPACE: Move up one level, up to parent folder or drive

  • Press ALT left ARROW: Equivalent to Back in a web browser - move back to previous location or folder.

  • Press ALT right ARROW: Equivalent to Forward in a web browser - move to previous location after you have pressed the Back key.

  • Press ENTER*: To open a file or folder

  • Press WINDOWS key : To activate a shortcut menu of options for the selected file or folder, such as copy, send to, print etc.

  • Press ALT ENTER to open the properties of a file or folder

Printing Workbooks, Worksheets and Cell Ranges

If you have no need to print your work you may want to just skim through this section.

You can print a whole workbook with all of its sheets and charts, a single worksheet, a range of worksheets from a workbook or a range of cells within a worksheet.

Portrait Printing

The default page orientation MS Excel prints is portrait, i.e. with the paper in your printer the same way as you would print a letter.

To print your worksheets:

  1. Go to the first cell in the worksheet (top left cell) and then select the whole range of your worksheet by pressing CONTROL SHIFT END.

  2. Press CONTROL P to open the print dialog box.

  3. You will be in the “Number of Copies” spin box that will be on 1. If you want more than one copy, arrow up to the number you want or just type the figure in here.

  4. Press ENTER to start printing to the default printer.

  5. If, before pressing ENTER to print, you want to customise how the print job is done, or just see the options that are available tab through the other print options, note in particular:

A. ‘All’– If this is checked on (it is by default) you will get all worksheets of your workbook printed out.

B. ‘From:’– This is where, if your workbook contains several sheets, you can arrow up to have the print out start at a worksheet other than sheet 1, e.g. sheet 3.


C. ‘To:’– This is where you tell MS Excel at what sheet you want the printing to end if you do not want it to continue to the end of a multi-paged workbook.


D. After making any modifications to the default one copy and all pages printing you may require, TAB to “OK” and press ENTER to start printing.

Landscape Printing

It may be preferable to print a spreadsheet in landscape orientation because worksheets often take up more space across the page than down it. Landscape printing is where the page is inserted into your printer widest side first.

To print in landscape format:

  1. Press ALT P and then O (for page orientation).

  2. From “Portrait” and arrow down to “Landscape” and press ENTER.

  3. CONTROL P and press ENTER. MS Excel will print one copy of the workbook using the default printer, in landscape orientation.



While at stage 2, you should tab through the many other options to get an idea of the various modifications you could make to a printed workbook before you print it, e.g. you can arrow up or down the Page size" and “Print quality” lists to change these etc. Remember, you can Press SHIFT F1 at any time to get a context-sensitive online help explanation of what the current option is for.

Note: If you have selected a block of cells before Pressing CONTROL P, you will be able to print out only that range of selected cells not the whole worksheet or workbook.

Cut, Copy and Paste with the Windows and MS Office Clipboards

Clipboards are very useful when you want to pass information from one place on your worksheet to another, particularly for visually impaired users, who may not find the methods of drag and drop very compatible with keyboard operations. You can usually use the Clipboard as an alternative to dragging and dropping. You generally have to select data before copying or cutting (moving) it to the Clipboard, as explained in Part One.


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