MS Excel Chapter 3: Spreadsheet Structure


Section 3.1: Data Flow

When creating text for a table, always try to make it easily readable and have good flow. Have the text go left to right and up and down. Each table has sections to keep in account, the title, headings, and data. The title of the table must always be at the top. Underneath the title is where the headings would go. They describe what the data will represent. The data itself will go inside the table in a cell next to or under the headings.

A spreadsheet with data filling random cells.

This table has a poor layout with each word in a different cell. A screen reader could read this, but it would be very difficult to navigate from word to word.

A table for college attendance by year and grade level.

This table has a good layout with all of the data organized.

Section 3.2: Naming Worksheets

When naming your work sheet, you want to seriously consider the content of the worksheet. Never give it a random, meaningless name, or leave it blank. No one will know or understand what the worksheet is really for until they open it. Come up with a clear and concise name for each worksheet that makes sense.

  1. To rename your worksheet, go down to the sheet tabs at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Double click them, and give them a new name.

Sheet 3 does not tell readers anything about what could be in the sheet. Many readers would skip the sheet and not get any possible information.

Section 2.3: Deleting Worksheets

To delete your worksheet,

  1. Right click your worksheet tab at the bottom of the screen.

  2. In the pop-up menu click Delete. The spreadsheet is gone.

Section 3.4: Removing and Marking Blanks

When creating a spreadsheet, it is best to avoid blank rows, columns, and cells. Screen readers may think a blank cell is the end of the table or spreadsheets and skip important information. A good way to avoid this is to include information in all necessary cells and to leave a single blank row between tables. A good way to clear unneeded rows and columns is to delete them.

  1. Create two tables.

  2. Click the numbers of the rows you want to delete.

  3. Right click, select delete rows or columns. Now you have a much more organized spreadsheet.

For tables that have blanks in them, just type in simple words or abbreviations. Examples of these include, N/A, or “No Data.”

Section 3.5: Cell A1

Cell A1 is very important for your projects structure and navigation. Never leave Cell A1 blank. You can use it in multiple ways. Cell A1 can be used as a space for your projects title, or it can be used for providing insight to your project's content. This would be very beneficial for a project with several spreadsheets.

Section 3.6: Creating an Excel Index Sheet

Index Sheets are very useful for navigating spreadsheets, this is especially true if you have a project with several sheets. They are very similar to Table of Contents in MS Word, since they allow users to go to a specific area within a document or spreadsheet by clicking a link.

Our example of an Index Sheet will be for budgets. To create an Index sheet,

  1. Create several spreadsheets.

  2. Name the first sheet “Index”, then give appropriate names to the rest of the spreadsheets.

  3. In the Index Spreadsheet, type in the names of your spreadsheets. One name per cell.

  4. Right click your first spreadsheet name. In the dropdown menu, click Link. In the Insert Hyperlink box, click “Place in This Document”. Click the name of the spreadsheet you want the link to connect to. It is possible that your Text to Display may have a syntax code in it. Delete it and type in a name that suits your spreadsheet. Click OK.

  5. Your link is made. Click on it and you will be taken to the spreadsheet it is linked to.

Section 3.7: Headers and Footers

When creating a header and footer, they must not have any important information. All important information for the readers must be inside the spreadsheet itself. The best place for important warning on a spreadsheet is in cell A1.

Section 3.8: Where should my Chart, Graphs, or Tables go when they are done?

Cell A1 should not be blank. Always place text descriptions into Cell A1, then place the chart next to the description.

Section 3.9: Hidden Rows and Columns

Hidden rows and columns should not be used. Many users struggle to unhide rows and columns. The best way to help all people unhide rows and columns is to use an alert. You can do this by adding a comment to the excel file with instructions.