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Using Microsoft Excel: Home

An exercise to show how to enter data, and how to format worksheets and cells, and how to build calculating formulas. A simple Opening Day Balance Sheet


In this exercise, we will build a simple balance sheet.  These exercises are to demonstrate how to enter data, format cells, and how to build a formula for computing figures. We will use some basic tools to illustrate one of the many ways Excel can be used.  


Before doing any type of spreadsheet application, the student should have fixed in their minds what it is they are hoping to accomplish; often, this step may require the student to design on paper what it is exactly they need to do in a spreadsheet as well as other applications. In this case, however, we are doing a simple balance sheet for a fictional small business. We will build a simple balance sheet which will compare the student’s company assets against its liabilities.  

You will need to enter text labels before you enter any numbers and begin to perform mathematical calculations on those numbers.  Click your mouse button one time in cell C4, type in ASSETS. This will be the column header for this side of the balance sheet.   Next, press the RETURN key to move to cell C5 and type CURRENT ASSETS.  You have decided to total the assets for this group in this cell.  When you type in CURRENT ASSETS you will notice the text “spills over” into cell D5. Don’t worry; we will correct all “spillover” effects a bit later.  Next, beginning in cell C6, and progressing through cell C12. Your sheet should appear as it does in the illustration to the right.   

You will notice again how the text “spills across” to other cells, in this case, over to the column E cells. Before we do anything else with these labels, you now are going to move further over to a deeper column in order to begin entering the labels for your company’s Liabilities.  Once more, considering adding something  a bit later on, you decide to move on into cell M4 and begin typing in the following text, tapping the ENTER key after each entry.  See the illustration at the right..

Step 1

First, open Microsoft Excel.  Once you are in Microsoft Excel, study the general layout of columns (beginning with the letter A and progressing through the alphabet several times) and the rows beginning with the number of 1.  You have a blank grid in front of you, consisting of columns and rows. See the illustration below.


As you study the grid, you can “experiment” in designing a new balance sheet.  First, for the sake of possibly adding or deleting rows or columns later on, you decide to begin entering your data in column C and row 4, thus knowing this address is now referenced as C4 cell address.


Begin entering data