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Spreadsheets & databases

Working with data

Our Working with Data site provides in-depth help, advice, and exercises, for spreadsheet tools such as Excel and Google Sheets. There's also resources for Access...

Introducing spreadsheets

Play this tutorial in full screen

Anatomy of a spreadsheet

Take an introductory tour of the spreadsheet workspace and get an idea of how it works:

Follow the arrow below to learn more about spreadsheets:

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An example spreadsheet with dates in the second column

What is the cell reference for the date
when the large coffee was bought?

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Choosing the right tool

Excel or Google Sheets? Google Sheets or Excel? How do you decide which tool you should use?

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Copying and pasting

Cells or ranges can be moved using Cut/Copy & Paste as with other applications, but spreadsheets behave slightly differently:

A copied selection

After choosing either cut or copy, the selected range is surrounded by a dotted line - cut data stays where it is until pasted elsewhere.

When pasting a range, select only the top left cell of the new area before choosing paste:

A pasted selection

In Excel, copied content only remains on the clipboard for as long as the dotted line is displayed.

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Data formats

Data can be formatted in different ways in order to do different things...

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Dragging selected data

Cells or ranges can be dragged to a different location. Positioning the cursor at the cell border will change to the move cursor at which point the cell or range can be dragged.

Selecting the cell border allows you to drag
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Columns, rows, and sheets

Get to grips with the workspace and its arrangement.

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Auto Fill

A series of values (e.g. 1 to 10, Mon-Fri) can be entered quickly using Auto Fill.

Both Excel and Google have an auto fill function to save time.

Auto fill is carried out using the fill handle.

The fill handle is a small box on the bottom right-hand corner of the border surrounding a selected cell.
The fill handle is a small box on the bottom right-hand corner of the border surrounding a selected cell.

To use auto fill, enter the start of the sequence, then drag the fill handle in the direction you wish to fill.

The sequence will be continued until the point you release the fill handle.

You can also double-click the fill handle to auto-fill to the same length as a neighbouring column.

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Further spreadsheets materials


Exercise files

Excel versions of the exercise files can be found on university-managed machines at

T:\IT Training\Essential Spreadsheets

For Google Sheet versions of the files, see the tabs belowWorking with data site. In each case you will need to make copies of the files in order to edit them.

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Spreadsheets & databases



Access materials

Maths and stats software

IT Services have a number of software packages for statistical analysis:

Forthcoming training sessions

Forthcoming sessions on :

Show details & booking for these sessions

There's more training events at:

Google Forms and Google Sheets

A look at using Google Forms to collect data. We also explore the collaborative options for analysing this data in Google Sheets (filter views and query functions). And we start to cover extending the capabilities of Forms and Sheets using Apps Script.