Video:Using Google Spreadsheetswith Matthew Wendeln
Looking for a free spreadsheet program that's simple to use? Learn about Google Spreadsheets and see how it fits in with the rest of the Google Docs products.See Transcript
Transcript:Using Google SpreadsheetsHi, I'm Shane Murphy, your technology guru for About.com. Today we'll review the features of Google Spreadsheets and see how it fits in with the rest of the Google Docs programs.
Google Spreadsheets FeaturesSpreadsheets should be instantly familiar to anyone who's experienced with Excel and other similar programs. The features that it currently supports aren't quite as robust, but the extant ones function almost identically.
For instance, you can create multiple sheets at the bottom of your spreadsheet for different purposes. The controls to modify these sheets are located here as well. Google Spreadsheets Formatting All of the formatting options to modify your cells and their content are here too. Change font size, style, and color, as well as alignment and background in your cell. Adjusting cell dimensions or shifting cells in a direction is also a breeze.
Google Spreadsheets HotkeysEven most of the hotkeys you're used to using are still operable here. Control Z will undo an action while Control Y will redo one; Control C makes a copy and Control V pastes it.
Embedding Other Google FunctionsAlthough basic graphs and charts can be added with the insert function, you can find an impressive array of more elaborate and animated versions in the Google Gadgets tab. You can also embed other helpful programs like Google Maps. After selecting your Gadget, you'll be prompted to enter in some initial values before seeing it appear on your spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets also lets you import a Google Form you've made, allowing you to manipulate and analyze all the data you've compiled very easily, and making it easier to share with others.
Formulas and Scripts in Google SpreadsheetsGoogle Spreadsheets does an excellent job of tackling two of most important functions for programs of this kind: Formulas and Scripts.
The formulas symbol has replaced the toolbar in the newest version: simply click it to be shown the most basic formulas you'll commonly employ. Most formulas can be operated by either typing in the values or just using your mouse.
For instance, if you wanted to calculate the sum of a series of fields, you could either type the correct formula into the field you want it displayed in, starting with the equal sign. Or you could click SUM, then click on the first cell in a column you want to start with, then shift click the last one. The same procedure holds for Average, Count, and others.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg: click on more formulas and you'll see a huge selection of more specific formulas to choose from, all arranged into categories. If you don't know what a formula does, you can click on “More” at the bottom to have a new page open with a description of every formula.
The scripts you can insert are also impressively extensive. Scripts modify your spreadsheets to create new possibilities or automate certain functions you would normally manually perform.
Using Scripts you can do everything from create custom shading for cells, automatically convert values from English to Metric units, or display the current trading value and other information on a stock you want to follow.
After finding a script you like, click install and then authorize its use. Now go to the tools tab, click on Scripts, and go to Manage. A list displaying all the installed scripts will appear. To implement a script, simply highlight the one you're looking for and hit run.
Although still in Beta, Google Spreadsheets could provide an even more convincing alternative to Excel and other purchasable programs with more updates to its list of features.
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