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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Creating Your First Google Docs Spreadsheet

Ready to get started with your first Google Docs spreadsheet? Go to the Docs home page and click New, Spreadsheet to open a new, blank spreadsheet in the Docs spreadsheet editor, as shown in Figure 6.2.

Figure 6.2

Figure 6.2 When you create a new spreadsheet, it opens in the spreadsheet editor.

The main area of the spreadsheet editor is the spreadsheet itself, the grid of rows and columns that will contain your data. Letters across the top of the spreadsheet and numbers along the left side identify the columns and rows that make up the spreadsheet. At the bottom left of the spreadsheet is a tab that names the sheet you're currently looking at. A brand-new spreadsheet has just one tab, with the generic name Sheet 1, but you can add more sheets, as "Working with Multiple Sheets" explains later in this chapter.

Above the spreadsheet are two bars for working with the spreadsheet: a menu bar and a formatting toolbar. You'll learn how to use these as we go through the specific actions you can take when working with a spreadsheet.

Selecting Cells and Entering Data

To select a cell, click the cell you want, and a thick blue line appears around the cell to mark it as active. (As Figure 6.2 shows, when you create a new spreadsheet, the top left cell is the active cell.) When you've selected a cell, start typing to enter some data in it. To move to the next cell, press Tab or use your keyboard's arrow keys.

Besides selecting an individual cell, you can also select a group of adjacent cells, called a cell range. To select a range, click the top-left cell of the range. When you select the cell, a small square appears in its lower-right corner; this square is called a handle. Place your mouse pointer over the handle so that the cursor becomes a crosshairs. When it does, click and drag horizontally or vertically to select the group of cells you want. As you move the mouse, the cells you're selecting are shaded so you can see the extent of the range. When you've selected the range you want, let go of the mouse button.

You can also select entire rows or columns. To select an entire row, click the number at the row's far left. To select a column, click the letter above the column. Clicking a number or letter in this manner, then dragging the mouse selects multiple rows or columns, respectively.

Saving a Spreadsheet

As with its word processor, Google automatically saves your spreadsheet every few minutes. Unlike the word processor, though, Google's spreadsheet editor needs you to save a spreadsheet first before it can start autosaving. If you start working with the spreadsheet—entering data, selecting cell ranges, formatting columns, and so on—before saving the spreadsheet, a warning box pops up in the lower-right part of the screen, with this message:

  • Careful. You're editing an unsaved spreadsheet. Start autosaving.

Start Autosaving is a link; click it, and a dialog box opens asking you to give your new spreadsheet a name. Type in the name and click OK. Google names the spreadsheet and from now on autosaves it every few minutes.

You can also save your new spreadsheet by clicking the upper-right Save button. This button appears only on a brand-new, never-yet-save spreadsheet. After you've saved the spreadsheet for the first time, Google replaces the Save button with a notice that tells you when it last saved the document for you.

When you're done working with the spreadsheet for now, click File, Save & Close. Google saves the spreadsheet and closes the spreadsheet editor's window.

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