What is an Excel workbook?
A workbook is an Excel file that contains one or several spreadsheets (or worksheets, as they are called in Excel). It stores all the data that the user entered while working with Excel, as well as formatting, formulas and – if relevant – macros.
Any time you open an Excel workbook, you can see several essential elements of the Excel window right away. Five of them would be crucial for your everyday work in Excel (Figure 1):
- Quick Access Toolbar (QAT): A panel that includes a number of most frequently used commands
- Ribbon: A panel with almost all different commands that you might need while working with Microsoft Excel
- Formula Bar: While individual cells display values by default, formula bar will always show the formula that is written in a cell
- Worksheet: The actual spreadsheet where most work in Excel is being done
- Tabs: Toggles between different worksheets in a workbook
The first step while learning MS Excel is to understand how you can perform basic operations with Excel workbooks: creating a workbook, saving it, and opening a previously saved one.
To create a new Excel workbook:
- Open Excel from Start menu or from any other shortcut on your PC
- You will see the Excel opening screen (see Figure 2)
- On the right-hand side of the screen, select a template you want to use. Until you get familiar with existing templates, we would recommend just selecting a “Blank workbook” template
Alternatively, you can also press Ctrl + N from another open Excel workbook. This would create a new workbook, opening it in a new window.
There are several ways to save an Excel workbook for the first time:
- Click Ctrl + S on your keyboard
- Click on the Save button in Quick Access Toolbar at the top of Excel window (see Figure 3)
- In Excel menu, go to File >> Save
The “Save As” screen will appear, where you can two options to select destination folder and type a file name (Figure 4):
- On the left-hand side of the window: Double-click This PC or single-click Browse. Then, you will be prompted to choose a folder where you want to save the file, as well as type in file’s name
- On the right-hand side of the window:
- Click on Documents at the top of the window to select a different folder – or leave Documents selected if want to save there
- Type the file name in Enter file name field
- Click Save
You only have to provide destination folder and file name once; this step is omitted when you save the workbook again later.
To save a workbook under a different name or in a different location:
- Click Ctrl + Shift + S on your keyboard
- In Excel menu, go to File >> Save As and either double-click This PC or click Browse
How to open Excel workbook
There are several ways to open a previously saved Excel workbook.
- If you already have another Excel file open, you can do any of the following:
- Press Ctrl + O
- In Excel menu, go to File >> Open
After that, an “Open” screen will appear (see Figure 5), where you can either pick one of the recently opened files or click Browse to select another file from your hard drive.
- You can also just open a workbook directly from your file manager (e.g., Windows Explorer) as you usually do with any other file
- Finally, you can also start Excel from Start menu or from any other shortcut on your PC and open a workbook from Excel opening screen (see Figure 2 above)
Excel Workbook Quiz
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Question 1 of 4
Which of the following are elements of most Excel workbooks?Correct
While some of these elements can be hidden if needed, in most cases you would see all of them in any Excel workbook. You might consider reviewing the section about Excel workbook elements
Question 2 of 4
Please match the names of major Excel workbook elements with their descriptions
Drag each description and drop it next to a corresponding workbook element
- Excel work area, the actual spreadsheet where users include data, formulas, and other elements
- An area that includes most commands and buttons you would need for your work in Excel
- A panel that displays all formulas and functions for an active cell
- A panel that enables switching between different worksheets in a workbook
- An area with a subset of Excel commands that are usually accessed most often by users
Quick Access Toolbar
If you’re not sure about some of these items, you might review the section about different elements of a workbook
Question 3 of 4
Please describe the correct sequence of steps to create a new workbook in Excel
Drag the steps up (earlier in the process) or down (later in the process)
Click Excel shortcut on your PC or press Ctrl + N if you already have another workbook open
Excel opening screen appears
Select a template you want to use on the right-hand side of the screen
If you’re not sure about some of these steps, you might consider reviewing our description of how to create a new workbook in Excel
Question 4 of 4
What would be you first step to save a workbook in Excel?Correct
Any of these options would work. If helpful, you might consider reviewing the section about how to save an Excel workbook