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Learn the basic vocabulary to make it easier to talk about and learn how to use spreadsheets.
Example Google Sheets
- Population by Country (click this link to create your own copy of this spreadsheet.
Vocabulary
- Cell: the building blocks of a spreadsheet. Each cell holds one piece of data.
- Row: a horizontal collection of cells. Each row is identified by a number on the left side of the row.
- Column: a vertical collection of cells. Each column is identified by a letter at the top of the column.
- Spreadsheet: the entire collection of data. Most spreadsheet programs like Excel, refer to this as a worksheet or workbook. Google just calls it a spreadsheet.
- Tab: an organizational unit in a spreadsheet. You can think of them sort of like different pages in the spreadsheet.
- Formula: an equation based on multiple cells.
- Function: formulas that are built into your spreadsheet software are called functions.
- Manual Input: user inputted data into a cell. The difference between manually inputted data versus a cell with a computed value will become increasingly clear over this course.
- Output: a cell with a value that is calculated based on data in other cells. A function is an example of an output cell.
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Before we start digging
into spreadsheets further,
0:00
let me cover some basic vocabulary.
0:03
Learning this handful of words will
make it a lot easier to talk about and
0:05
learn how to use a spreadsheet.
0:10
Let me teach the vocabulary
using a real spreadsheet.
0:12
If you'd like to follow along and explore
the spreadsheet with me, you can open
0:15
a copy of this spreadsheet by clicking
the link in the Teacher's Notes below.
0:18
This spreadsheet contains data on
estimated population levels by country.
0:21
The data source is the United Nations and
starts in 1950 and goes through 2015.
0:26
The data is in thousands.
0:30
So, here for Burundi, in 1950,
0:33
this would mean the estimated
population then was 2,309,000.
0:35
Cells.
0:39
Cells are the graphical building
blocks of a spreadsheet.
0:42
They are where you input data, and
0:46
a collection of cells
make up this spreadsheet.
0:47
This is a cell.
0:49
This is a cell.
0:52
These are all cells.
0:53
All of these spaces are cells with or
without data in them.
0:56
Rows.
1:01
Rows are numbered on the left
side of your screen, and
1:03
they collect cells horizontally.
1:05
So using this spreadsheet as an example,
if we refer to row 5,
1:08
we're talking about the row with
Djibouti's population data.
1:11
And all these cells that are now
highlighted are included in row 5.
1:16
Note that row 2 is a special type of
row that we call a data header row.
1:20
It provides labels for
each of the columns that contain data.
1:24
Columns.
1:29
Columns are listed across the top of
the spreadsheet just below the toolbar.
1:30
Each column is indicated by a different
letter, A, B, C, and so on.
1:34
They are vertical collections of cells.
1:41
In this spreadsheet, when I say column E,
1:43
it means all these cells,
everything for 1953.
1:46
Column and
1:50
row are how people typically refer to
a cell when discussing spreadsheets.
1:51
You say the column name,
then the row name for that cell.
1:55
So, for example you might say,
if we look at D6 in this example,
1:59
it's showing 1 185, D6,
Eritrea 1952, 1 185,
2:04
meaning the estimated population
of Eritrea in 1952 in 1,185,000.
2:09
Or if I say let's look at cell A1,
that would refer to this cell,
2:16
which is a blank cell.
2:21
Or, if I wanted to say at cell B4,
it would mean Comoros in 1950.
2:23
The spreadsheet is the entire collection
of data that you're looking at.
2:31
Most spreadsheet programs like Excel
refer to this as a worksheet or workbook.
2:35
Google just calls it a spreadsheet.
2:39
A tab is just an organizational
unit in a spreadsheet.
2:42
You can think of them of them sort of
like different pages in the spreadsheet.
2:44
But be careful there.
2:48
Sometimes when you print a spreadsheet,
there will be multiple pages per tab.
2:49
As you can see here,
there are two tabs in this spreadsheet.
2:53
One contains data, and the other is blank.
2:57
But both are part of one spreadsheet.
3:00
Google calls these tabs sheets.
3:03
Using tabs wisely can help a lot
with spreadsheet organization.
3:05
And I'll share a few examples
of this later on in the course.
3:09
The next basic vocabulary item
we want to cover is a formula.
3:12
A formula is an equation
based on multiple cells.
3:16
Scrolling down here to a formula
that we've prepopulated.
3:20
When I click on this cell, you'll see
an equation up here on the top left.
3:27
That's a formula that's calculated
in a total of all these cells.
3:32
Don't worry too much about
how this equation works yet.
3:36
I'll teach you how to use and
create formulas later in this course.
3:38
Formulas that are built into your
spreadsheet software are called functions.
3:43
Different software may come with
different functions, but by and large,
3:47
the same core group of functions exists,
regardless of the software you're using.
3:50
Typically, functions will require you
to input data in a particular way.
3:54
For example, a function called
sum adds up a bunch of cells.
3:58
I utilize this function by clicking
on this cell, pressing = then s.
4:04
The list that just popped up shows
the functions I can use in this cell
4:11
that start with the letter s.
4:14
We'll go into more detail about how to use
some of the most common functions later in
4:16
this course.
4:19
Manual input.
4:20
A manual input is just that a user
has inputted data into a cell.
4:22
Here, I'm starting to add a new entry
4:25
To the population spreadsheet for
a imaginary place called Treehouse Island.
4:31
So, I'm manually inputting data into cell
B233 for a population of 1,000 in 1950,
4:37
and again,
manually inputting data into cell C233 for
4:43
a population of 1,000 in 1951 for
Treehouse Island.
4:48
Oftentimes, people will refer to
a manually inputted piece of data as
4:53
a hard-coded number.
4:56
Note that this is
different than a formula,
4:58
which computes a value
based on other cells.
5:00
The importance of the distinction between
a cell that has a manually inputted data
5:02
versus a cell that has a computed value
will become increasingly clear over this
5:07
course.
5:11
Output.
5:11
An output is a cell with a value that is
calculated based on data in other cells.
5:13
A function is an example
of an output cell.
5:18
We input data manually or hard-code data.
5:21
The data and all these cells above row 237
are hard-coded, manually inputted data.
5:24
And then the output,
in this example, is row 237,
5:29
which is calculating the sum
of all the cells above it.
5:32
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