The Structure of Cells, Columns, and Rows

Introduction to Cells Content

Data that you type in a worksheet is in fact entered in cells. To use StarCalc with more finesse, you should familiarize with cells, their functionality, their configuration, and their relationships with each other and with the whole software. The primary technique you can use to get acquainted with the software is by entering data, primarily text, then manipulate various components of your application in order to customize it.

Unlike a traditional word processor, StarCalc has a unique way of treating text and considering any data you type in a cell. You should be aware of the default settings that the software acts on when you type data, how it considers and treats various numbers, dates, and currency values, etc.

From the introductory lesson, you are already familiar with the way StarCalc displays text (left aligned) and numbers (right aligned). In some situations, you will want to treat numbers as text. To display a number as text, append a single quote (') to its left. For example, to display 908 as text, type '908 in the cell where you want to display 908. The single quote will not display and will not print, but the number, treated as text, will be left aligned. 

Although StarCalc displays all numbers right aligned, as a smart financial and business application, this software can distinguish between different types of numbers. The application can recognize a date, a currency, or a percentage values without confusion. But the computer wants you to specify the way you want numbers displayed, giving you the ability to decide what a particular number represents, not because the software cannot recognize a number, but because a value can represent different things to different people in different scenarios. For example 1.5 might represent a half teaspoon in one spreadsheet while the same 1.5 would represent somebody's age or another spreadsheet's percentage, etc.

StarCalc can recognize some numbers by default and would not need much configuration, if any. For example, if you type 12/05/98 in a cell, StarCalc will recognize it as a date and act accordingly.

  1. Start StarCalc
  2. In Sheet1, click cell B2 and type Item Code
  3. Click cell B4 and type '208
  4. Click cell C2 and type Make
  5. Click cell H1 and type Finance
  6. Press the down arrow key.
  7. In cell H2, type Rate
  8. Complete the rest of the Allentown Car Sales1 worksheet.
  9. To save the workbook, on the main menu, click File -> Save.
  10. Make sure the directory we created to save our workbooks is selected.
    In the File Name text box, type Allentown Car Sales1 and press Enter


Techniques of Selecting Cells

It is very important that you be able to select cells in order to do an effective job. You select cells to manipulate their content (s), either to edit them or to change the way they look.

Selecting cells is performed using the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination of both.

Selecting Cells, Columns, and Rows: Using The Mouse

The primary means of selecting cells is with the mouse. The mouse is essentially equipped with two buttons. Cells selection is performed with the left mouse button only. This allows StarCalc to know that the right mouse button, whenever used, calls the context menu.

  1. To select one cell at a time, click cell B2.
  2. Click cell C4.
  3. Click cell E7.
  4. To select multiple cells on the same row, position the mouse on cell B5.
  5. Click and hold down the mouse. Drag the mouse in the right direction until the 1993 number in cell E5 is selected, then release the mouse. Notice that four cells are selected.
  6. Position the mouse on cell C6 (Infinity), then click and hold the mouse down. Drag the mouse down until Jeep in cell C11 is highlighted. Release the mouse.
  7. Notice that the range of cells on the same column is selected.
  8. To select a range of cells, click cell B4 (208) and hold the mouse down. Drag the mouse right and down until cell E8 (1999) is included in the highlighted range.
  9. Release the mouse. That's how you select adjacent cells (cells that are in the same area).
  10. To select a column, click on column header D.
  11. To select more than one column, click on column C and hold the mouse down. While the mouse is still down, move it right until column F is selected, then release the mouse.
  12. To select a row, click on the row header 4.
  13. To select more than one row, click on row 2 and hold the mouse down. While the mouse is still down, move it down until row 8 is selected. Release the mouse.
  14. To select the whole worksheet, click the button on the intersection of the column and row headers.
  15. To deselect, click cell C5. 

Selecting Cells, Columns, and Rows: Using the Keyboard

The keyboard is made of various keys that are not just used to type or enter text, or to perform shortcuts, but also to help perform many other fancy actions such as accessing the menu or simply selecting cells.

  1. To select one cell at a time, press the down arrow key; that selects cell C6.
  2. Press the right arrow key; that selects cell D6.
  3. Press the up arrow key.
  4. Press the left arrow key.
  5. To select multiple cells on the same column, press and hold Shift (with your left hand, preferably using your left pinky). While Shift is down, press the down arrow key twice, then release Shift. That selects multiple cells on the same column.
  6. Press the up arrow key. Cell C6 receives focus.
  7. To select multiple cells on the same row, press and hold Shift. Press the right arrow key three times, and release Shift.
  8. Press the left arrow key. Cell E6 should have received focus.
  9. Press and hold Shift.
  10. To select adjacent cells, while Shift is still down, press the left arrow key three times and the down arrow key four times, then release Shift.
  11. Press the arrow keys a few times until cell D4 receives focus.
  12. To select a column, for example column D, while cell D4 has focus, press and hold (the left) Ctrl. Press Space (with the right thumb), once. Then release Ctrl.
  13. To deselect, press the down arrow key. That moves the cursor to cell D5.
  14. To select a row, for example row 5, while cell D5 has focus, press and hold (the left) Shift. Press Space (with your thumb), once. Then release Shift.
  15. To deselect, press the left arrow key.
  16. To select the whole worksheet, press Ctrl + A.
  17. To deselect, press the down arrow key. 













You should experiment with other techniques such as Ctrl + Home, Ctrl + End, Shift + Home, Shift + End Ctrl + Page Up, Ctrl + Page Down, Shift + Page Up, Shift + Page Down.

Selecting Cells, Columns, and Rows: Combining the Mouse and Keyboard

Now that you have discovered how to select cells using either the mouse or the keyboard, it is time to find out whether you can use a combination of the mouse and the keyboard to perform the same actions. Indeed, a combination of these two pieces of hardware offers features that each one of them cannot perform alone. The most valuable action this combination offers is to select cells at random.

  1. Click cell B6.
  2. To select adjacent cells, press and hold Shift, click cell D10, then release Shift. All cells in the range are included in the selection.
  3. To select cells at random, click cell F10.
  4. Press and hold Shift, then click cell F10 again and release Shift.
  5. Press and hold Ctrl.
  6. Click cell B2. Click cell D12. Click cell G4. Release Ctrl.
  7. Click column C.
  8. To select columns on the same range, press and hold Shift. Then click column F and release Shift.
  9. To select columns at random, click column D. Press and hold Ctrl. Click column B. Click and hold the mouse on column H, then drag to column F. And release the mouse.
  10. Release Ctrl.
  11. Click row 4.
  12. To select rows on the same range, press and hold Shift. Click row 10 and release Shift.
  13. Click row 10.
  14. To select rows at random, press and hold Ctrl.
  15. Click row 2. Click row 14. Click and hold the mouse on row 8. Drag the mouse to row 6.
  16. Release the mouse and release Ctrl.
  17. Click anywhere on the worksheet.
  18. To select columns and rows at random, press and hold Ctrl. Click columns B, then E. Click row 5. Click and drag from column I to G. Click and drag from row 10 to 12.
  19. Release the mouse and release Ctrl.
  20. Press Ctrl + Home.

Switching Worksheets

We already know how to switch from one worksheet to another using the mouse. For the same reasons as mentioned above, you should be able to use the keyboard by itself to navigate from and to different worksheets. You can also use a combination of the mouse and the keyboard to switch the work area.

Switching to the other worksheets is just a matter of using keyboard shortcuts.
  1. Press and hold Ctrl
  2. Press Page Down. Notice that you are switched to Sheet2
  3. Press Page Down.
  4. Release Ctrl.
  5. Press and hold Ctrl again. Press Page Up twice to return to Sheet1.
  6. Release Ctrl.

New Conventions

From now on, unless specified otherwise,

If you see This means
click G5 click cell G5
select B2:F8 select cells from B2 to F8, and that will include all cells in the range B2 to F8
select cells D4, B10, A2, and H16 select only those cells at random
click cell F4 using your mouse, click cell F4
press F4 using your keyboard, press function key F4. Remember that "click" refers to using the mouse and "press" refers to using the keyboard
select row 4 position the mouse on the row header which is the gray box where the row number is displaying, then click
select rows 4 and 5, or select rows 4:8 use one of the methods we learned to select the row headers
select column E I mean position the mouse on the column header which is the gray box where the column letter(s) is displaying, then click
select columns D and F, or select columns C:H use one of the methods we learned to select the column headers


Resizing Columns and Rows

As you may have found out already, columns are usually used to hold a common category of information. For example, it is common to enter people's name in one column, while another column can be used for addresses, yet another column can be used for date hired. Consequently, columns may need different widths as they are meant for different types of information. When a particular type of information doesn't fit in the cells under a column, StarCalc would not display the information; the corresponding cells might be filled up with # signs. To display data from such cells, you can resize the width. In the same way, you will be driven to resize your rows.

StarCalc allows you to resize the columns and rows independently of each other. Resizing a column consists of changing its width. To do this, you have various options. To make a column resize itself to the default maximum width of 0.1", you can position your mouse on the right border of the column header and double-click. To manually widen or enlarge a column, drag the right border of its column header in the desired direction.

  1. Position your mouse on the line that separates column headers D and E until the mouse pointer changes into a short vertical line crossed by a short horizontal double arrow
  2. Click and drag in the right direction. Notice that a tool tip displays the current width of the left column:
  3. When the tool tip displays 1.20 ", then release the mouse
  4. Position your mouse on the line that separates columns D and E and double-click
  5. Click anywhere on the G column to make it active.
  6. On the main menu, click Format -> Column -> Width...
  7. On the Column Width dialog box, change the value of the Width spin button to 0.50
  8. Click OK


Lesson 1 Home Lesson 3

Copyright © 2000 FunctionX

Allentown Car Sales1

Item Code Make Model Year Mileage Price Rate Published Contact
218 Honda Accord 1988 172460 2350   03/15/02 Brenda
208 Acura Integra 1996 38700 14500 0.125   David
661 Buick Lesabre 1993 45000 8500   03/15/2002 Brenda
904 Infinity J30 1996 105000 12900 0.185 03/05/02 Alex
872G Porsche Targa 1997 32500 64750 8.25% 03/12/2002 David
905 Subaru Legacy 1999 9000 18500 .0875   Barry
904F Ford Ranger 1998 56000 11000 0.105 02/18/2002 Barry
106 Plymouth Voyager 1990 12000 2850   02/02/02 David
1846D Jeep Wrangler 1995 40000 10495 .155 3/2/02 Alex
872 Audi 90S 1993 81000 8100 15.55% 3/2/02 Brenda
805R Pontiac Grand Am GT 1996 34000 9450   02/02/2002 Brenda
244 Cadillac Eldorado 1997 15000 28600 .125   Alex
918 Lincoln Towncar 1999 7000 26995 0.115 2/15/2002 David
456 Nissan Altima GXE 1999 8000 13200     David
662H Toyota Camry LE 1997 35000 13600 0.1425 03/20/2002 Alex