Creating and Editing Google Docs Spreadsheets

November 5, 2010, By Christian Cawley

While Microsoft have recently made their online office apps available to all Google have been in the business of providing browser-based office productivity tools for quite some time now.

Along with composing new word processing files with Google Docs Documents, you might also like to create and edit spreadsheets with Google Docs Spreadsheets.

Courtesy of daniello

Creating a New Google Spreadsheet

To get started, go to – you will of course require a Google account in order to make use of this service, so login when asked or sign up for an account via the Create an account now link.

Once logged in, go to Create new > Spreadsheet to begin a new spreadsheet document (alternatively upload one from your PC via File > Open > Browse). This browser based application has many of the common tools found in a standard Excel database, such as inserting charts and functions, as well as paste formatting and alphabetical column sorting.

We’ll start by using some of these commonly used tools – so to begin enter 1 in your first cell (A1) and 2 in the cell below (A2). Note that as you enter values in each cell, you will need to tap the enter key to proceed to the next cell, or use tab or simply click the next cell with your mouse.

With two values in consecutive cells, you should be able to select both cells and drag the square in the lower right corner of the highlighted area in order to continue the sequence of values.

Before we go on, you will notice after a few moments that your spreadsheet (labeled as “Unsaved spreadsheet” at the top of the screen) will warn you that you that you are “editing an unsaved spreadsheet”. Take Google Docs advice at this stage, and Start autosaving.

Performing Basic Calculation with Google Spreadsheets

With Google Spreadsheets you are also able to perform calculations using a range of functions. We’ll stick to the basics for now – and create a total for the sequence of values we created earlier.

In the cell below (or to the right, depending upon which way you dragged the square in the previous section) your last number, go to Insert > Function > SUM (or use the symbol to find the SUM command). This will enter the value =SUM() in the last cell, with the insertion point between the brackets; it should look something like this: =SUM(|).

The SUM function will total all of the values referenced in the brackets. With your mouse, select the range of cells to be included in the SUM calculation, for instance A1 to G1.

Tap enter to confirm this – the value will be displayed in the cell, while in the Formula bar you will see =SUM(A1:G1).

By default the initial values and the total will be styled with the basic Arial 10pt font – however you can embellish this with Google Spreadsheet’s basic text formatting. You might use the bold tool (represented as per convention with a B) or the Text colour tool (represented by an A with a strip of colour beneath it) to highlight the total.

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