Excel Online Quick Start

With Excel Online:

  • Share your workbook with others and collaborate on the same file at the same time.

  • Add tables and charts to make your data visual.

  • Create a survey.

  • Filter a table.

  • Use AutoSum to quickly add totals.

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Create a workbook

  1. Sign in to office.com/signin, select the Office 365 App Launcher Office 365 app launcher icon , and then select Excel.

  2. Select New blank workbook, open a Recent file, or select one of the templates.


Name your file

At the top, you'll notice that Excel Online automatically names your workbook Book1 (or Book2, or Book3...). To give it a more meaningful name:

  1. Click the current name.

  2. Type a name that works for you.

    Anything you do in Excel Online — from naming the file, to working in the cells — is saved automatically.

Cursor clicking filename

Do your work

After you've named your file, you can do what you usually do: enter data, add formatting, type formulas, make charts, and so on. All features are available to you on the tabs at the top.

If you find the tabs are taking up too much space, double-click a tab and the ribbon collapses to give you more room.

Insert tab, charts menu

Edit in the desktop app

If Excel Online is missing a feature you need, you can edit the file in the Excel 2016 desktop application. To switch to the desktop app:

  1. Click Edit in Excel.

    The Excel app will launch and open the file.

  2. Continue working.

    When your changes are saved in the application, they get saved to OneDrive. There's no need to do a "Save As" and re-upload the file.

Edit in Excel button

Tip 1: The Home tab has what you need

Home tab with cut, copy, paste, paste formatting buttons; formatting options like font, alignment, and number formats; Inserting rows/columns; Sum and sort

The Home tab has the most frequently used buttons and features: Clipboard buttons (like cut, copy, paste) and formatting options (like colors, alignment, and number formatting).

Make sure you check out the right side of the Home tab. That's where you can insert rows and columns, sum numbers, and sort.

Tip 2: The Insert tab is for tables, charts, etc.

The Insert tab is the place to insert special things, like tables, charts, hyperlinks, and so on.

If you need to insert rows, columns and cells, then go to the right side of the Home tab.

Insert tab, charts menu

Tip 3: Need a form? Start with a survey.

If you want to insert a form that collects data, first create a survey in OneDrive, by clicking New > Excel survey. Then you'll have both a survey and a workbook that collects the data from the survey.

New menu, Excel survey command

Tip 4: Freezing columns and rows at the same time

If you want to freeze columns and rows at the same time, select a cell that is below the rows you want to freeze, and to the right of the columns you want to freeze. Then click View > Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes.

View tab, Freeze panes menu, Freeze panes command

Tip 5: You can filter, with a table

If you need to filter, click inside some data, and then click Insert > Table. That will give you filter buttons to work with.

Insert tab, Table button, Filter menus

Tip 6: Let AutoSum detect your range — no selection needed

If you have numbers in continuous cells, then the AutoSum button AutoSum button makes things easier. It will detect the range to be summed automatically. In this example, it detected that cells C2 through C7 needed to be summed. There's no need to type in the cell references.

Range of cells automatically detected with the AutoSum button

Tip 7: Work offline

OneDrive syncs files to your computer. Open File Explorer or the Mac Finder and you'll see the OneDrive folder on the left. Copy files into this folder, move them around, and so on. If you disconnect from the Internet, you can open and edit these files offline. When you reconnect, they'll get synced to OneDrive.

Windows Explorer, OneDrive folder, Excel files

When you share your workbook with other people, you can all work on the file at the same time in Excel Online. For more information, see Collaborate on Excel workbooks at the same time with co-authoring.

Share your workbook

  1. Select Share.

  2. Select who you want to share with from the drop-down.

    Allow editing is automatically checked. Uncheck this if you only want to give permission to view the file, not edit it.

    Select Apply.

  3. Enter the names or email addresses of who to share with.

  4. Add a message (optional).

  5. Select Send.

Or, select Copy link to get a link to the file.

Share button

Share diallog box

Co-author a workbook

After you share your file, you can work on it at the same time with others.

  • For the best experience, work together in Excel Online and see real-time changes.

  • Under Share, you will see the names of who else is also editing the file.

  • Colored cells will show you exactly where in the document each person is working. Click a color to see who's editing that cell.

Different colored cells for different people, cursor resting people icon, name appears

Add, edit, delete, and show comments

  • Add a comment – on the Insert or Review tab, select Comment, type your comment, and select Post.

    A little red triangle appears in the corner when a cell has a comment.

  • Edit - select Review > Edit Comment.

  • Delete – select Delete Comment, or select the  in the comment.

  • Show - select Review > Show Comments.

Add, edit, delete, and show comments

Chat while editing

If another person is editing the file at the same time, you can chat with them.

  1. Select Chat.

  2. Type a message and press Enter.

The conversation will not be saved when you close the file. To keep a record of your chats, use Microsoft Teams.

Chat in a document

Chat in a document - 3

Get help with Tell me

  1. Select Tell me what you want to do at the top of the screen.

  2. Type what you want to do.

    For example, type freeze to learn how to freeze panes to lock rows or columns.

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