Excel Basics:
Excel Options

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want Working with Numbers: 2007,2010,2013,2016  or españolIcon: Change web

Excel lets you change a lot about the way the windows look and what is showing in the document. When things don't behave or look the way you expected, the Options dialog may help you out.

Each new version seems to add another tab to this dialog! You don't have to worry about most of them. The default settings work fine.

Dialog: Options | View (Excel 2002)

Options dialog in Excel 2002
Several more tabs than previous versions!

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Numbers

Before you start...

Project 1: Excel IntroTo subtopics

Project 2: Excel Basics  
Getting Started Arrow to subtopics
      Icon - FootprintRegional Settings
      Icon - FootprintAppearance
      Icon - FootprintPage
      Icon - FootprintMargins
      Icon - FootprintHeader/Footer
      Icon - FootprintSheet
      Icon - FootprintOptions
      Icon - FootprintEnter/Edit/Clear Popup Table
    ArrangeTo subtopics
    AutoFillTo subtopics
    FinishTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Format & ArrangeTo subtopics

Project 4: Groups & FormulasTo subtopics

Project 5: DesignTo subtopics


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Excel Options

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to set options in the Options dialog

Start with: Budget.xls (budget.xls from the resource files)

TipYou must have a document open to be able to open Excel's Options dialog.

WarningIf make a change on an Options tab, the change applies to all Excel workbooks, not just the one you have open.

Options: General

  1. From the menu select  Tools  |  Options…  and click on the  General  tab.

    Dialog; Options | General tab

    Not all of these settings are important at this point. The illustration shows the default settings. Click on the Button: Dialog Help Dialog Help button and then on any choice that you don't understand.

  2. Be sure that the following are set:
  • R1C1 reference style is NOT checked. (This changes the cell reference order to row first and then column)
  • Recently used file list = 4 (or more)
  • Sheets in new workbook = 3
  • Standard font = Arial
  • Size = 10

Options: Edit

  1. Click on the Edit tab. This tab manages Excel's behavior when you are editing a sheet.

    Dialog: Options | Edit tab

    Icon: Excel 2002Icon: Excel 2003 The Edit tab has some new choices in Excel 2002/2003.

  2. All boxes should be checked except for Fixed decimal (and Enable automatic percent entry in Excel 2002/2003)

    What they mean:

    • Edit directly in cell - Allows you to edit in the cell instead of only in the Formula bar. Very helpful!
    • Allow cell drag and drop - Allows you to select a range and drag it to a new location instead of having to Cut and Paste.
    • Move selection after Enter - When you press ENTER to enter what you typed into the cell, the selected cell is changed to the next one in the direction that you chose. The default is to move the selection down one cell. This saves you a keystroke with each cell when you are entering a lot of data. You would usually chose Right if entering data by rows and Down if entering by columns. When this box is not checked, the cell remains selected after you press ENTER.
    • Fixed decimal - Formats all numbers with exactly two digits to the right of the decimal. This is useful only if all your numbers are going to be currency.
    • Enable AutoComplete for cell values - As you enter values in a column, if you start to repeat text already used, Excel will show it in the cell highlighted. Press ENTER or leave the cell with TAB or an arrow key or click another cell to accept the suggested value for the cell.

    Use the Help Dialog Dialog Help button to see the explanation of the other options on this tab.

Options: Calculation

Dialog: Options , Calculation tab

  1. Click on the Calculation tab.
  2. Choose Automatic in the top section on the tab. This makes the sheet immediately recalculate a formula whenever a cell referenced by the formula changes. If you chose Manual, to recalculate the formulas you have open this tab and click on one of the Calc buttons.  Awkward!
    • Calc Now = recalculates all calculated values on all open worksheets. Such recalculations can take some time to do. 
    • Calc Sheet = recalculates only the active sheet. 

    Leave the other settings at their defaults, as shown.

    TipIf your formula seem to do exactly nothing, the workbook may be set for Manual calculation. On the other hand, your formula could be wrong!

Options: View

You already looked at part of this tab when checking out the appearance of the Excel window.

  1. Click on the View tab. This tab controls whether some parts and features of the Excel window and the workbook window are displayed or not. 

    Dialog: Options | View

  2. Show: Check the boxes for both Formula bar and Status bar.
  3. Comments: Choose Comment indicator only
  4. Objects: Choose Show all
  5. Window Options: 
    • Be sure all boxes are checked except Page breaks and Formulas
    • Set Color to Automatic.

Options: other tabs

You don't need to be concerned with the other tabs at this time.

  • Transition is for people changing from Lotus 1-2-3 to Excel. 
  • Custom Lists lets you create lists for AutoFill. 
  • Chart has just a few settings to control chart behavior. 
  • Color just sets the palette of colors for your sheets. It is almost certainly at the default palette. If your colors seem to be off, press the Reset button on the Color tab.

Icon: Excel 2002Icon: Excel 2003 Excel 2002/2003 adds more tabs that are not particularly important to us right now. If you are not using English, you might want to make changes on the International and Spelling tabs.

  • International allows you to change the symbol for decimal and numbers separators without having to change all the Regional Options. There are some other choices that are helpful for non-English languages
  • Save sets timing and location for automatic saves.
  • Error checking enables/disables automatic error checking. There are a number of standard rules that can be enabled/disabled.
  • Spelling allows you to change custom dictionaries.
  • Security allows you to password-protect the workbook for opening and for modifying. You can also set security for macros.

Close budget.xls.

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Last updated: 02 May 2012