Get Started with Excel for Free: A Beginner’s Tutorial

Microsoft Excel is a powerful and versatile tool for data analysis and management. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who wants to keep track of personal finances, Excel can be an invaluable asset. The good news is that you don’t need to purchase the full version of Excel to get started. Microsoft offers a free version of Excel that provides many of the basic features you need to create and manipulate spreadsheets. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of getting started with the free version of Excel.

What is the Free Version of Excel?

The free version of Excel, known as Microsoft Excel Online, is a web-based application that allows users to create and edit spreadsheets directly in their web browser. It offers most of the core features found in the desktop version of Excel, including formulas, charts, and conditional formatting. While it may not have all the advanced features available in the full version, it provides more than enough functionality for everyday use.

Accessing Microsoft Excel Online

To access Microsoft Excel Online, simply open your web browser and navigate to If you already have a Microsoft account (such as Outlook or Hotmail), sign in using your existing credentials. If not, you can create a new account by clicking on the “Sign up for free” button.

Once signed in, click on the “Excel” icon to launch the online application. You’ll be greeted with a familiar spreadsheet interface similar to what you would find in the desktop version.

Getting Familiar with Microsoft Excel Online

The interface of Microsoft Excel Online closely resembles its desktop counterpart but with some minor differences. The ribbon at the top contains all the essential tabs such as Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, and View.

Creating a new workbook is as simple as clicking on the “Blank workbook” template. This will open a new spreadsheet where you can start entering your data and formulas.

One of the most powerful features of Excel is its ability to perform calculations using formulas. To enter a formula, simply click on the cell where you want the result to appear and start typing. For example, typing “=SUM(A1:A3)” will calculate the sum of the values in cells A1, A2, and A3.

Excel Online also allows you to format your data using various options like font styles, cell color, borders, and more. You can access these formatting options by selecting the desired cells and using the formatting tools available in the ribbon.

Saving and Sharing Your Work

Once you’ve created your spreadsheet in Excel Online, it’s important to save your work to ensure that you don’t lose any data. To save your document, click on the “File” tab in the top left corner of the screen and select “Save As.” You’ll have an option to choose where to save your file (either on your OneDrive or locally) and give it a name.

One of the advantages of using Excel Online is its seamless integration with cloud storage. This means that you can easily share your spreadsheets with others by clicking on the “Share” button located at the top right corner of Excel Online. From there, you can specify who has access to view or edit your document by entering their email addresses or generating a shareable link.


Getting started with Excel for free is a great way to familiarize yourself with this powerful tool without breaking the bank. Microsoft Excel Online provides most of the essential features found in its desktop counterpart while offering easy accessibility through any web browser. Whether you’re managing personal finances or analyzing complex datasets, Excel Online has got you covered. So why wait? Start exploring Microsoft Excel Online today.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.