5 Google Sheets tips

Tips for Navigating Google Sheets

I have been building some Google Expeditions lessons that pair up with a spreadsheet. Helping students know how to navigate a spreadsheet will help them to focus on the lesson rather than how to use a spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet Tips by Alice Keeler

Link to graphic

Google Sheets Tips

Be Aware of Your Cell

When you click on a cell, the edge is thicker and highlighted in blue. The row and column that define that cell are a darker grey. Before typing, ensure you have selected the cell you want to type in.
cell C3

1) Click Once

If you click one time on a cell and start typing it will type OVER the previous content. Control Z (undo) is a really good keyboard shortcut to know as it can be pretty easy to accidentally type over text in a spreadsheet. Do NOT delete the text out of a cell before entering new text. Simply start typing to replace the text.

Double click allows you to fine edit the text in a cell or modify a formula. Double clicking is NOT necessary when you initially input values.

2) Tab to Next Cell

After typing in a cell, no need to use the mouse. Use the Tab key to move to the right. (Shift Tab moves to the left). Knowing how to tab in a spreadsheet is an important skill, help students to be proficient with this.

Notice in the animation above I am not dragging the cursor to the next cell. Simply pressing the Tab key takes me to the next cell and allows me to start typing. Tab type tab type tab type tab type… At the end of the row, pressing the Enter key takes me to the next row, ready to start typing.

3) Press Enter

I see a lot of people not pressing the Enter key after entering information into a cell. This saves the information. Not pressing enter puts your input at risk. Either press the Enter key or use the Tab key to submit the cell entry.

4) Additional Sheets

A spreadsheet is oftentimes a collection of sheets. A spreadsheet user should always be in the habit of looking down for additional sheets to view or work on.
look for tabs

Notice along the bottom there are multiple sheets. Students can also find a list of all the sheets (and click on them to jump to that sheet) by clicking on the “Big Mac.” This is the 4 lines icon in the bottom left of the spreadsheet. The plus icon in the bottom left allows the student to add a new blank sheet.

5) Use Arrow Keys

Using the arrow keys on a keyboard can sometimes be more efficient than using the mouse or trackpad to get to another cell.

If you are trying to select a range on a spreadsheet, hold down the Shift key and use the arrow keys. This can be much easier than trying to use the mouse or trackpad.
Shift arrow to select a range


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