A detailed description of using Microsoft Excel
The fast paced evolution and development of technology has led to a myriad of change not only on our individual selves but to the entire organization’s workplace at large. This is due to the numerous development of a wide array of machines that have made work simpler and manageable for the employees. Being part of the huge workforce in the country, I was obliged to embrace the world of technology in my workplace. Using computer to put in data and create respective data analysis for the company has been the norm. This activity utilizes a wide variety of computer software programs which have alleviatedpeople fromthe dubious and daunting task of manually recording and analyzing massive amounts of data. Besides this, the different computer software program such as Microsoft Excel has been eminently vital in providing accurate results on data analysis.
As part of my part time job activity, using Microsoft Excel for carrying out data analysis clearly depicts my cognitive activity. Microsoft Excel is one of the programs in Microsoft Office Suite that provides worksheets comprised of rows and columns. Microsoft Excel had been conceptualized for the primary role of performing both simple and complex mathematical calculations. Ms. Excel is more so a powerful spreadsheet application characterized by a great array of formulas, add-ons and financial functions that simplifies the process of analyzing data (Burns et al. 4). In order to successfully use the spreadsheet application, the following step to step procedure has to be keenly followed. Before commencing with the first step, one has to ensure that the Microsoft Office program has been installed in the computer. The first step involves clicking the start button followed by right clicking on ‘all programs’ which will provide a list of different programs available. Click on the Microsoft office icon after which you’ll click on Microsoft Excel icon which is among the different Microsoft office programs (Nardi 232). On opening the Excel, a new interface that entails a workbook and worksheets will appear. A worksheet constitutes two dimensional grids with columns and rows. The different columns are characterized by alphabets whereas row is characterized by sequential numbers. Each cell in the spreadsheet is referred by both an alphabet representing the column of the cell and a number which represents the row of the respective cell. These cell references are mainly used when creating formulas needed to carry out certain mathematical processes. An Excel ribbon found at the top of the spreadsheet contains different tabs and smaller icons in the Quick access toolbar. Each small icon found in the Quick Access Toolbar will let you perform several Excel processes such as changing the page layout, adding and deleting of rows and columns in the worksheet among other processes. One of the common data analyses that I do every day involves doing summation of data. This process entails having another column for the results of the summation. This is followed by clicking on the any specific cell on the summation column where one should type in “=sum (”. The equal sign indicates the start of a formula to the spreadsheet program. After the parenthesis, select the specific data which will be indicated with their respective cell references on the formula (Bennett et al. 130). This is lastly followed by typing in the closing parenthesis after which one presses the Enter button for the summation results to appear.
Analysis on using Microsoft Excel
The core notion of any cognitive activity is to further help one to develop and hone his or her skills and abilities in a sequential manner (Clark et al. 8). The activity of using computer software programs such as Microsoft Excel generally constitutes part of the information artifact. Information artifact entails four major components which are; an interactional language or notation, an environment for editing the notation, a medium of interaction and two kinds of sub-devices (Lave et al. 29). An interaction language is usually represented by letters, numbers, graphic elements and icons (Khosrow-Pour 133). These notations are vital as they provide a communication channel between the user and the information artifacts such as Microsoft Excel (Vicente 89). The interaction language presented by Microsoft Excel includes icons, letters and numbers. The letters and numbers can be used as cell referencing which also assist in developing certain formulas needed to complete specific mathematical function for the data input (Thorne 263).
Microsoft Excel also provides an environment for editing the notations. One may be able to edit formulas by either changing the mathematical symbol or letters and numbers representing specific cells that need to be changed on the formula (Mills et al. 191). In addition, one is also able to add or remove rows and columns by clicking on the editing button found on the Quick Access Toolbar (Rendall 59).
The medium of interaction between man and the spreadsheet application are mainly the computer monitor, mouse and the keyboard (Ingold 79). The computer monitor acts as a medium of interaction as it provides clear visual display to the user (Hutchins et al. 33). The computer monitor serves as a medium of interaction as it displays the necessary graphics and information that the user understands (Green et al. 58). The user is also able to interact with the Excel program through keyboards and mouse. The user mainly uses the keyboard as an input of data whereas the user presses the mouse so as to perform certain tasks on the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Clark 56). The keyboard and the mouse resemble our normal writing on paper where one passes information in form of words and sentences. In addition, Microsoft Excel has its own notation that is different from the main notation or interaction language (Drier 171). Sub devices function as helper devices in further improving the interaction between the user and the application program (Fabian 616).
Microsoft Excel qualifies to be a cognitive tool as it assists the user in being able to conduct his or her own investigation on the data results by questioning, predicting, testing, planning and suggesting possible explanations of the results (Low 163).
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