HELP in and for Excel

Home page:
[View without Frames]

Learn the meanings of each item in menus

In working with any product it is important to learn the meanings of each menu item.  This is easier said than done, when you try to find the menu item in help.  This can be a challenge in Excel.

General Information about getting HELP

If HELP doesn't work for you, there are search engines that with the proper input will turn up a lot of hits.  Years ago such stuff was expensive and for researchers and librarians.

Now everyone can do their own research, does their own typing so is their own secretary, and maybe even their own publisher.

If you learn to use the search engines and only use them with the most advanced features, can find practically anything on any subject.

In all MS Office products you can enter "keyboard" into the HELP (F1) and find shortcuts.  I do find that it is a bit unwieldy to have to go to a whole bunch of different topics to find a shortcut though and have put all of the shortcuts into a web page where you can use the HTLM features, FIND, to help locate something faster.

HELP in Excel and other products is written as a book, so if you look in Contents at the first several topics you will read the introductory material. 

In any language one of the important things is the limits imposed within the language.  You find this under "specifications" in HELP (F1) where you will find maximum rows, columns, number of digits, etc. for your current version. The use of SHIFT+F1 brings up the “What's This?”  [/?] Help pointer that you can point to something and get more help.

Some discrepancies in Specification

In any case once you have your answer it would be wise to then try to find in HELP which should be a lot easier once you know the answer; and be sure to look at the "See Also" and the Examples.  Another thing that may not be immediately evident is that Excel Help and VBA help are in two different places, each is brought up with F1 from where you use it.  So for help with macros you would invoke from the VBE (Alt+F11) or in the case of Excel 95 and earlier from a macro sheet.

Also see additional information concerning List of Functions in both Excel HELP and for VBA in HELP and the Project Library (F2).

I have the search engines that I use or am familiar with laid out so you can find it and the help for each in

The keyboard shortcuts in

Microsoft Office

Online HELP, Tutorials, Courses for Excel Macros

Within HELP  (F1)   go to the Table of Contents tab,
   if that tab is not visible    use   Alt+C  or the icon in upper left corner.
   Information in Contents reads like a book which it is.

If you found something in the Index in HELP, or with the Answer Wizard
you can switch to the Contents view and see where that articles
fits in with the book.    This information is also available in HTML
specifically programming:

Other Sources:
Links for VBA Tutorials can be found on my home page «

VBA Tutor -- Gary Radley

These two pages might help you.

The newsgroup where you will see the most macro usage is
and Google can help you find previous postings.

Perhaps off-topic, but
The quickest way to learn would probably be to buy a book
written by John Walkenbach or by John Green. 
For someone just starting out with Excel and not familiar with basic assignment statement in Excel, might be wise to start the Table of Contents in HELP.

The Excel HELP file reads like a book, Table of Contents, and chapters. Usually one looks at help with the *Index* and uses Find to an alphabetical list of topics; or the *Answer Wizard* to search for several words. For someone complete unfamiliar with Excel you might want to read through HELP as a book there is a particular place such a person might start.
    HELP (F1),
      Entering Data and Selecting Cells
        Entering Data
    you can only select topics the first topic under those is
          "Enter data in worksheet cells"
start there read each hyperlinked help then chose the next topic in the Help Table of Contents and continue.

Problems with HELP

Sometimes HELP does not open with the three tabs showing ("Contents", "Answer Wizard", Index).  Depending on the circumstances on of the following should correct the problem.

VBA HELP - Tools, Options, Edit tab

Learning the options and menus is an important way to learn about any software package.

VBA HELP file is not installed in a default installation

VBA Help is not installed with the default installation.  Insert your Office CD and run the Setup program.  Choose "custom install" and you'll be able to specify the VBA help file.

Excel 2000 has some nice features to help you with coding

Auto List Member, Displays a list that contains information that would logically complete the statement at the current insertion point. 

When you type a period on an instruction the choices that you have will be shown.  Important: Be sure to DIM your variables to help with such determinations.

Help information: F1 (Help), Answer Wizard, editor dialog, when there other dialog tabs can be seen in See Also.
intellisense place cursor or a word then press F1 and the help will come up for that item.  Also works if you just type in the word you want and then press F1. intellisense place cursor or a word then press F1 and the help will come up for that item.  You can just type in the word then F1 for same result. lookup in help.

Related to Auto List Member are some more options that appear under the Edit menu and also in the RClick menu. More information:  in topic "Menu Shortcut Keys Available in the Code Window" and look at See Also.  Also look at "Edit Menu" and in "Edit Toolbar" in Help.


This page was introduced on December 16, 2000. 

[My Excel Pages -- home]    [INDEX to my site and the off-site pages I reference] 
[Site Search -- Excel]     [Go Back]    [Return to TOP

Please send your comments concerning this web page to: David McRitchie send email comments

Copyright © 1997 - 2006,  F. David McRitchie,  All Rights Reserved