Guide to Using A Spreadsheet
This document is a simple guide to using spreadsheets. We outline basic spreadsheet design, entering data, creating graphs, and converting your graphs to image files that can be uploaded as images on your research webpage. We use Microsoft Excel in our examples as it is the most common spreadsheet application and appears on most PCs.
A spreadsheet is basically a grid of cells. It is a powerful scientific tool for storing information. When you open a spreadsheet, you'll find a page with numbers running down the left side of the page (1,2,3,4,…) and letters running across the top of the page (A, B, C, D,…). The letters act as COLUMN headings (cells running down the page). The numbers act as ROW headings (cells running across the page). Scientists use the column and row headings to identify each cell. For example: the very first cell on a spreadsheet is A1. The next cell in the same row is B1, the third C1, the fourth D1 and so on. The second cell in the A1 column is A2, the third A3, the fourth A4 and so on. You now know how to find and identify any cell on a spreadsheet!
Set up and label your spreadsheet so others can easily follow the information. Carefully think about the best way to show the information you will record. Ask yourself if the labels and data show what research question you are asking. Can you see this easily in the way you have set up your spreadsheet? IMPORTANT! In setting up your spreadsheet, be very clear about what you are trying to measure and make it simple for others to understand.
There are different ways to set up your data on a spreadsheet. Over time, you will learn various means to display the data you are collecting.
Let's use a simple example in which we are measuring the growth 5 seed types under identical conditions. The research question is: "Do clover, wheat, rye, corn and soybean seeds grow at the same rate? Every day they measured the sprouting seeds.
Time (in days) is their independent variable.
Length of the seeds is their dependent variable. The student researchers collected data on 10 seeds of each species and calculated an average growth rate (growth in centimeters per day) for each species.
Figure 1 is the spreadsheet they created.
- In cell B1 the team gave their spreadsheet a title called "Table 1: Sprout Growth Rate for Various Seed Types." This helps people understand how you are testing your research question.
- In cell C2 and (row 3), they show they are recording measurements for 14 days.
- Time (in days) Row 3 will become the x-axis of the graph they make in the next step.
- In Column B they label rows with each species in their study. They labeled rows B4-B8. They recorded the average length each species over the 14 days of the study. Tip: To enter data in a cell, click on the box associated with the day and seed type, and type in your measurement for each day beginning with day 1 in box C4 and so on down the column or across the row. /li>
- The average length measured for each species will become the y-axis for the graph they make in the next step
- Once all your data is entered on the spreadsheet, highlight the area your headings and data occupy by clicking on cell B3 and dragging across all of the boxes you to P8 (all your data and the x & y axis cells should be outlined and appear as a light highlighted color).
- Now click the graph icon button in the menu at the top of the screen.
- Select the type of graph you would like to create from the Chart Type menu. In our example, we will use a Line graph.
- Then select the second option down on the left, “Line with markers displayed at each data value”, from the Chart Sub-Type menu. Double click it. A preview of your graph will appear.
- Click on the Data Range tab at the top of the preview graph, and make sure the Series button is set for Rows.
- Click NEXT.
- Now it will ask you to fill in your Title (use your Table heading from cell B1), your x-axis (enter Days) and your y-axis (enter Length in CM).
- Click NEXT
- On the Place Chart box, make sure the "As object in" button is checked and your spreadsheet is in the box.
- Click the Finish button. A standard copy of your graph will appear. We'll let you play with the program to figure out how to modify the looks! It should be something like Figure 2 below.
If you look at EastCentralU7 - (click here) , they have added graphs from their data sheet to enhance their research webpage. What they did was to convert an Excel sheet graphic into an image file (.jpg works well). Try the following steps yourself.
1. Open your Excel document containing the graph/chart you want to turn into an image.
2. Open the Paint program in your application folder (or another image program, we chose Paint as it comes with most PCs).
3. Go back to your Excel document and click on the graph you have created. Go to the Edit menu and select Copy.
4. Go back to the Paint program, select File and click on New. When it opens the box, hit Paste.
5. Now go back up to the File menu and select Save As and then select .jpg as the Save as type at the bottom of the box and click Save (make sure your remember where you save it).
6. Login to PlantingScience with your username and password.
7. Go to your research page, click the Edit this link.
8. Scroll down to the Images section on your edit page.
9. Click Browse next to Supporting Image #1 and find your image on your computer.
10. Click on the image and click Open or Upload.
11. Scroll down to Actions at the very bottom of your edit page. Make sure Update is showing in the box and click Go. Your image should now appear on your research page.
You can add up to six images using the six Supporting Image boxes. For more information, see the Student Web Guide.
Questions? Email PlantingSciencestaff: email@example.com
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Print this | Send this | Hits: 9362 |