Are you just starting with Google Sheets? Or, just making a transition from other spreadsheet applications?  It might be a good idea to get familiar with the user interface (UI) before getting anywhere. Because, to get comfortable with this cloud-based application, it would be nice to know our way around it. Below we give you a quick glimpse of constituents the Google Sheets’ interface.

Elements of Google Sheets’ interface

If you have been using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet applications, getting along with Google Sheets should take you no time. Because most of the UI elements are just about similar. But, if you are a novice, not to worry. You’ll be able to get up to speed very quickly with the help of this article.

Google Sheets application comprises of the following UI elements.

  • Toolbar
  • Menu bar
  • Formula bar
  • Spreadsheet real estate

Google Sheets' interface - Illustration 1


This houses clickable shortcuts to all the important and frequently used tools that we need. From the left to the right on the toolbar are Undo, Redo, Print, Paint Format, and Zoom options. Then we have the tools to format numbers, style the fonts and cells. At the very end on the right are shortcuts to insert hyperlinks, comments, charts, filters and formulas (or functions).

Menu bar

Just like any other application, Google Sheets has Menu drop downs to select an option and perform an operation. All the tools available on the Toolbar should be accessible from the Menu bar as well. Including some more. Other than the usual suspects, we will list a few interesting features available on the Menu bar. Please have a look at the snapshot collages of individual menu dropdowns.

Menu Options 1

Here’s the next set of menu dropdowns.

Menu Options 2

We may have noticed that some of the menu options have keyboard combinations indicated on the right. We can not only trigger these from the UI using the mouse, but we can also do so by using the corresponding keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard operations are much faster than those done with the mouse – so these combinations are very handy.

To the uninformed, this might sound like a surprise. There is no Save button anywhere in the menu options! That’s because Google Sheets auto-saves the file after every change that we make.

Spreadsheet real estate

This consists of rows, columns, and cells. Rows are identified with numbers (on the left), and columns are identified with alphabets. An intersection of a row and a column results in a cell. The naming convention for the cell is [Column][Row]. So for instance, column C and row 2 intersect at the cell C2. It is worth noting that Google Sheets supports up to 5 million cells. At the granular level, cells are where we store data.

Selecting a cell is very simple. We just have to click on it. Alternatively, we may use the tab key, return key, up, down, left and right arrow keys to navigate around the cells.

Formula bar

We use the formula bar in conjunction with the cells to work with the data. Here we can enter text, numbers, formulas, and functions for the cell we have selected. Observe how the content we type in the formula bar appear on the selected cell.

Google Sheets Interface - Illustration 3

We can expand the formula bar, as shown in the image below. Doing so helps us read through a lengthy text stored within a cell, or edit it with ease.

Google Sheets Interface - Illustration 4

It is the same case with formulas too. However, the magic happens when we tab out or hit the return key. It evaluates the formula and displays the result in the cell, but hides the formula behind it. We still can see the underlying formula in the Formula bar. Here’s a small example.

Google Sheets Interface - Illustration 5

We don’t expect you to understand the formulas yet. We’ll cover them in detail on other posts. However, please note that Google Sheets knows that we entered a formula in the cell if we begin the content with an “equal to” operator.


All of the snapshots above read “Untitled spreadsheet” for the file’s title or name. Just like naming any new file on our computer, we can change it to whatever is appropriate. Even the name like “Just getting started” goes well.

On the bottom of the screen, we can click on the ‘+’ button to add a new worksheet. At any given moment, only one sheet remains active and visible to the user. In the example below, we added a couple more sheets and selected the last sheet.

Google Sheets Interface - Illustration 6

Do you need to navigate to Google Sheets home page? Simple really! Just click on the green file like Google Sheets logo on the top left corner, and we will get there.

If you still have any questions regarding this blog post, please do not hesitate to let us know in the comment section below 🙂

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