Excel Tutorial

Excel Tutorial. This is intended to help the average Physics lab student create a proper graph and utilize some. of the tools that Excel offers. …

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Excel Tutorial
This is intended to help the average Physics lab student create a proper graph and utilize some of the tools that Excel offers.
A. Creating a proper graph

  • Enter your data in an excel spreadsheet as seen in Figure 1.
  • Make sure to always label your columns with names AND units.
  • Highlight the data that you wish to graph as seen in Figure 2.
  • Click on the “Insert” tab at the top left of the excel window and then click on the “Scatter” icon and then on the picture of a graph with just the points (no lines) as seen in Figure 3.
  • This should insert a graph as seen in Figure 4
  • Be sure to select the proper line that you wish to create from the menu.
  • Make sure the “Display Equation on chart is selected”
  • Also, in some cases you will be asked to have the y‐intercept set to zero. This can be done by selecting the “Set Intercept =” field and typing the appropriate intercept into the box.
  • Once you have made your selections click “close” and then an equation should appear on your graph as in Figure 6.
  • To make your graph complete you MUST add a title and axes labels. This can be done by clicking on the graph, then under the “Chart Tools” menu click on the “Layout” tab. From this menu you can select to add a Title and axes labels. This can be seen in Figure 7.

B. Using the Linest Function
The Linest function is used to find the uncertainties in the slope and the y‐intercept based on a set of data.

  • After you have followed procedure A. Highlight 4 cells, a 2 by 2 box of cells. See
  • Then type “=linest(“ and a help box should appear as in Figure 10.
  • Highlight the values that should go on your y‐axis, type “,” then the values that should go on your x‐axis, then “,1,1)”. As seen in Figure 11. The “1” and “1” is just telling the Linest function to do the usual calculations to find the values we are looking for.
  • Then press CRTL+SHIFT+ENTER. This will display 4 numbers as seen in Figure 12.v. Notice that the top 2 numbers are the slope and the intercept also found in the graph. See Figure 13.
  • The numbers below the slope and the intercept and the uncertainties in each, respectively. Although Excel gives us the uncertainty in the slope and in intercept to many digits, remember that the uncertainties should always be reported to one significant digit.

C. Using Equations and the “Fill” tool

  • Excel has many built in tools to help you calculate things. To use these tools you need to enter your data in a column. As shown in Figure 14.
  • The average velocity is defined as the distance divided by the time it takes to travel that distance. To calculate the average velocity in Excel select a cell and type “=B2/A2” then press enter. Notice that this will highlight A2 cell and the B2 cell and divide them and put the answer in the box you selected. See Figure 15 and 16.
  • Once you have calculated the value in the first box you can use the “Fill” tool to copy this formula to boxes below. You do this by clicking on the first box and then clicking on the small black box at the bottom right hand corner of the cell and dragging in down as far as you want the formula to be copied. See Figure 16, 17 and 18.
  • Notice that the formula has been copied but the values in the corresponding place have been used, instead of the A2 and B2 blanks. For example, the average velocity in C3 is calculated using B3/A3=.769.
Download Excel Tutorial pdf from physics.ncsu.edu, 8 pages, 2015.21KB.
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