
Physics Laboratory


Excel Tutorials

Hello, and welcome to my Microsoft Excel tutorials. I've created these pages
to supplement your physics laboratory course here at Clemson University.
Most of our lab courses require using Excel or some similar spread sheet
application to display data, perform calculations and create plots. These
tutorials are designed to familiarize our lab students with specific Excel
tasks, which are required for successful completion of the course.
There are dozens of ways to perform the same Excel operation. In these
tutorials I present
various techniques and methods that I have found works well for me.
Below is a listing of the 10 tutorials and their subheadings. Even if you
are familiar with Excel, you should start at the beginning and work
your way to the end. (At a minimum L200 and L207 students should
be familiar with Tutorials 1, 2, 3, 7 and 10.)
 Terminology
 Arithmetic
 Addition
 Other basic operators
 Exponential operator
 Referencing cells within formulas
 Three built in functions (SUM,
AVERAGE, SQRT)
 Basic Actions
 Create titles and headings
 Add units to headings
 Copy and paste your formula
 Use correct significant figures
 Emphasize important text
 Shade important cells
 More cell manipulations
(resize columns, change font styles, add borders)
 That ###### error message
 Display sample formulas
 Consult the page setup
(print gridlines and row and column headings)
 Algebra
 Thickness of sheet of paper
 Distance traveled around a perimeter
 Conversions
 Solve a quadratic equation
 Determine the radius of a sphere
 PI( ), a builtin constant
 Copy and paste formulas
 Displaying Symbols
 Display symbols with "Symbol" font
 Display symbols with <ALT>+code
 Trigonometry
 Using radians
 Builtin trig functions (sine, cosine
tangent, arcsine, arccosine, arctangent)
 Finding the height of a tree
 Finding the launch angle of a ski ramp
 Verifying a trig identity
 Graphing Data and Curve Fitting
 An experiment to determine
p
 How to plot a data set
 Displaying units on the axes
 Displaying symbols
 Add a trendline and equation to the graph
 Altering the look of the displayed equation
 Altering the attributes of the trendline
 Calculating
p from the slope (and
finding % Error)
 Advanced Graphing and Curve Fitting
 Creating plots of two data series on one graph
 Altering the graph's legend
 Fitting multiple curves on one set of data
 Using error bars
 Advanced Topics
 Creating userdefined constants
 Adjusting the graph's scale
 Using Excel's Statistics Commands
 Basic builtin functions (AVERAGE, MEAN, MODE,
COUNT, MAX, MIN)
 Linear regression equations (SLOPE, INTERCEPT, CORREL)
 Error analysis tools (STDEV)
 Miscellany (ABS)
 Linear Regression and Excel
 Sample data
 Linear regression equations
 Applying regression to the sample data
 Linear regression with builtin functions
 Helpful Hints Concerning the Physics Lab Reports
 Work carefully
 Neatly display your work
 Display sample formulas
 Check your work by hand
 Printing tips (making your work
easy to read, easy to grade, and adjusting it to fit neatly on
the printed page)
Of course, Microsoft Excel has an extensive builtin help application and
you are encouraged to use it to dig deeper into the capabilities of the
spread sheet program. These pages are intended to be used
by the uninitiated physics laboratory student
as a basic tutorial on getting started with Excel.
please let me() know if you find
these tutorials helpful. I appreciate any feedback you may have.
If you have a question or comment, send an email to Lab Coordinator:
Jerry Hester

