Excel XP: Create, Open, and Save Workbooks

Lesson 2: Create, Open, and Save Workbooks



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Create a workbook
  • Save a workbook
  • Open a workbook
  • Close a workbook

Understanding file terms

The File menu contains all of the operations we'll discuss in this lesson: New, Open, Close, Save, and Save As.

The File Menu


This is used to create a new workbook.


This is used to open an existing file from a floppy disk or hard drive of your computer.


This is used to close a spreadsheet.

Save As

This is used when you're saving a new file for the first time or saving an existing file with a different name.


This is used to save a file that has had changes made to it. If you close the workbook without saving, any changes made will be lost.

To learn more, check out the different parts of the Excel window.

Creating a workbook

A blank workbook is displayed when Microsoft Excel XP is first opened. You can type information or design a layout directly in this blank workbook.

To create an Excel XP workbook:

  • Choose FileNew from the menu bar.

    File New Menu Selection
  • The New Workbook task pane opens on the right side of the screen.

    Select Blank Workbook
  • Choose Blank Workbook under the New category heading.
  • A blank workbook opens in the Excel window. The New Workbook task pane is closed.

Saving a workbook

Every workbook created in Excel must be saved and assigned a name to distinguish it from other workbooks. The first time you save a workbook, Excel will prompt you to assign a name through the Save As operation. Once the file is assigned a name, any additional changes made to the text, numbers, or formulas must be saved using the Save operation.

To save a new workbook:

  • Choose FileSave As from the menu bar.

    File and Save As Menu Selection
  • The Save As dialog box appears.
  • Click the Save In: drop-down menu and locate where the file will be saved. Choose 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) to save the file to a floppy disk or Local Disk (C:) to save the file to your computer.
  • Type a name for your file in the File Name: box.
  • Click the Save button.

    The Save As Dialog Box

To save changes made to an existing workbook:

  • Choose FileSave from the menu bar.
  • Click the Save button Save button on the Standard toolbar.

If you're saving the file for the first time and do not choose a file name, Microsoft Excel will assign a file name for you.

It is a good idea to save frequently when working in a spreadsheet. Losing information is never fun! You can quickly save your spreadsheet by using the quick-key combination Ctrl+S.

Opening a workbook

You can open any workbook that has previously been saved and given a name.

To open an existing Excel XP workbook:

  • Choose FileOpen from the menu bar.

    File and Open Menu Selection
  • The Open dialog box opens.

    The Open Dialog Box
  • In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that has the file you want to open.
  • In the folder list, open the folder that contains the file. Once the file is displayed, click the file you want to open.
  • Click the Open button.

Closing a workbook

To close an existing Excel XP workbook:

  • Choose FileClose from the menu bar. The workbook in the Excel window is closed.

    The File and Close Menu Selection

Excel XP will prompt you to save information if anything has been typed between the last save and the time you close the file.


  • Create a new blank file and save as to c:\my documents as "test.xls".
  • Close the file.
  • Open the file.
  • Save the file after making at least one change to it.