Category Archives: 816Computers

Excel Timetable – part 1 (816)

With the new school schedule to get used to, I thought it might be good to revisit our first assignment from last year, but do it in a new and interesting way. Again you’ll create a copy of your class schedule (or perhaps the schedule of your dreams) but we’ll use a different program this time, Microsoft Excel.

Excel is usually used more for math formulas and graphs and stuff (which we’ll get to later) but you can also use it to design your timetable.

Here’s a sample of my finished schedule for 605

Here’s your class schedule:

I like mine to look like this:

There are a *few* paper copies of your timetable in a black binder at the front of the room. Ask to borrow the one for your class if you like, but you need to take care of it and put it back!

You may, of course, change your classes to be whatever you want (eat, sleep, Fortnite, etc.) but I think it might be useful to make a realistic one.

You can see the first set of steps for setting up your timetable in the video below. If you are going to watch, USE HEADPHONES and WATCH A BIT AT A TIME. Stop the video when I complete a step and go do that step before playing the video again.

Step By Step:

Open Excel either by opening the Windows menu at the bottom left and scrolling to Excel

Or use the search bar and type in excel

The first time you use the program you might see a license agreement. Click Accept

Blah, blah, blah… Close

Choose the option to create a Blank workbook

The first step in any project is to SAVE!

Click the File menu at the top left (or click Ctrl + S)

Save As because we’ll be changing the name and the location

Click Browse to pick the perfect spot for your file

Two places you can save your file. If you’ve got OneDrive set up and RUNNING on your computer (your cloud is blue), you should save your file in your OneDrive folder

If not, you can always save in Documents

Call it Timetable

Click Save 

And now you’ll see at the top of your document that it’s saved with the proper name:

When we did this last year in Word, we had to set up our page and then instert a table. Well, Excel takes care of that for us. The page is as big as we want it to be and there’s already a massive table just waiting.

Each box is called a CELL.

At the top of your screen you see your COLUMNs (verticle, labelled with letters)

At the side, you see your ROWs (horizontal, labelled with numbers

You’ll put a title across the top. You should select the CELLS in ROW 1, COLUMNS A to K

Select those CELLS by either clicking in A and holding your mouse down to DRAG across to K OR Click in A then hold SHIFT and click in K

We want all of those 11 cells to be one wide cell. On the ribbon above your CELLS you will see a button that looks like this:

Click that and it will join all of the cells together and center the text, even though we don’t have any text in the cell yet.

If we start typing in the cell, we’ll be using the boring, horrible default font and size

YUCK! How BORING! You should ALWAYS CHOOSE YOUR OWN FONT! If we change it now, though, only the cell(s) selected will change and we’ll have to change the rest later. Save a step and change EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

Up in the top left corner of your table, there’s an empty cell between 1 and A. Click that to highlight the entire spreadsheet

Now if you make a change to the font and size, you won’t have to worry about it later because everything will be changed. You will still make some changes later, but most of our text will look like this, or at the very least we won’t have to see that boring, horrible default font.

This is what I chose, but you should choose something that:

Now we can start entering our information. You’ll notice that when you click on a cell, up above there’s something called the Formula Bar. Everything you type goes into there and you’ll see it in the cell. So I have A1 selected and I’m going to type in my title

Down below that, we’ll SKIP A2 and start typing in our periods

You’ll notice that they aren’t quite fitting, but that’s OK. We’ll fix that in a minute, but you should keep entering your information.

Some of the information will look like it’s going into two cells:

but if you click on E2, you’ll see that there’s actually nothing in that cell and you can enter the next period there

It’ll start to look a bit messy, but keep going.

Once you’ve got them all typed in, we can start to widen the columns to make the information fit.

Between two Column letters (like C and D in the image below) you can click that line and drag it to the left or right to resize.

OR, even BETTER, you can just CLICK that line and it will automatically adjust the size to fit whatever is in the column

Some of the columns get really wide though (Morning and Afternoon Break). I don’t like that. I prefer to have the two words go on separate lines.

Select D2 (Morning Break)

Then look up above on the Ribbon for a button called Wrap Text. Click that

Now if you drag the line between D and E to the left to narrow the column, the word Break should jump to a second line

If it doesn’t, you may need to adjust the depth of the ROW. Again, between two ROW numbers, you can click and drag to adjust

After that, Morning Break will look much better

Do the same thing for Afternoon Break

Now you can see that the words aren’t centered and all of the text is sitting on the bottom of the box.

Again, select everything by clicking the box at the top left, between 1 and A

And look on the ribbon for two justification buttons, horizontal and vertical

You may have to click each button TWICE because not all of our cells are the same (we centered A1 already)

But once you have both buttons in the middle

That row will look much better 



** From time-to-time as you work, make sure you SAVE YOUR WORK! **

Easiest method is to press Ctrl + S

OR press the little save icon at the top left corner  

Or open the File menu

and press Save  



In row 3 we will put the times for each period and break. Again, skip column A and put the times below each period/break

Again, they don’t really fit properly. I like to WRAP that TEXT as well. You can select all of those cells by clicking in the ROW number: 3

That should do the trick. I got really picky and got rid of the first space before the hyphen (you DO NOT have to do this if you don’t want to)

So mine looks like this:

The last thing you have to set up before filling your schedule in is the school days along the left

Here’s one of the many cool things that Excel can do:

Type in Day 1 in row 4

At the bottom left of the cell there is a tiny little box. That’s called a FILL HANDLE. If you pull that handle, Excel applies a similar formula (or same text) to other cells. Click it and pull down

Excel will count for you!

Of course, that’s way too many, so just go from row 4 to row 9

now just fill in the text for your class or make up your own schedule if you like!

PowerPoint Quiz – Step 1: Setup

Finally, we’ll take a look at a super common program, which I kind of hate.

One of the first programs that people tend to play around with is PowerPoint. You’ve surely made them for presentations or projects in other classes. The problem with PowerPoint, and the reason I hate it so much is that it’s too easy and everybody uses it horribly. You can get started really easily and make a presentation that you think looks lovely but usually, they’re not actually very good.

Most of the time, people don’t have a clue just how much PowerPoint can do. We’ll create a project that shows you some of the many, many options available in PowerPoint, and I’ll encourage you to play with the program and discover new possibilities and capabilities.

You’re going to create a simple multiple-choice quiz on a topic of your choice. The idea is to teach someone about something that you know. If you know a lot about hockey or cars or BTS, feel free to make a quiz about that. If you aren’t an expert on something like that, an easy topic that you’re guaranteed to know a lot about is yourself!

Choose a topic and start by figuring out what your questions will be. Have an organized quiz that makes some sort of sense. You will have ONE slide that tells people that they’ve gotten the answer wrong and directs them back to try the question again (mine is a little bit different but would take more work, so you shouldn’t do that the same as me.)

Each of your questions will have a slide telling the viewer that the answer is correct, and it should provide a bit more information about the question. That slide will direct the viewer to the next question.

You can view my example here.


Start by opening PowerPoint

Choose Blank Presentation!

I know you’re tempted to choose one of the fancy templates, but DON’T!


The first thing to do as always, is to SAVE your file

Either click the Save button

or go into the File menu and choose Save

The best way to go is to choose Browse

and make sure your file goes into your Documents folder

What’s your quiz about? Call it THAT! Mine’s about me, so I’m calling it Robson Quiz. If yours is about hockey, call it Hockey Quiz, etc.

Press Save


That first blank slide is set up to be a title slide with a box for the title and a subtitle

Fill in your Quiz title in the title box and your name in the subtitle box

You can add new slides for your questions with the New Slide button. You can change the layout of the slide if you wish by clicking the triangle and choosing a different layout. For this project, I usually just choose either Title Slide or Title and Content. Content with Caption would also work if you want pictures on your slides.


The MOST IMPORTANT thing for you to do is to get your questions figured out and those slides created. Normally I’d get you to do those before you do any work prettying things up, but you can save yourself a bit of work by copying slides, so I’ll demonstrate some of those steps now.


IMPORTANT: Always change your font! I WILL take off marks if I spot Calibri on any of your slides, so take the time to change the font EVERYWHERE!


To change that plain, boring, white background, go into the Design menu/tab:

Again, you’ll see some fancy, pretty options and you’ll want to click those. DON’T!!!

Instead, choose Format Background

There are plenty of ways to change that background on your slides

The first one is Solid fill, which fills the background with a solid colour

Choose any colour you like. Go ahead, it’s FUN!

Next you could choose Gradient fill. That’s a fun one

That creates a background where colours kind of blend together. It comes up with this blend from white to blue:

But you should customize it and choose your own colours!

It comes up with 4 little bookmarks that can be customized. You can click on each of those little pointers and choose a new colour

If you don’t need 4 colours there (and really, why would you?), you can delete one by clicking the little pointer with a red X on it:

You can choose your colours and move the little pointers around as much as you like to customize your gradient:

Next you could choose Picture or texture fill. This is a really fun one…

You can, if you wish, find your own HIGH QUALITY picture to put in the background OR click Online… and look for one (recommended)

These ones are even Creative Commons, so you can legally use them without stealing anything!

Choose from one of the many categories of photos:

Choose a photo you like

and click Insert

But there’s a PROBLEM with using photos in the background! They make your text REALLY hard to read, so you have to do some work to fix that!


The first way to fix it is by changing the colour of the text (and don’t forget to change that Font if you haven’t!):

You may also wish to move your text around to a better part of the photo by clicking on the edge of the text box and moving it.

You could also fill in the text box to make your text MUCH easier to read. Click on the text box:

and choose Format

You could change the Shape Fill

While you’re at it, why not change the Shape Outline

You might also wish to change the Weight (thickness) of the outline

Another cool way of making your slide look great is by properly centering everything. If you select a text box (or shape or picture or anything else)

You could also choose Arrange and then have the program put the box/shape/picture right in the middle of the page horizontally:

or vertically

You could even select your Title box, hold down Shift, and select the subtitle (name) box and Align the two items together


You may also wish to add some pictures on top of your slides. The photos in the background can make the text hard to read and the text on top makes the pictures hard to see, so sometimes it’s better to have your photos beside the text instead of under it.

Just like in Word, you could download a photo off of the Internet and could Insert it onto your slide. As with before, make sure that you are downloading good quality images if you are going to do things this way.

Even better than that, you could use the Online Pictures that we explored for your slide background. These ones have a couple of benefits. These ones are guaranteed to be good quality, and these ones are ones that you have permission to use as you want. Most photos you download from the internet are copyrighted and you could potentially get into trouble for using them, but the ones in the Online Pictures library are licensed for you to use, so go ahead!

You can go into the Insert menu/tab and click Online Pictures

And then explore the same categories as before

You can also insert little icon images which can be kind of fun. These might make neat buttons for you to use to click on to advance your slides

again there are different categories to explore

Something new that’s pretty fun is that you can add 3D models to your slides now as well. Some of them are even animated, so they move when you’re looking at your slideshow.

Remember to only use these if they make sense with the content on your slide. For me, adding an astronaut would make absolutely no sense with anything in my quiz, so I wouldn’t keep it, but just to show you:

Because it’s 3D, you can rotate it around to position it however you like, and this one is animated, so the astronaut kind of floats on the slide.


In order for the viewer to navigate through your show, they will need some kind of button to click on to advance to the next slide.

In the Insert menu/tab, click on Shapes


TWO choices: (YOU DO NOT NEED BOTH, just one)

  1. Choose an arrow or shape that will represent your “Next” button

Click and drag out to draw the shape

Take the time to go into Format and change the Shape Fill and Shape Outline

You should also let people know what the shape is for, so you should add a text box and let them know that they need to click the shape to advance



The other option is to choose something called an Action Button

When you choose an Action Button, it’s automatically set up to link to another slide or address. We’ll go into this later, so just ignore that box for now.

Don’t forget to customize the Shape Fill/Outline


Your second slide should look different than the first. Please choose a different background or change the look of your text boxes, buttons, etc.

You may either create a new slide

Or you may duplicate the first slide and make significant changes.

To duplicate a slide, you can either right-click on it and choose Duplicate Slide

Or go into the Insert menu, click the triangle below New Slide, and choose Duplicate Selected Slides


The two slides should look different

The second slide basically tells people what they are looking at/doing.


From there, you just need to add at least 5 slides with multiple choice questions. Give each question at least 3 different options as answers. These slides DO NOT NEED a shape or button, because people will have to click on the answers to proceed.

Come up with 5 creative, interesting, and fun questions for yourself!

You also need ONE slide that tells people they got the wrong answer. There will be a button on this slide that will allow the viewer to go back and try again, so feel free to add text that says “Try Again” or something like that

You also need a “Right” answer slide for every question. You need at least 5 questions, so at least 5 slides like this. This slide will direct people to answer the next question.

NOTE: It’s fun for me to learn a bit more about you by doing this, so if you want to add a little bit of information or an explanation to your “Correct” slides, please do so! Tell me a bit more about yourself!

The last slide will tell people that the quiz is over and offer them the option to either quit or try again

Make sure you SAVE your work and move on to Step 2!