Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lists and Tables

A very handy, and often times overlooked, feature that was introduced in the Excel 2003 version is the List (and is subsequently called the Table in later versions).

I have long been a huge fan of using databases for keeping track of, and manipulating complex data. Sometimes, however, a user’s needs are much simpler. In situations where your data is more like a List or Table, the ability to quickly and easily format it for your needs is a real boon. Quite simply, it can save you time and effort!

For instance, let’s say you have small database in Excel 2007 that you wish to convert to a table. It could hardly be easier: Simply select one cell in the database and on the Home Tab go to Format as Table in the Styles grouping. Then choose the Table Style you find creates the Best Look for your table. Once you have clicked on that, you gain the following benefits:

1. Sorting Dropdowns with optional Text Filters are instantly added to your table
2. Your entire table is Formatted in a professional crowd-pleasing style that makes it easier to use.
3. You can Continue to Add Data in the same formatting by selecting the last row and tabbing to enter more rows and data
4. Tables and their categories can add simplification when used as References in other formulas
5. Combining these newly formed Tables with Pivot Tables can create a powerful system that requires barely any work at all!

Lists and Tables can quickly add a little Ease to your life in Excel (and who wouldn’t like a little more Ease in their life…).

Happy Excelling, All!

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