Chapter 6

Setting Up Tables in Excel


Understanding how tables are structured

Moving from a list to a table

Looking at the records you’re interested in

Getting your data into an Excel table

Excel is not a database program like Access or SQL Server or Oracle. Sure, you can store data in it, but it’s really not intended to store large amounts of data or to manage relationships between different data sets.

Still, Excel has a rudimentary way, called a list, to store your data, whether it’s sales data or something else. An Excel list is nothing more than data entered in adjacent columns and adjacent rows, such as the range C5:F20. The understanding is that different rows in the list contain different records, and that different columns contain different variables (or fields). The first row in the list often contains the names of the fields.

In Excel 2016, the list still exists in Excel as an informal way of arranging data. But Excel 2007 introduced a new structure called a table. A table is a formal object, as an Excel chart or an Excel worksheet is a formal object. A table has a formal name such as Table1, just as a chart has a formal name such as Chart1. A table knows how many records and fields it contains, just as a worksheet knows where its bottommost-used row and its rightmost-used column are located.

You can convert a simple list to a more sophisticated table with a couple of mouse clicks. Go to the Ribbon’s Insert tab, select at least one cell in an existing ...

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