542 ofﬁce x for macintosh: the missing manual
Excel then asks you where in the spreadsheet you want to put the information that it
downloads from the Web (this modest dialog box calls itself Returning External
Data to Microsoft Excel). After you select a location and click OK, Excel connects to
the Internet, downloads the information, and inserts it into the spreadsheet.
Note: Excel may ask you if you want to accept cookies while importing Web-based data. (Cookies are
small text ﬁles that Web sites place on your hard drive as preference ﬁles.) Excel, Entourage, and Internet
Explorer all share a common cookies ﬁle; Excel is simply obeying the cookie-alert messages you’ve set up
using the preferences settings in Internet Explorer.
Importing Data from a Text File
Databases and the World Wide Web both make great data sources, but sometimes
you just want to pull some information out of a text ﬁle and into your Excel worksheet.
Here’s how to do it.
Choose Data→Get External Data→Import Text File; in the resulting Open dialog
box, navigate to, and double-click, the text ﬁle that you want to import. The Text
Import Wizard walks you through a three-step process to bring the data from the
text ﬁle into the currently open worksheet.
Opening the Excel Toolbox
Like a good piece of Swiss Army Software, Excel provides tools that go beyond the
basics. Using features like PivotTables, Scenarios, and Goal Seeking, Excel lets you
look at your data in new and interesting ways.
Making a PivotTable
A PivotTable is a special spreadsheet entity that helps summarize data into an easy-
to-read table. You can rotate the table’s rows and columns (thus the name PivotTable)
to achieve different views on your data. PivotTables let you quickly plug different
sets of numbers into a table; Excel does the heavy lifting of arranging the data for
PivotTables are useful when you want to see how different but related totals com-
pare, such as how a retail store’s sales per department, category of product, and
salesperson relate. They let you build complicated tables on the ﬂy by dragging vari-
ous categories of data into a pre-made template. PivotTables are especially useful
when you have a large amount of data to wade through, partially because Excel
takes care of subtotals and totals for you.
Here’s how to create a PivotTable from data in an Excel sheet.
Step 1: Choose the data source
Suppose, for example, that you’re a TV advertiser trying to decide which cable TV
cult-hit show should be the beneﬁciary of your advertising dollars. You have a spread-
sheet that shows three days’ worth of data on ﬁve different shows (such as each