Microsoft Excel has a number of features
that make it easy to manage and analyze data in a list. To take advantage of
these features, enter data in a list according to the following guidelines.
Organizing A List
- Use only one list per worksheet. Avoid having more than one
list on a worksheet. Some list management features, such as filtering,
can be used on only one list at a time.
- Put similar items in one column. Design the list so
that all rows have similar items in the same column.
- Keep the list separate. Leave at least one blank column
and one blank row between the list and other data on the worksheet. Excel
can then more easily detect and select the list when you sort, filter, or
insert automatic subtotals.
- Position critical data above or below the list. Avoid
placing critical data to the left or right of the list; the data might be
hidden when you filter the list.
- Show rows and columns. Make sure any hidden rows or
columns are displayed before making changes to the list. When rows and columns
in a list are not showing, data can be deleted inadvertently.
Formatting A List
- Use formatted column labels. Create column labels in
the first row of the list. Excel uses the labels to create reports and to
find and organize data. Use a font, alignment, format, pattern, border, or
capitalization style for column labels that is different from the format you
assign to the data in the list. Format the cells as text before you type the
column labels. (Format, Cells, Number tab, Text.)
- Use cell borders. When you want to separate labels from
data, use cell borders - not blank rows or dashed lines - to insert
lines below the labels
- Avoid blank rows and columns. Avoid putting blank rows
and columns in the list so that Excel can more easily detect and select the
- Don't type leading or trailing spaces. Extra spaces
at the beginning or end of a cell affect sorting and searching. Instead of
typing spaces, indent the text within the cell.
- Extend list formats and formulas. When you add new rows of
data to the end of a list, Excel uses consistent formatting and formulas.
Three of the five preceding cells must use the same format or formula for
this to occur.