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In Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Curt Frye gives a comprehensive overview of Excel, the full-featured spreadsheet software from Microsoft. The course covers key skills such as manipulating workbook and cell data, using functions, automating actions, printing worksheets, and collaborating with others. Exercise files accompany the course.
Excel tables provide a structure within your workbooks that you can use to store your data. One major benefit of using Excel tables is that you can refer to table columns in your formulas using those table and column names, which makes your formulas easier for you to interpret. Excel Tables consist of rows and columns of data. If you want, you can include an entire column of data in a formula by creating what's called a structured reference to the table column you want to include. To refer to an Excel table and the column in a formula, you need to first find out the table's name.
The way that you do that is by clicking any cell that's part of the Excel table, and then on the Tables tab of the Ribbon, click Rename. When you do, the table's name appears in the Name box, here over on the side. In this case, I've named the table SalesData. So when I press Escape and scroll back up, I can now create my formula, because I know the table's name. So I'll type =, and I want to find the total of all the values in the Sales column, so I'll type Sum, left parenthesis, and then I'll type the name of the table, which is SalesData.
When I type it in, it is displayed in blue, and you can see that the table has been selected, and that's important. You need to do that to check to make sure that you typed in the name of the table correctly. So, that's how you'd refer to the table. To refer to the column, you type a left square bracket, and then you type in the name of the column you want. In this case, it will be Sales. And then you type a right square bracket to close the reference, and you will see that it also turned blue, and that the Sales column is outlined in blue.
To finish entering the Sum formula, I'll type a right parenthesis, hit Return, and you see that Excel has entered the formula. Referring to Excel tables in your formulas makes your formulas easier for you and your colleagues to understand. That could come in handy if you have to come back and use a workbook you haven't visited for quite a while.
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