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If you work with large lists of data or lists that you think are likely to become large, you might want to look into the feature called Tables. You can simplify working with data if you convert Data into a Table. This feature primarily gives you the visual coherence to a data, but also gives you some tabulating enhancements, and allows you to treat your data as an entity, and also, it gives you features that are ideal for dynamic data--lists that are going to grow. You can start this process if you have only a title row and one record stored at that point if you wish.
This is larger list here about 700 rows. Let's take a look at this Table feature. First of all, in this list there are no empty rows, there are no empty columns. There are some empty cells in Column G, and there could be some else where too, that's not the issue. We don't worry about that. But how do we convert this into a Table? On the Home Tab within the Styles Group, you'll see a choice called, Format as Table. Also, on the Insert Tab, we see a choice called, Table. Here, the description is a bit longer. Create a table to organize and analyze related data.
Tables make it easy to sort, filter, and format data within a sheet. Let's make the choice. Excel scopes out the data, give it a quick look there and make sure it's picking up all of your data. In this case it goes down to row 742, columns A through I. Click OK, and its pretty obvious there's a visual change here to the data. Every other row is blue. Furthermore, we've got a new ribbon called Table Tools with a Design Tab. Lots of features here related to, what we might want to do with this Table. Off to the right, we see Table Styles, click the drop arrow.
How about 61 different ways to format this table? We can slide over various choices here and decide which color we want. Maybe we'll change our minds later too. We'll just pick one of these. Another obvious visual difference to our data is that we see Filter arrows in each column. Now that could be a feature that you're not familiar with yet but if you find those arrows obtrusive, you could go into the Design Tab and simply uncheck the Filter button. Recognize something else-- as I start to scroll here, I'm using the mouse wheel-- keep an eye on row one and the column letters above it. What's happened? The column letters have disappeared and the Field names, the column headings now appear at the top.
It might be able disconcerting at first, but I think that's what you might want. Are the column letters that important to you? So as we scroll up and down, unless we're at the very top of the list, we don't see the column letters. The emphasis is on the data itself. Recognize too that in the Design Tab, we currently have the feature called, Banded Rows on. You might want to uncheck that. There's another choice, a similar choice called Banded Columns. Let's choose that. Maybe that's the look you prefer. Recognize here too that if you go into Table Styles and slide over the choices, you're seeing Banded Column, look right now, so that adjusted the fact that you've chosen Banded Columns.
You don't want to choose these together probably because it looks a little bit strange. I want to stick with Banded Rows. You might want to give special emphasis to column A. Usually, what that means is it will make it bold and sometimes, it will apply some colors as well, so I'm going to choose first column and see what's happened there. If that's a bit much, you might go back to Table Styles. Recognize that a number of the choices here do use a color in that first column but some don't. So pick the style that you like best. Now, in addition to this, and maybe again, you're not too familiar with Filtering, you might want to add something called Slicers.
I'm going to zoom back just a little bit here so we can make a room for these. This is a feature that you might be familiar with if you've used the Pivot Tables. On the Insert Tab, you'll see a choice called, Slicer. You can use a Slicer with Tables. You can't use it with the regular Excel Data, and you can use them with Pivot Tables as well. I'm going to use Slicer here. What do we see? The names of our fields, now here's what we're heading into, whether you are familiar with Filtering or not, you might want to see at a certain time, just the Full-Time people, or maybe just the Full and a Half-Time people, or maybe people from just certain Departments.
Let's choose Status and Departments, and we might later change our minds and come back and add some more fields-- we can do that at anytime--but by clicking OK now, we're going to see Slicer panels for Department and Status-- there they are, right there. That's larger than it needs to be, so I'll just grab the corner--do that sort of thing. With Department, we have got about 20 Departments or so here. Look in the ribbon. We've got a Slicer Tools ribbon with an Options Tab. We could show this as three columns and there are lots of other features here to make this a bit wider and we can see those names better.
We don't really have to see them all just for now, but here's the idea--we've got our data here and whether you're familiar with Filtering or not, that's not the issue--but if you say, for example, "I want to see just the Full-Time people", in the Slicer panel for Status, let's click Full-Time. There we are and we're only seeing Full-Time people. In the left side of the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen, it says that we're viewing 393 of 741 records. Suppose we want to see the Half-Time people as well. We'll use the Control key to click Half- Time and that means we'll be keeping the choice Full-Time as well.
Now, we've got Full-Time and Half-Time, that's 489 people. The red X up here, by the way does not mean get rid of the Slicer, it simply means, don't use the Filter. In effect, let's show all of them, so I'll click the red X, now reviewing all the statuses. If we only want to view the people within certain Departments, we'll click a certain department, for example, Quality Assurance, and we see 73 records there. If there's a consecutive set here, we'll use the Shift key, as I'm about to use here and we'll see the Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and the Research Center People, all together.
I'm using the Shift key now to click Research Center, and now we're seeing people from those three departments. Here too, you can use the Control key to select others as well, while keeping these here. This gives you new insight into your data as well. Now I'm going to move this aside because sometimes the data you're working with grows. It might grow in the right-hand side or grow on the bottom, and when it does, the Table feature automatically expands the data we're dealing with. Now ideally, what it should do is show all the data, but we don't even have to worry about that.
In cell J1, I'm typing New Salary and look at what happens when I press Enter. That column is now part of the Table. Let's show all the data here and we can do that by clicking the red X in the Department Slicer panel and also Status, we're seeing all of them anyway. I'm going to write a simple formula here in J2, =H2+2000. In other words everybody is going to get $2,000 more on the salary, but look what happens when I press Enter. The formula has automatically copied to the bottom of the list. Now, if we go to the bottom of the list and we want to add a new record, all we need to do is type in the name, fill in some of the data.
Recognize though that the bottom row is now a part of the Table. You can tell by its coloring scheme. Now, I'll just put in, for example, a starting date and maybe put in a salary over here, we won't worry about the other fields just yet, so we've added a record at the bottom. Another feature working with Tables that can be helpful too, and initially, it might seem like it's obtrusive. On the Design Tab, when you got the active cell within the data, you might want to choose Total Row. Look what happens at the bottom here.
That puts in a total. Now, maybe that total isn't that interesting to us, we'd rather do an average, so here's a drop arrow, we can choose Average, and we might want to do that over here too. I'll drag it over here. Obviously, on some situations we don't want anything. We can delete that. We might want to do averages for all of these or possibly totals. Maybe you'll change your mind and want to do totals on this one. That's fine. We'll choose Sum, total number of years of service within the company. Now, what happens if we'd like this feature and like to see it updated at the bottom? What happens if we want to add a new name? Momentarily, disable the Total Row.
Add a new name out here. Fill in a little bit of data here, good enough for now. Now, going back to the Design Tab, let's bring back the Total Row and there it is, and it has recognized the additional data, and has updated our totals too, so you can work with the data that way. I think you can see some of the advantages here of working with these data as a Table. Although, it's beyond the scope of this particular movie, if you're working with charts and the data is growing, perhaps you update a chart each month by adding new monthly data, if the data you're working with, if the source data for the chart is a Table, the chart will automatically expand if you add new data on the right side or bottom of the Table.
Now, there could be times when you no longer want your data treated as a Table. Now, I would hope that's not the case-- I'm going to press Control+Home to go back to the top-- but you can turn-off the feature too. The idea here might be maybe you just started with it, somehow you think maybe the data you're working with isn't appropriate for a Table or maybe you're not quite familiar with some of the Table features. You do have the option on the Design Tab to make the choice over in the Tools Group--Convert to Range. Do you want to convert the table to a normal range? If you choose Yes, this is no longer a Table.
Now, the coloring scheme still resides here. If you want to keep that, that's fine. If you want to get rid of it, you'll just have to select the data and get rid of some of those features. This is a feature, by the way, that does fall into the category of those actions that you could undo and redo. Maybe I just change my mind now. I'm going to press Control Z to undo the fact that I'd converted that away from a Table, and now it's a Table again. So I think it's a potentially really interesting feature. It does allow you to treat your data as an entity. You have the Slicer capability here to do filtering and it allows the data to grow both on the right side and on the bottom.
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