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In Excel 2010: Data Validation in Depth, author Dennis Taylor shows how to use the data validation tools in Excel to control how users can input data into workbooks and ensure data is entered consistently and accurately. The course covers creating dropdown lists, preventing duplicate entries, and controlling the format of numeric data, dates and times, and text entered into worksheets. Exercise files are included with the course.
As you work with certain worksheets, you may encounter a validation rule and you didn't know it was there. For example, I might click in column C3 here. Now, I haven't put in the person's name yet, nor the department, but I'm going to put in his salary right now, and it's 102,000. And I type this, and I get a message. And the message doesn't tell me what's wrong with it or anything, so I'm a little concerned about that. It raises the larger question, are there other data validation criteria in place in this worksheet, and how do we find them? And with it this worksheet has many, many more columns? You would want to know where data validation exists.
There are two easy approaches to it. On the Home tab, the rightmost button, Find & Select, click it, and here is a choice that says Data Validation. When you make this choice, it highlights all cells in the current worksheet that have a data validation rule. Now it's up to you to figure them out. Possibly, although certainly not in this case, adjacent columns might have the same rule. Certainly not here. But it looks as if, as is often the case, there's a data validation rule for column A, column C, and column D. The next step often is, for the particular column in question, say in column C, right-click on one of the entries and just in column C, click on just one of the entries in column C, and then on the Data tab, jump into Data Validation to see what the rule is.
All the entries here have some kind of a restriction. It says, the maximum salary here is 99999. So the 102,000 wasn't accepted and now we know why. If you do have a worksheet with many, many different cells with data validation and sometimes they are ranges that are not necessarily in sync with columns and rows, sometimes what you'll want to do after clicking on a cell is say, I want to know which other cells have the same rule as this one? Again, logic usually rules here, but another approach to this is to click the Home tab and then go to Find & Select, but this time choose Go To Special.
And here's a choice called Data validation at the bottom. There are two choices here. By clicking Same, what we're saying is, let's highlight all the other cells in this worksheet that have the same data validation criteria as the current cell. Now, many times this is obvious, but not always. Click OK here, and sure enough, we are expecting all of these cells here have the same data validation criteria as the cell in question. And from there we could then go to Data > Data Validation and look at the rule in place.
These cells here work off of a pick list over from column M, and cell D1 is not part of the list, as it sometimes could be. Two ways to check out where data validation cells exist in a worksheet and where necessary, to see which other cells have the same data validation criteria as the current cell does.
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