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If you want to work with a database type of list efficiently or if you want to set up a new list with a minimum amount of difficulty, you might want to consider using Excel's Table feature. It was new in Excel 2007; it's actually the successor to the older feature called List, which was not so well implemented. This data here could look better; it could be easier to work with if we convert it into a Table. The next sheet over actually is the same data, but it has been converted into a Table. The first obvious difference is every other row is highlighted that makes it easier to read.
As I'm scrolling here notice what's happening to the titles, now do you really care what the column letters are? Now you might, but on the other hand the Table emphasizes the idea that we've got field names that third column, whether it's column C or not it contains Department information that's the pertinent fact about that data. If it somehow bothers you and you do want to see the column letters simply apply the frozen titles feature, go to the View tab>Freeze Panes, Freeze that Top Row.
Now there are other features related to Tables, one is filters are automatically in place that also means we can Sort the data quickly and easily, and anytime we use any of the database like features here, we don't need to highlight all the data. The Table concept treats our data as an entity and as we'll see, as we add rows and columns or new data to the right below everything will stay together intact, so there are some real advantages. Sometimes you want to start creating a list and you've got no data whatsoever, so on Sheet1 I do have a little bit of data just some titles, I might want to start by turning this into a Table as well, same idea.
Now the way we convert data into a Table can actually be done four different ways, we can start with a keystroke shortcut Ctrl+T think of T for Table or Ctrl+L, L for list, more likely is the Insert tab and choose Table, now the active cells right there in the midst of that single title row, so we can start from here. Now as we type data in here, for example, I'll just put in the name here. I might not even have my other data to the right available yet, now I am going to put in name here and so on that becomes part of the Table automatically, we don't have to worry about that.
So that you can start to see some advantages here, obviously, we don't enough data yet to do filtering, but the filter arrows are there waiting for us to use this. If we look at our original data that we first saw over here, this sheet here, or possibly data like this or possibly ScientificData, in all the cases here we might want to consider using this Table concept. This is ScientificData, pretty dry stuff, it won't even fit into our fields, sometimes it wants us to jump out a little bit, make it little more readable and usable.
Let's turn it into a Table Insert Table, OK, Excel nearly always figures out your data accurately, a quick look at that, you should do each time. Make sure if your Table has headers and it probably does, you want the box checked, click OK, it's a lot more readable than it was before. We can work with the data better. So as we've seen, you can easily convert existing data into a Table, you can start with just a minimum amount of information and create a Table. The advantages are primarily going to be visual, but as we'll see, there are some additional features that make working with your data much, much more efficient if you convert it into a Table.
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