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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.
In this worksheet, there is a data validation rule established for column B. Now, if you're not the person who has set up a data validation criterion, you don't always know that they're going to happen, and when you see them sometimes you are a little bit surprised. I am going to put in a salary here for Alicia Franklin of $105,000, and when I press Enter, I get a message that says it's not valid. But I don't really have a clue as to what the limits of this are. I see that there's some kind of rule. Well, one option here is to just cancel this, and with that active cell in place, go to the Data tab, choose Data Validation--and actually just click the button itself--and you will see the rule for that particular cell.
This, by the way, doesn't point out or tell us which other cells have the same criteria. We can see here that the salaries must be whole numbers between 30 and 90,000 inclusively, and I tried to type in a larger number. That didn't work. Now, what if we were to alert people ahead of time so that anytime someone clicked in one of these cells in this particular column that they got an input message? Let's cancel here and reconsider, and let's act as if we were the ones setting this up now. In column B, this is where the data validation is already existing.
Let's go to the Data Validation button and choose Input Message. And what this is going to give us ultimately is a pop-up box anytime we click on one of the cells in column B. So the input message could be fairly straightforward. Put it in your own words. It must be between 30,000 and 90,000, and you probably want to put commas in there as well to make it more readable. You don't necessarily need a title, but a word like caution, reminder, warning, something along those lines, as you choose. You don't need a colon, but that makes it look a little bit nicer.
Click OK. So, what happens now? Well, there you see it. Anytime we click here, click there, it looks like I put my commas on the wrong place, but that's easily adjusted. You see what's happening. So, that certainly tells the user what the restrictions are, and it's fast and easy to set up: an input message for data validation.
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