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In this lesson we're going to look at consolidation, and particularly we're going to look at the Consolidate dialog box that allows you to bring information from multiple pages together on a single page so that you can look at and compare and maybe even chart that data. Let's start by opening up the files that we want to consolidate. Click on the Open command and we'll browse to our Student Folders. We're in Chapter 13 Multiple Worksheets and as you can see we have several employees who have been tracking some expense data here.
Let's select all of these and open them. So we've got DavidR., MarkA., RobertM., and TamaraB.. Open that up and one after another they pop open. Now this is a miniaturized version of an expense sheet, and I've kept it small in order to simplify the process of consolidation. Any of these methods for working with multiple sheets is a time savings in the long run but initially it can take quite a while to set up. To start with, let's go to a blank page, just click New, and there we go, we have a new workbook and we'll go up to Data. You may need to expand this menu to see Consolidate. Let's click Consolidate. Now typically when you're consolidating information you're summing it or adding it together. There are a number of other functions that you can take advantage of here. Today we're going to use some. How you reference other folders all depends on whether the workbooks are open or closed. We just opened up the workbooks for all of our employees which we might assume exists on a server resource. They can access them to input their expense data, and I can access them to consolidate that data. Because they're open in memory on my machine right now, I'm going to use the selection method of applying these references.
To begin, I'll click the Select Reference button and that takes me to a temporary dialog window that allows me to browse to the file I'm looking at. I'll go back to Robert M. and I'm going to click and drag all of his data and more. If you had 15 or 20 records in this sheet already I would suggest that you highlight at least twice as many as you need. That will ensure that you're getting all of the data consolidated together and any variations thereof. So I'm going to select 20. There we go, and again I'll click this button to show that I'm finished selecting and say Add. So now all the information from the January tab of Robert M.'s expense sheet has been added to my consolidation.
I'll do it again, and this time we'll move to Mark A. Again I'm going to select more cells than I require, and Add that to the consolidation, and we'll go and do it to David R. Add that to the consolidation, and last but not least is Tamara B., and we'll add that to the consolidation and now we have information coming from the January tab of all four of our employees, and it's the expense data for those tabs that I'm going to be summing up. Because each of these spreadsheets is formatted exactly the same and they're all using the same labels, we're going to go ahead and use the top and the left column labels in our consolidation sheet. We can also create links to the source data so that any time the source data changes, the next time we open up this workbook it'll tell us that it's changed and offers a chance to update that information which keeps it live. This is a good option for this example, because all of the worksheets exist on a server resource. They're going to stay in place and they're going to be used year after year, January after January. So I'm going to select Create links to source data. We'll say OK and as you can see, it's brought together the information from those four sheets into a single sheet including the totals, and I can now name this tab January. So this is a consolidation of January's data. I would go to Sheet2 and consolidate February, Sheet3 consolidate March, etc., and of course in a real expense summary you're going to have a lot more information to pull together, but with a little care and a little time, this one consolidation sheet will stay as a living document and be a very easy way to manage that information for your employees. To look at some advantages from the living worksheet that we have here, let's go to the Robert M. spreadsheet, and he's found another receipt. Let's bring his meals up from $64 to 92, and when we return to our Book2, this new worksheet that we just created, you'll see that the meals total has updated from 64 to 92.
Consolidating data takes a little bit of time to set up initially but in the long run it's a real timesaver and it'll automate a lot of tasks.
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