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Microsoft Excel. Lists have for a long time been a very useful and powerful feature inside of Microsoft Excel, and in Excel 2003 lists have been further enhanced with designated lists. The difference between a traditional list and a designated list is subtle, but I think you'll find it useful nonetheless, Lists are something that I've used both personally and professionally. The example that we're going to look at here is something that leans towards the personal, but it'll be an excellent way for us to look at all the features of lists, understand how to use them and organize them, and it can be applied inside or outside of the office. Let's browse to our Student Files and we'll take a look at Chapter four. Let's open up the file called Movie List. Now here's a brief list of movies that may exist inside your collection, and as you can see each movie has three different categories to help describe the genre, and a year to help distinguish a movie that may have been remade. This short list of movies represents an easy list and to your eye we can look at it easily and say, that's a list. To Microsoft Excel it's just a collection of data, nothing unique about the spreadsheet is made it a list yet. When you're working with lists inside of Microsoft Excel it's very similar to working with a two dimensional database. For those of you who are familiar with databases, you'll recognize the terms record and field. Every row inside of this list is similar to a record. It completely describes the movie for our purposes. Every cell inside of a row could be considered a field. To clue in Microsoft Excel that this group of data is actually a list that we want to organize and sort and use to keep track of these movies, we have to perform some list function. We could simply define it as a list, but in Microsoft Excel 2003 that's going to jump straight into designated lists, and we want to save that for a little bit. So let's apply a Sort as our first action. First of all we need to select the entire range. Then we'll go up to our Data menu. The Data menu contains almost every feature that applies to lists within Microsoft Excel, and in this case I'm going to click Sort. The Sort dialog box that comes up, first of all allows us to define a Header row. You can see down here that we can either say I have a header or my titles, or I have no header. In this case we do so I'll leave that box checked. We can sort by Title, Category, 2nd Category, 3rd Category, or Year. In other words, any column within our list. For our key, for our primary information to be sorted, we're going to sort it alphabetically by title. To distinguish between one movie or another that may have the same title, we'll also sort by year. Let's click OK, and now you can see, let me just click away from that to deselect, and now you can see the entire list has been sorted alphabetically. All of the category information that was associated with each one of the titles has remained in that record. In other words, the movie Chicago still knows it's a Musical, Comedy, Drama and that it was published in the year 2002. That information has not gone out of alignment. In other words it's maintained the records of information, all five cells have been linked into one unit of data. When I originally created this list, I simply began typing information into Excel and organizing it column by column in a way that made sense to me visually. And as I said before, you and I can look at this and recognize it as a list very easily. Microsoft Excel however needed some clue, and now it has that clue. That we've sorted this area of the spreadsheet has clued in Microsoft Excel that this is a list and now we can perform other special functions. For example I may want to enter new data into this list by simply selecting the first available row and begin typing, but Microsoft Excel provides us with an even more convenient way of doing. If you go back up to your Data menu, you can click on the word Form, and as you can see we have a dialog that appears using the title data that we have, or the header row, to describe each field that we need to enter. Now I'm using more database terminology, but it really does apply to our lists. We can search through the information that we already have in our list. We can find next, Find Next and it will continue to move down our list describing each one of the movies that are currently there. We can also see how many movies we have in total in our list, and when we're ready to enter new data, we simply click New.
Let's type in something that's a little more current. And Category, all the categories that might describe this movie. Action, that definitely describes that movie, and the year that it was published. I'm going to go ahead and hit Enter, and I'm ready to enter another record into my list. You can already see that the record, we just entered has been added to list. I'm going to close that. Now I can select this again, go up to Data > Sort and it sorts that new record into position within our list.
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