Join Dennis Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring data entry and editing techniques, part of Excel 2013 Essential Training.
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Entering data into cells, typing data is one of the most basic things you do in Excel. There are certain rules and restrictions, regarding how Excel treats data. Let's imagine that we want to keep track of data for a six-month period for a small business that we're starting. We're only going to need a few columns, so let's use the Zoom Slider Bar--in the lower right-hand corner in the Status Bar--to zoom in. We've got plenty of room on the screen. In cell A2, and we can click there with the mouse or use the arrow keys to get there, we're about to type the word "Sales". Type it.
We complete the entry of a cell by pressing Enter or Tab or any of the four Arrow Keys. If you press Enter, the active cell moves down into the next cell below it, if you press Tab, it moves to the right. I'm about to put the word "Expenses" below this. I'll press Enter. As I'm typing "Expenses", I make a mistake. What do I do? Backspace. Not left arrow, backspace. After completing this I realized I've typed it the way the British and the Canadians type it with a "C", so I want change it.
Do I need to erase this? No. Simply type right over it, so very often you'll find yourself not erasing or deleting contents of cells, but simply typing over these. Furthermore, I've decided I want to use the word "Overhead". Enter. And then "Profits". Let's say I make a mistake, but I don't catch it right away. Press Enter. Obviously, that's a misspelling. I want to make a change. How do we edit a cell? Couple different ways, click the cell and then possibly click in the Formula Bar, near where the problem is.
I click in front or after the "G". If I click in front of it, I can press Delete, get rid of the "G" or click after it, I can press backspace, putting the letter "F" after doing that. Another way, I think it's better much of the time, and you don't necessarily have to select the cell first, but what if I had typed this and I pressed Enter-- active cells down here--I see that I've got a problem. I want to do editing by double-clicking, particularly, if you've zoomed in and this is a lot larger than what you see up above in the formula bar, simply double-click near where you want to make the change.
I'm going to double-click in front of the "G" right there. Type the letter "F". Press Delete to get rid of the "G" and press Enter. Now, text entries are automatically aligned in the left side of a cell. Much of the time, you'll just keep it that way. Later, we'll show you how you might want to center this data or line it up on the right-hand side. Let's imagine that we want to put in some numbers here. Now, on purpose here and maybe I forgot that I had Caps Lock on, but imagine what would happen if I type 120, I just happen to press "O". It's right next to zero on the keyboard, so that's an easy typo.
I don't think much of that. I want to move rightward, so I'll press Tab. Now, that's 12O. The reason it's left aligned, is because it's not a complete number. Two of those entries are numbers, but as long as there is a non-number in there, Excel says in effect, "this is text, I line it up on the left-hand side". In the next cell I want to type 160--and that's what a zero looks like--and when they're together you can see the obvious difference. If I press Tab now, what happens? Numbers are automatically lined up on the right side.
That's a general rule and we'd learned that back in the second grade--line up your numbers on the right side before adding or subtracting or multiplying--good idea, keep it that way. There will be occasions when you're working with numbers like ID numbers, where it wouldn't hurt to center them, but as a general rule, as a general concept, keep numbers right aligned. Now, we want to make a change here, we see the obvious problem--double-click behind the "O", Backspace, zero, Tab to the right--there we go and I'll just type in some other numbers here.
Here's a 210, press Tab, 250 press Tab, 325 press Tab, and 440. As I press Enter, automatically brings us back to the next row and just a few more numbers here. These are all numbers and they're going to be right aligned and no typos here. Occasionally, you might use the letter "L". It sort of looks like a 1, but it doesn't really. You'll have the same issue that you had with zeros (0s) and "O"s. So, I've got 100, 130, 160 each time tab.
So we've seen data entry. It's basic and the whole idea of changing these anytime, we can type right over the entries or in some cases, we edit the cells. Keep in mind the basic idea, Text is left aligned, numbers are right aligned.
- What is Excel and what is it used for?
- Using the menus
- Working with dates and times
- Creating simple formulas
- Formatting fonts, row and column sizes, borders, and more
- Inserting shapes, arrows, and other graphics
- Adding and deleting rows and columns
- Hiding data
- Moving, copying, and pasting
- Sorting and filtering data
- Printing your worksheet
- Securing your workbooks
- Tracking changes