Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 16: Importing and
Cleaning Data
In This Chapter
• Ways to import data into Excel
• Many techniques to manipulate and clean data
• Using the new Fill Flash feature
• A checklist for data cleaning
• Exporting data to other formats
One very common use for Excel is as a tool to “clean up” data. Cleaning up data involves getting raw data into a
worksheet, and then manipulating it so it conforms to various requirements. In the process, the data will be made
consistent so that it can be properly analyzed.
This chapter describes various ways to get data into a worksheet and also provides some tips to help you clean it
up.
A Few Words about Data
Data is everywhere. For example, if you run a website, you're collecting data continually, and you may not even
know it. Every visit to your site generates information stored in a file on your server. This file contains lots of
useful information — if you take the time to examine it.
That's just one example of data collection. Virtually every automated system collects data and stores it. Most of
the time, the system that collects the data is also equipped to verify and analyze the data. Not always, though.
And, of course, data is also collected manually: for example, a telephone survey.
Excel is good tool for analyzing data, and it's often used to summarize the information and display it in the form
of tables and charts. But often, the data that's collected isn't perfect. For one reason or another, it needs to be
cleaned up before it can be analyzed.
Importing Data
Before you can do anything with data, you must get it into a worksheet. Excel can import most common text file
formats and can also retrieve data from websites.
Importing from a file
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