Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Setting the Table: Database Features of Excel 2010
C H A P T E R 6
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Setting the Table: Database
Features of Excel 2010
By now you’ve established a close relationship with the concept of a range—that collection of adjacent
cells occupying a rectangular area on the worksheet (we’ll leave aside any additional nuances I may have
bothered you with earlier). Now, a range can be blank, of course—a collection of adjacent,
rectangularshaped empty cells is no less a range because of its dearth of data. But when a range is filled with
records—that is, a series of consecutive rows and columns containing related information topped by
headings of the First Name-Last Name-Address variety—you and I might call that assemblage of data a
database . If you were compiling a seating list for a formal event—even if you wrote it out on paper—you
could enter Name and Table Number headings at the top of the page, and pencil in the data accordingly.
Two headings, beneath which you write in the appropriate information; sounds like a database. In Excel,
it could start looking like this ( Figure 6–1):
Figure 6–1. A basic Excel database
That all sounds and looks good to me; but as a terminological matter Excel isn’t always so sure.
Microsoft has had some difficulty making up its mind about exactly what it means by the term database ,
though you’re not likely to lose any sleep over the matter, and you shouldn’t. How Microsoft Access
defines “database” doesn’t quite dovetail with the ways it’s been used in Excel, for example—but that
won’t stop us from plunging ahead in any case. I know you like a challenge.
For our purposes, we can go ahead and define a database as a collection of data that occupies
adjacent rows and columns. Each row comprises a record , and each column is a termed a field . Note I’ve
omitted the headings requirement from the definition. Headings are surely a very good thing to find at
the top of a database, but you can still do productive work in a database if they’re not there. What is
 
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