Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering Data in a Worksheet
Entering text labels
Sometimes a text entry is too long to fit in a cell. How Excel accommodates
text entries that are too wide depends on whether data is in the cell to the
right of the one you entered the text in:
✦ If the cell to the right is empty, Excel lets the text spill into the next cell.
✦ If the cell to the right contains data, the entry gets cut off. Nevertheless,
the text you entered is in the cell. Nothing gets lost when it can’t be
displayed on-screen. You just can’t see the text or numbers except by
glancing at the Formula bar, where the contents of the active cell can be
seen in its entirety.
To solve the problem of text that doesn’t fit in a cell, widen the column,
shorten the text entry, reorient the text (Chapter 4 of this mini-book explains
aligning numbers and text in columns and rows), or wrap the contents of the
cell. Wrapping means to run the text down to the next line, much the way the
text in a paragraph runs to the next line when it reaches the right margin.
Excel makes rows taller to accommodate wrapped text in a cell. To wrap text
in cells, select the cells, go to the Home tab, and click the Wrap Text button
(you can find it in the Alignment group).
Entering numeric values
When a number is too large to fit in a cell, Excel displays pounds signs
(###) instead of a number or displays the number in scientific notation
(8.78979E+15). You can always glance at the Formula bar, however, to find
out the number in the active cell. As well, you can always widen the column
to display the entire number.
To enter a fraction in a cell, enter a 0 or a whole number, a blank space, and
the fraction. For example, to enter 3 ⁄ 8 , type a 0, press the spacebar, and type
3/8 . To enter 5 3 ⁄ 8 , type the 5, press the spacebar, and type 3/8 . For its
purposes, Excel converts fractions to decimal numbers, as you can see by
looking in the Formula bar after you enter a fraction. For example, 5 3 ⁄ 8 displays as
5.375 in the Formula bar.
Here’s a little trick for entering numbers with decimals quickly in all the
Excel files you work on. To spare yourself the trouble of pressing the
period key (.), you can tell Excel to enter the period automatically. Instead
of entering 12.45 , for example, you can simply enter 1245 . Excel enters
the period for you: 12.45. To perform this trick, go to the File tab, choose
Options, visit the Advanced category in the Excel Options dialog box, click
the Automatically Insert a Decimal Point check box, and in the Places text
box, enter the number of decimal places you want for numbers. Deselect this
option when you want to go back to entering numbers the normal way.