Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding the Types of Data You Can Use
Understanding the Types of
Data You Can Use
You might think that Excel would accept only
numeric input, but it is actually much more flexible
than that. So, to build a spreadsheet in Excel, it
helps to understand the different types of data that
Excel accepts. There are three main types of data
that you can enter into a cell: text, numbers, and
dates and times. Excel places no restrictions on
where, how, or how often you can enter these types
of data on a worksheet.
Text entries can include any combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. You
will mostly use text to describe the contents of your worksheets. This is very
important because even a modest-sized spreadsheet can become a confusing
jumble of numbers without some kind of text guidelines to keep things straight.
Most text entries are usually labels, such as Sales or Territory , that make a
worksheet easier to read. However, text entries can also be text or number
combinations for items such as phone numbers and account codes.
Numbers are the most common type of Excel data. The numbers you enter into
a cell can be dollar values, weights, interest rates, temperatures, or any other
numerical quantity. In most cases you just type the number that you want to
appear in the cell. However, you can also precede a number with a dollar sign
($) or other currency symbol to indicate a monetary value, or follow a number
with a percent sign (%) to indicate a percentage value.
Dates and Times
Date entries appear in spreadsheets that include dated information, such as invoices and
sales. You can either type out the full date (such as August 23, 2013) or use either the
forward slash (/) or the hyphen (-) as a date separator (such as 8/23/2013 or 8-23-
2013). Note that the order you enter the date values depends on your regional settings.
For example, in the United States, the format is month/day/year. For time values, you
use a colon (:) as a time separator, followed by either a.m. or p.m. — such as 9:15 a.m.