Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Data Entry**

Data Entry

Data entry in Excel is quite straightforward. Excel interprets each cell entry as one of the following:

h
A numeric value (including date and time values)

h
Text

h
A Boolean value (
True
or
False
)

h
A formula

Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). Excel accommodates habitual 1-2-3 users,

however, and accepts an each-at symbol (@), a plus sign (+), or a minus sign (–) as the first character

in a formula. Excel automatically adjusts the entry after you press Enter.

Formulas, Functions, and Names

Formulas are what make a spreadsheet a spreadsheet. Excel has some advanced formula-related

features that are worth knowing. They enable you to write array formulas, use an intersection

operator, include links, and create
megaformulas
(my term for a lengthy and incomprehensible —

but very efficient — formula).

Chapter 3 covers formulas and presents lots of tricks and tips.

Excel also has some useful auditing capabilities that help you identify errors or track the logic in

an unfamiliar spreadsheet. To access these features, use the commands in the

Formulas➜Formula Auditing group.

You may find the Formulas➜Formula Auditing➜Error Checking command useful. This command

scans your worksheet and identifies possibly erroneous formulas. In Figure 2-14, Excel identifies a

possibly inconsistent formula and provides some options.

Worksheet functions enable you to perform calculations or operations that would otherwise be

impossible. Excel provides a huge number of built-in functions.

The easiest way to locate the function that you need is to use the Insert Function dialog box, as

shown in Figure 2-15. Access this dialog box by clicking the Insert Function button on the formula

bar (or by pressing Shift+F3). After you select a function, Excel displays its Function Arguments

dialog box, which assists with specifying the function’s arguments.

Beginning with Excel 2007, the Analysis ToolPak functions became part of Excel. In

other words, you can use these function even if the Analysis ToolPak add-in isn’t

installed.