Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Adding Data
Creating a Basic
Figure 14-5:
Top: The standard width
of an Excel column is 8.43
characters, which hardly
allows you to get a word
in edgewise. To solve this
problem, position your
mouse on the right border
of the column header
you want to expand so
that the mouse pointer
changes to the resize icon
(it looks like a
doubleheaded arrow). Now drag
the column border to the
right as far as you want.
As you drag, a tooltip
appears, telling you the
character size and pixel
width of the column. Both
of these pieces of
information play the same role—
they tell you how wide the
column is—only the unit of
measurement changes.
Bottom: When you release
the mouse, the entire
column of cells is resized
to the new width.
Note: A column’s character width doesn’t really reflect how many characters (or letters) fit in a cell. Excel
uses proportional fonts, in which different letters take up different amounts of room. For example, the
letter W is typically much wider than the letter 1. All this means is that the character width Excel shows you
isn’t a real indication of how many letters can fit in the column, but it’s still a useful measurement that you
can use to compare different columns.
Adding Data
You can now begin adding your data: simply fill in the rows under the column titles.
Each row in the expense worksheet represents a separate purchase you’ve made. (If
you’re familiar with databases, you can think of each row as a separate record.)
As Figure 14-6 shows, the first column is for dates, the second column is for text,
and the third column holds numbers. Keep in mind that Excel doesn’t impose any
rules on what you type, so you’re free to put text in the Price column. But if you don’t
keep a consistent kind of data in each column, you won’t be able to easily analyze (or
understand) your information later.
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