Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Adding Different Types of Data
Adding Different
Types of Data
Numbers . This data type includes currency values, integers, fractions,
percentages, and every other type of numeric data. Numbers are the basic ingredient of
most Excel worksheets.
Dates and times . This data type includes dates (like Oct 3, 2010), times (like
4:30 p.m.), and combined date and time information (like Oct 3, 2010, 4:30
p.m.). You can enter date and time information in a variety of formats.
True or false values . This data type (known in geekdom as a Boolean value) can
contain one of two things: TRUE or FALSE (displayed in all capitals). You don’t
need Boolean data types in most worksheets, but they’re useful in worksheets
that use complex formulas.
One useful way to tell how Excel is interpreting your data is to look at cell alignment,
as explained in Figure 14-29.
Figure 14-29:
Unless you explicitly
change the alignment,
Excel always left-aligns
text (that is, it lines it up
against the left edge of a
cell), as in column A. On
the other hand, it always
right-aligns numbers
and dates, as in columns
B and C. And it centers
Boolean values, as in
column D.
Note: The standard alignment of text and numbers doesn’t just represent the whims of Excel—it also
matches the behavior you want most of the time. For example, when you type in text, you usually want
to start at the left edge so that subsequent entries in a column line up. But when entering numbers, you
usually want them to line up on the decimal point so that it’s easier to scan a list of numbers and quickly
spot small and large values. Of course, if you don’t like Excel’s standard formatting, you’re free to change
it, as you’ll see in Chapter 16.
As Figure 14-29 shows, Excel can display numbers and dates in several different
ways. For example, some of the numbers include decimal places, one uses a comma,
and one has a currency symbol. Similarly, one of the time values uses the 12-hour
clock while another uses the 24-hour clock. Other entries include only date
information or both date and time information. You assume that when you type in a number,
it will appear in the cell exactly the way you typed it. For example, when you type
3-comma-0-0-0 you expect to see 3,000. However, that doesn’t always happen. To
see the problem in action, try typing 3,000 in a cell. It shows up exactly the way you
entered it. Then, type over that value with 2000 . The new number appears as 2,000.
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