Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering your friends into your address book
be. But it’s such a swot that it’ll start treating numbers mathematically before
you’ve even asked it to. Type 02081112222 into a phone number cell and notice
what happens. Excel will shunt it to the right of the cell and cut off the zero at the
start. That’s because, if this was a number with a real numeric value, the zero
would be meaningless. In a maths class, 0100 is the same number as 100. When
you pick up the phone, though, that zero is the difference between a number that
works and one that doesn’t.
At school, you might remember being told to line up numbers from the right in
your maths book so that all the units, tens, hundreds and thousands were in a
straight line. That’s why Excel has moved your number to the right of the cell, too.
It doesn’t need to do it for the purposes of calculation, but it does it to make it
easier for you to understand any sums it does for you.
Clearly, this isn’t helpful here. We need to tell Excel to leave our number alone. To
do that, we type an apostrophe before the number. If you type ‘02081112222 into
a cell, Excel will treat it as text and keep it exactly as you enter it. You should use
this technique to enter any numbers that aren’t actual maths numbers that can be
used for calculation. For example, these might include serial numbers if you are
storing information for insurance purposes, or holiday booking reference numbers.
You can use spaces in your phone numbers to make them easier to read, and if
you do that Excel will automatically understand that you’re not entering a real
maths number. Excel won’t try to do any fancy stuff when you enter the house
number and street name into the street cell, either.
Once you’ve entered all the information for the fi rst person, position the cursor on
the next row down, so that you can start to enter the next one. Excel will let you
enter information anywhere, so it’s up to you to make sure that the right information
goes into the correct cell. If you fi nd that you’re entering something in the wrong
place, just tap the Esc key on the keyboard and your text will be discarded.
To avoid any confusion, I recommend that you don’t leave any blank lines in this
spreadsheet, although it’s okay to have blank cells if you don’t know somebody’s
phone number, for example. When you come to enter the cities and countries,
you might fi nd you can save some time. If Excel spots that you might be typing
something you’ve already typed in the same column, it will complete the word for
you. To accept Excel’s suggestion, just press Enter. If Excel’s wrong (which does
happen!), carry on typing what you want into the cell.
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