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.