Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering the basic information into the spreadsheet
As you saw in Chapter 4, spreadsheets are most helpful when information is
broken down into the smallest useful chunks. We could tot up the total hotel bill, for
example, and type that into a cell. But then if we want to change the length of our
stay, we’ll have to recalculate it and type it in again. If we just put in the basic
ﬁ gures, we can let Excel do the updating when and if necessary.
In column A, we’re going to put our expense items. In column B, we’re going to
put the price in euros. Because these are real mathematics numbers (as opposed
to serial numbers or phone numbers), you just type them into the cells without
using an apostrophe. Excel right-aligns them in the cell, which is how you know
you’ve entered them correctly as numerals. If they’re left-aligned, it means Excel
thinks they are text. In column C, we’re going to enter information on how that
price is measured, so in the case of the hotel it’s per day and in the case of the taxi
it’s per ﬂ fight. As far as possible, these descriptions should be standardised, so that
you can analyse them later using ﬁ lters if you want to. You could ﬁ lter for ‘per day’
to see your daily costs at a glance, for example, but the costs won’t be complete if
you’ve entered the hotel pricing as ‘per night’, as the ‘per day’ ﬁ lter won’t pick it up.
I’ve adjusted the width of column A by double-clicking on the divider between
the headings for columns A and B. The resulting spreadsheet looks like Figure 5.1.
Don’t put any currency symbols or words in the price column for now. Just
type in the numbers.
Changing the format of your information
So far, all the formatting we’ve done on cells has been purely cosmetic, just
adding a lick of colour or changing the font on what we’ve typed in. But Excel also
enables you to format cells to help you to understand their meaning. For example,
you can tell Excel that the number in a cell represents money, so that it will be
shown with a currency symbol.

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