Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using the Table Feature
Using the Table Feature
One significant new feature introduced in Excel 2007 is tables. A table is a rectangular range of
data that has a row of text headings to describe the contents of each column. Excel has always
supported tables, of course, but the new implementation makes common tasks much easier to
do — and makes the results a lot better looking. More important, the new table features can help
eliminate some common errors. Many users overlook this new feature, but it’s really worth
knowing about.
Understanding what a table is
A table is simply a rectangular range of structured data. Each row in the table corresponds to a
single entity. For example, a row can contain information about a customer, a bank transaction,
an employee, or a product. Each column contains a specific piece of information. For example, if
each row contains information about an employee, the columns can contain data, such as name,
employee number, hire date, salary, or department. Tables have a header row at the top that
describes the information contained in each column.
So far, I’ve said nothing new. Every previous version of Excel can work with this type of table.
The magic happens when you tell Excel to convert a range of data into an “official” table. You do
this by selecting any cell within the range and then choosing Insert
Tables
Table.
When you explicitly identify a range as a table, Excel can respond more intelligently to the
actions you perform with that range. For example, if you create a chart from a table, the chart
expands automatically as you add new rows to the table. If you create a pivot table from a table,
refreshing the pivot table will include any new data that you added to the table.
Range versus table
What’s the difference between a standard range and a table?
h Activating any cell in the table gives you access to a new Table Tools contextual tab on
the Ribbon (see Figure 158-1).
h You can quickly apply background color and text color formatting by choosing from a
gallery. This type of formatting is optional.
h Each column header contains a drop-down list, which you can use to sort the data or
filter the table to hide specific rows.
h If you scroll down the sheet so that the header row disappears, the table headers replace
the column letters in the worksheet header. In other words, you don’t need to freeze the
top row to keep the column labels visible.
 
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