Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Tip 74: Understanding Tables
An important but often underutilized feature in Excel is tables. This tip describes when to use a table
and also lists the advantages and disadvantages.
Understanding what a table is
A table is 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.
You’ve probably created ranges that meet this description. The magic happens when you tell Excel
to convert a range of data into an “official” table. You do so 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.
Figure 74-1 shows a range before it was converted to a table, and Figure 74-2 shows the range after it
was converted to a table.