Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that helps you to organise vast amounts of data in workbooks and worksheets. Whether it's a list of zip codes, customers, or phone numbers that you want to keep track of, an Excel database file is the ideal way to store information and easily retrieve that information at a later date. In order to use Excel as a database, you need to make sure you enter your data according to a few basic rules of data entry.
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Enter column titles for your data. For example, if you are going to be entering data for customers, your column headers might read "customer name" in cell A1, "phone numbers" in cell B1 and "address" in cell C1.
Enter the data into the columns, starting in the cell directly below the cell headers (row 2). For example, click on cell "A2" and type "Hillary Brown." Press "Enter." Excel will automatically move you to the next cell in the column.
Continue entering your data, pressing "Enter" after each entry, until your columns are filled. In this example, you should have entries in the customer name, phone number, and address columns.
Check to make sure that each row contains information about one particular record. A "record" is a unit of data entry about one particular person or thing. For example, you might have a record containing a person's name, phone number and mailing address.
Explore the "Data" tab in Excel to view the database options available to you. For example, the "Sort" button can sort data by value or alphabetical order. The "Remove duplicates" button can search and remove duplicate entries, and "Text to Columns" can split cells into two columns (handy if you've entered a full name into one column and decide at a later date you want two columns with first and last name).
Tips and warnings
- Make sure to enter your data correctly when you type it. Incorrect data entry is often a problem with database management and could result in miscalculations at a later date if you decide to sort and chart data.
- Enter the information in the same format. For example, if you enter a phone number as 904-555-1212, then continue entering in that format--in other words, don't also use 9045551212 or (904)555-1212.
- Don't leave blank rows in your data. Blank rows can lead to database errors.
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