Data Entry

Data entry in Excel is quite straightforward. Excel interprets each cell entry as one of the following:

♦ A numeric value (including date and time values)

Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). Excel is accommodating to habitual 1-2-3 users, however, and accepts an each-at symbol (@), a plus sign (+), or a minus sign (-) as the first character in a formula. It automatically adjusts the entry after you press Enter.

Data Entry Tips

The following data entry tips are especially useful for those who are moving up to Excel from another spreadsheet:

♦ If you select a range of cells before entering data, you can press Enter to end a cell entry and move to the next cell in the selected range. Similarly, use Shift+Enter to move up, Tab to move to the right, and Shift+Tab to move to the left.

♦ To enter data without pressing the arrow keys, enable the Move Selection After Enter option in the Edit tab of the Options dialog box (which you access from the Tools ^ Options command). You can also choose the direction in which you want to go.

♦ To enter the same data into each cell of a range, select the range, type the information into the active cell, and then press Ctrl+Enter.

♦ To copy the contents of the active cell to all other cells in a selected range, press F2 and then press Ctrl+Enter.

♦ To fill a range with increments of a single value, press Ctrl while you drag the fill handle at the bottom-right corner of the selection.

♦ To create a custom AutoFill list, use the Custom Lists tab of the Options dialog box.

♦ To copy a cell without incrementing, drag the fill handle at the corner of the selection. Or press Ctrl+D to copy down or Ctrl+R to copy to the right.

♦ You can enter tabs and carriage returns in a cell to make the text easier to read. To enter a tab, press Ctrl+Alt+Tab. To enter a carriage return, press Alt+Enter. Carriage returns cause a cell's contents to wrap within the cell.

♦ To enter a fraction, press 0 (zero), a space, and then the fraction (using a forward slash). Excel formats the cell by using the Fraction number format.

♦ To automatically format a cell with the Currency format, type the currency symbol (for example, a dollar sign in the U.S.) before the value. To enter a value in Percent format, type a percent sign after the value. You can also include thousand separator symbols to separate thousands (for example, as commas are used in the U.S.: 4,123,434).

♦ Press Ctrl+; (semi-colon) to insert the current date and Ctrl+Shift+; to enter the current time into a cell.

♦ To set up a cell or range so it only accepts entries of a certain type (or within a certain value range), choose the Data ^Validation command.

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