Structuring the Data

Before you can apply Excel's list management tools, your data must be set up in a very specific way. The data must be structured like a database table, with headings at the top of each column, which are the field names, and the data itself must consist of single rows of information, which are the equivalent of database records. The top row holding the field names is called the header record. Figure 6-1 shows a list that holds information on students.

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Name

Age Sex

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John

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Helena

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Henri

19

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Jack

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Mary

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Excel should never be considered a fully equipped database application. It is limited in the amount of data it can handle, and it cannot efficiently handle multiple related database tables. However, Excel can work with other database applications to provide you with the data you need, and it has some powerful tools, such as Data Form, AutoFilter, Advanced Filter, SubTotal, and PivotTables, for analyzing, manipulating, and presenting that data. Learn about PivotTables in Chapter 7. See how to connect to external data sources in Chapters 20 and 21.

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