Making a table is a great way to organize your data in Microsoft Excel. This feature is only available for Excel 2007 and up. If you still have an older version of Excel, you can use ranges to organize your data. But you will not get the added benefits for having a nice table. Here is how to make a table in Excel.
Why use a Table in Excel?
Excel tables are a series of data in rows and columns that we tell Excel, yes the program, they are related some how. The table feature was originally called lists in Excel 2003, before it was upgraded to what we call now tables.
With tables we can quickly add new columns or rows to our table. And also apply formatting and calculations without too much effort. Another neat trick with tables is the filtering. No need to select a range of data and apply a filter, just make it a table. Another great feature to tables, and ranges at that, is using their name in calculation. You can easily reference the table and specific cells in the table. This is a great way to keep your formulas nice an neat.
Now that we covered why it is a good idea to organize your data into a table, lets create one.
Make a Table in Excel 2007 and 2010
To make a fancy table in Excel 2007 or 2010 all you need to do is select the data or range you want to make into a table. I will be using Excel 2010 to create the table, but you can follow along using Excel 2007.
Below is an example of some data I will be using to make into a table.
To make that data into a table, select it. Then go to the ribbon bar on the Home tab and click Format as Table. Here you can select many different styles. Pick on that you like. You can always change it later.
When you select a style you will get a nice prompt asking you to create the table. Here you can adjust the range of the table. Check the box next to My table has headers, if you data is formatted with headers. If it doesn’t, Excel will add new columns for you. Click the OK to finish creating your table.
When your finished select the style and applying the table, you will have a fancy new table. Just like the picture below.
Now that you have your data in a table we can start using some of the awesome benefits. Click the drop downs on your column headers to get a filter list. Here you can select Smallest to Largest, Largest to Smallest, by color, or chose your own specific filter.
Beside filtering your data you can also add certain automatic data to your table. One of them is a total row. When you click on the table you will get a new ribbon item called Table Tools. When you click on it you have a bunch of options. For now we are only going to cover three of them. The first one is the Table Name. Here you can give your table a specific name. The name of your table has to start with a letter so you are limited by what you can use. This will come in handy when you want to reference your table in calculations outside of the table.
The next feature is the total row we talked about early. When you check the box next to Total Row you will get a new row at the bottom summing up your data or counting the items in your table.
The next feature is changing the style of the table on the fly. Here you can change your table to any style you want. So when you want to differentiate your tables you can pick different styles.
Tables have a bunch of awesome features that we barely got into. For now you know how to make a table in Excel. Watch out for more post about Excel tables.