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Getting Data onto a Sheet in Excel 2013

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Data entry is one of the most important functions in Excel - and one of the most tedious, especially when the data is repetitive. This chapter shows you tricks for copying down data, fixing entered data, and helping your users enter data correctly by providing a predefined list of entries.

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Types of Data You Enter into Excel

It’s important to differentiate types of data because Excel treats each differently. You tell Excel what kind of data is in a cell by how you type it into the cell or by how you format the cell. Data in Excel can fall into one of four categories.

  • Numbers—Numeric data that can be used for calculation purposes.
  • Text—Alphabetic or numeric data that is not used for calculation purposes. Examples of numeric text are phone numbers or Social Security numbers.
  • Dates and Times—Although dates and times may be considered alphanumeric, there are occasions where you might want to perform calculations on the values, so it is important to identify the data correctly to Excel.
  • Formulas and Functions—It’s important that Excel knows you’re entering a formula or it will treat what you enter like text. This topic is covered in detail in Chapter 5, “Using Formulas.”

You can’t combine types of data in a cell. You can type “5 oranges,” but Excel will see that as text. It won’t separate the “5” as a number and the “oranges” as text. If you want to deal with the 5 as a number, then you need to enter it into its own cell.

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