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Give Excel tables a try

Today’s blog post on getting started with Excel tables is brought to you by Judi Hurlock, who writes Excel online training for Office.com.

 Okay, you’ve got data arranged in spreadsheet rows and columns, with column headers. So why try tables?

Well, tables make it easy to format data, sort, filter, add totals, and use formulas. With tables, you don’t need to fuss to get formatting just right. Excel automatically adds formatting that makes tables stand out from any other data on your spreadsheet. And if you don’t like the formatting you see at first, Excel has many table formats to select from.

Tables automatically come with drop-down arrows at the top of each column that you can use to sort and filter.

A single mouse click displays a total row at the bottom of the table. Then click in a cell in the total row to get a list of functions to use: Sum, Average, Min, Max, and so on.

And wait until you see how Excel handles formulas at the top of a table column: you write the formula, and then Excel automatically fills the formula all the way down the column for you.

If you decide you don’t want a table, you can convert it back to a range of data. Click anywhere in the table. Then, on the Design tab, in the Tools group, click Convert to Range, and then select Yes. To get rid of the table formatting, on the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Cell Styles, and then select Normal.

Go on, get acquainted with tables. Just put your insertion point inside the spreadsheet data, and then on the Insert tab, in the Tables group, click Tables. To learn more about tables, take the training course Use Excel tables to manage information. And let us know what you think after you give Excel tables a try.

–Judi Hurlock