Data entry is the heart of Excel. If you can’t enter data into your worksheets quickly and accurately, you cannot easily use the tools to analyze and report on the data. Excel does a lot of things right when it comes to data entry, but some things are not intuitive. Even advanced Excel users sometimes pick more complicated approaches than needed. Try these Microsoft Excel data entry tips and shortcuts to save time and effort.
Try these quick and easy shortcuts to enter data in Excel:
When typing long paragraphs of text, if you want to stay in the same cell but move to a new line, you cannot just press [Enter]. This will just move you to the next cell. Instead, to create a line break or new line in the same cell, just press [Alt] + [Enter]. This trick is sometimes called a new line or line break.
Do you enter product codes, lease numbers, or other identifiers that begin with one or more leading zeros? When you enter this type of data, Excel assumes the entries are numbers and deletes the leading zeros. To convince Excel to let you enter values with leading zeros, format your worksheet cells as text and not numbers. There are 2 different approaches to try:
To change each entry to a text format, type an apostrophe (‘) in front of the data. If you have a lot of data, however, this is a cumbersome approach because you will need to add the apostrophe at the beginning of each entry not just the data with leading zeros. Otherwise, your list will not sort correctly.
To prepare for data entry, format selected cells as text.
Instead of potentially scrolling hundreds or thousands of rows to get to the bottom of a list to add new data, press [Ctrl] + [Down Arrow] to go to the last cell used in the active column.
Additional Excel navigation shortcuts for a list:
These and other Excel shortcuts for selecting and navigating are available to you in this handy “cheat sheet” of Excel keyboard shortcuts.
If you frequently want to copy items from one Excel workbook into another–or even into another application like Word–it is time-consuming to copy and paste each cell, object, or image one by one.
Instead use the Office Clipboard which keeps track of the last set of items that you cut or copied. The big plus is that the Office Clipboard is shared by each Office application.
To turn on the Office Clipboard in Excel:
Each item that you cut or copy will now appear in the Office Clipboard. Follow any of these steps to use the Clipboard:
Try these tips and tricks for easy data entry in Excel.
Are these Microsoft Excel data entry tips helpful? Discover more Excel shortcuts, tips and tricks here.
By Dawn Bjork, MCT, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Technology Speaker, Software Consultant