Problem

You've got data and some calculations, but the spreadsheet looks unpresentable.

Solution

Format your spreadsheet to make it more presentable and better organized.

Discussion

In Recipe 1.3, I discussed how to format cells to specify the type of data (e.g., text, numbers, currency, etc.). In this recipe, I'll show you a few other formatting techniques. Take a look at the spreadsheet in Figure 1-16.

This simple spreadsheet merely calculates values for a function of the form y = xn, where n is the exponent shown on the spreadsheet. It also calculates the cumulative area under the curve from 0 to x. The results are plotted on a chart adjacent to the calculation table. Chapter 4 covers charting in detail, so I won't discuss the chart here. Instead I want to focus on the calculation table.

I could have simply filled in a column of x values, entered formulas for the y and area values, and left it at that. However, that would look messy. More than likely you'll want to include your calculations in reports or share them with others, so making your spreadsheets presentable is a good idea. Formatting also serves as a form of documentation so that you can come back to a spreadsheet weeks or years later and quickly see what you did. There's (almost) nothing worse than opening an old spreadsheet and seeing just a grid of scattered numbers.

Figure 1-16. Formatted spreadsheet

There are many ways to format your spreadsheet. In this example, I added a text label, in italics, in the cell C2 to indicate the purpose of the value in cell D2. I also added some borders around the table of calculations and delineated the column headings with a filled background and bold text. I also centered the column labels above the data instead of using the default left justification for text. If you're a keen observer, you may have noticed that I also changed the column width of several columnsI reduced the width of columns A and B so they wouldn't take up too much space and I increased the width of column E to accommodate the area column label. These are some of the most common formatting tasks I make on virtually every spreadsheet I write. They are simple and effective.

You can access Excel's formatting functions via the Format menu . There you'll find options for formatting cells, whole rows or columns, and even the entire spreadsheet. I personally use the cell formatting options the most. You've already seen how to access the Format Cells dialog box in Recipe 1.3, and as shown in Figure 1-6. You can use the main menu bar or the shortcut key combination, Ctrl-1, to open the Format Cells dialog box.

The Number tab displays the data type formatting options discussed earlier. The other tabs give you control of other cell aspects:

Alignment

Set the position, orientation, and justification of text within a cell. You can also specify whether long text should wrap around, creating multiple lines of text in a single cell.

Font

Specify the font type, style, and size of text to appear in a cell. For example, you could specify Arial font type with a bold style and a size of 10 points.

Border

Add borders to any edge of a cell. You can select from a variety of line styles, including solid, dashed, and dotted, among others, and even set the line thickness.

Patterns

Set the background color or pattern for a cell.

Protection

Specify whether a cell is protected (meaning it can't be changed without a password) and whether a cell is hidden.

While the Format Cells dialog box presents you with many cell formatting options, I prefer to use the toolbars for quick formatting tasks. If you look closely at Figure 1-16, you'll see the formatting toolbar visible just above the formula bar. This toolbar contains buttons to change a cell's font, justification, data type, number of decimal places, indention, borders, fill patterns, text color, and more. You can customize this toolbar as discussed in Recipe 1.1.

There may be times when you want to clear all the formats applied to a cell. To do so, select the cell whose formats you want to clear and then select Edit images/U2192.jpg border=0> Clear images/U2192.jpg border=0> Formats from the main menu bar.

See Also

The formatting options discussed here are common and useful. There are other formatting options that may come in handy from time to time, although you probably will not use them too often. These options include the row, column, and spreadsheet formatting options mentioned earlier, as well as others such as conditional formatting, which allows you to set formatting for a cell contingent on the value of the cell relative to some criterion you specify. We'll make use of these other formatting options throughout the remainder of the book. For the time being, you can read more about formatting options in Excel's built-in help system. To do so, open Excel Help by pressing Ctrl-F1 and click the "Table of Contents" link. Look for the "Working with Data" topic and click on it to reveal a list of subtopics. Look for the "Formatting Data" subtopic and click it to see a list of specific formatting-related topics.

Using Excel

- Introduction
- Navigating the Interface
- Entering Data
- Setting Cell Data Types
- Selecting More Than a Single Cell
- Entering Formulas
- Exploring the R1C1 Cell Reference Style
- Referring to More Than a Single Cell
- Understanding Operator Precedence
- Using Exponents in Formulas
- Exploring Functions
- Formatting Your Spreadsheets
- Defining Custom Format Styles
- Leveraging Copy, Cut, Paste, and Paste Special
- Using Cell Names (Like Programming Variables)
- Validating Data
- Taking Advantage of Macros
- Adding Comments and Equation Notes
- Getting Help

Getting Acquainted with Visual Basic for Applications

- Introduction
- Navigating the VBA Editor
- Writing Functions and Subroutines
- Working with Data Types
- Defining Variables
- Defining Constants
- Using Arrays
- Commenting Code
- Spanning Long Statements over Multiple Lines
- Using Conditional Statements
- Using Loops
- Debugging VBA Code
- Exploring VBAs Built-in Functions
- Exploring Excel Objects
- Creating Your Own Objects in VBA
- VBA Help

Collecting and Cleaning Up Data

- Introduction
- Importing Data from Text Files
- Importing Data from Delimited Text Files
- Importing Data Using Drag-and-Drop
- Importing Data from Access Databases
- Importing Data from Web Pages
- Parsing Data
- Removing Weird Characters from Imported Text
- Converting Units
- Sorting Data
- Filtering Data
- Looking Up Values in Tables
- Retrieving Data from XML Files

Charting

- Introduction
- Creating Simple Charts
- Exploring Chart Styles
- Formatting Charts
- Customizing Chart Axes
- Setting Log or Semilog Scales
- Using Multiple Axes
- Changing the Type of an Existing Chart
- Combining Chart Types
- Building 3D Surface Plots
- Preparing Contour Plots
- Annotating Charts
- Saving Custom Chart Types
- Copying Charts to Word
- Recipe 4-14. Displaying Error Bars

Statistical Analysis

- Introduction
- Computing Summary Statistics
- Plotting Frequency Distributions
- Calculating Confidence Intervals
- Correlating Data
- Ranking and Percentiles
- Performing Statistical Tests
- Conducting ANOVA
- Generating Random Numbers
- Sampling Data

Time Series Analysis

- Introduction
- Plotting Time Series Data
- Adding Trendlines
- Computing Moving Averages
- Smoothing Data Using Weighted Averages
- Centering Data
- Detrending a Time Series
- Estimating Seasonal Indices
- Deseasonalization of a Time Series
- Forecasting
- Applying Discrete Fourier Transforms

Mathematical Functions

- Introduction
- Using Summation Functions
- Delving into Division
- Mastering Multiplication
- Exploring Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
- Using Trigonometry Functions
- Seeing Signs
- Getting to the Root of Things
- Rounding and Truncating Numbers
- Converting Between Number Systems
- Manipulating Matrices
- Building Support for Vectors
- Using Spreadsheet Functions in VBA Code
- Dealing with Complex Numbers

Curve Fitting and Regression

- Introduction
- Performing Linear Curve Fitting Using Excel Charts
- Constructing Your Own Linear Fit Using Spreadsheet Functions
- Using a Single Spreadsheet Function for Linear Curve Fitting
- Performing Multiple Linear Regression
- Generating Nonlinear Curve Fits Using Excel Charts
- Fitting Nonlinear Curves Using Solver
- Assessing Goodness of Fit
- Computing Confidence Intervals

Solving Equations

- Introduction
- Finding Roots Graphically
- Solving Nonlinear Equations Iteratively
- Automating Tedious Problems with VBA
- Solving Linear Systems
- Tackling Nonlinear Systems of Equations
- Using Classical Methods for Solving Equations

Numerical Integration and Differentiation

- Introduction
- Integrating a Definite Integral
- Implementing the Trapezoidal Rule in VBA
- Computing the Center of an Area Using Numerical Integration
- Calculating the Second Moment of an Area
- Dealing with Double Integrals
- Numerical Differentiation

Solving Ordinary Differential Equations

- Introduction
- Solving First-Order Initial Value Problems
- Applying the Runge-Kutta Method to Second-Order Initial Value Problems
- Tackling Coupled Equations
- Shooting Boundary Value Problems

Solving Partial Differential Equations

- Introduction
- Leveraging Excel to Directly Solve Finite Difference Equations
- Recruiting Solver to Iteratively Solve Finite Difference Equations
- Solving Initial Value Problems
- Using Excel to Help Solve Problems Formulated Using the Finite Element Method

Performing Optimization Analyses in Excel

- Introduction
- Using Excel for Traditional Linear Programming
- Exploring Resource Allocation Optimization Problems
- Getting More Realistic Results with Integer Constraints
- Tackling Troublesome Problems
- Optimizing Engineering Design Problems
- Understanding Solver Reports
- Programming a Genetic Algorithm for Optimization

Introduction to Financial Calculations

- Introduction
- Computing Present Value
- Calculating Future Value
- Figuring Out Required Rate of Return
- Doubling Your Money
- Determining Monthly Payments
- Considering Cash Flow Alternatives
- Achieving a Certain Future Value
- Assessing Net Present Worth
- Estimating Rate of Return
- Solving Inverse Problems
- Figuring a Break-Even Point

Index

Excel Scientific and Engineering Cookbook (Cookbooks (OReilly))

ISBN: 0596008791

EAN: 2147483647

EAN: 2147483647

Year: N/A

Pages: 206

Pages: 206

Authors: David M Bourg

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