Making Data Easier to Read

After you have modified your worksheet so that it is easier to work with, you can make the data easier to read by changing how data is presented within the worksheet s cells . One case in which you might want to change how data is presented occurs if the data doesn t fit in a cell s boundaries and you don t want to merge the cells the data overlaps with. For instance, you could choose not to merge the cells because you might want to add data or comments to the neighboring cells later.

The following graphic shows what happens if there is a spillover in two adjacent cells.

If the cell to the right were empty, the text in the left cell would simply spill over into the cell to its right. When there is data in the cell to the right, however, Excel brings it to the front, hiding any data that spills over from the adjoining cell. To avoid hiding the text in the first cell behind the text in the second cell, you can have the text wrap within the first cell, as seen in the following graphic.

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It may be tempting to just change a column s width to accommodate your data,but remember that widening a single column will make that column stand out in the worksheet, possibly causing data in other columns to become harder to read.

Another method for making your data easier to read is to distinguish any data labels by changing how the data appears in a cell. One way to separate data labels from the data that follows them is to change the alignment of the labels in their cells. For example, you can center the data labels in their cells, setting the labels apart from the right- aligned data farther down in the column.

You can also make your worksheet data easier to read by ensuring that the data labels at the top of a column freeze , or remain on the screen regardless of how far down in the document you scroll. For instance, Catherine Turner, the owner of The Garden Company, might not remember which data is kept in which column in a worksheet. Freezing the data labels at the top of the column would let her scroll to the last row of the worksheet and still have the labels visible as a reference. Excel marks the division between frozen and unfrozen cells with a split bar .

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When you tell Excel to freeze rows in your worksheet, Excel freezes the rows above the active cell and the columns to the left of the active cell. So, if you want to freeze the top three rows of your worksheet, click the first cell in the fourth row (cell A4) and then turn on the freeze. If you wanted to freeze the top three rows and the first column, you would click the second cell in the fourth row (cell B4).

In this exercise, you prevent the text in a cell from spilling over into adjoining cells, allowing you to enter comments in those adjoining cells without obscuring the contents of the first cell. You then change the alignment of the cells containing the data labels for the columns in your worksheet and then freeze those data labels so that they remain at the top of the page as you scroll down through the worksheet.

USE the  DataRead.xls document in the practice file folder for this topic. This practice file is located in the  My Documents\Microsoft Press\Office 2003 SBS\SettingUpWorkbook folder, and can also be accessedby clicking Start/All Programs/Microsoft Press/Microsoft Office System 2003 Step by Step .

OPEN the  DataRead.xls document.

  1. If necessary, click the SalesbyCategory sheet tab.

  2. Click cell B34.

  3. On the Format menu, click Cells .

    The Format Cells dialog box appears.

  4. If necessary, click the Alignment tab.

    click to expand
  5. If necessary, select the Wrap text check box, and click OK .

    The text in cell B34 wraps to fit within the original borders of the cell.

  6. Click cell B1, and drag to cell E1.

  7. On the Formatting toolbar, click the Center button.

    The contents of the selected cells are centered within those cells.

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  8. Click cell A2.

  9. On the Window menu, click Freeze Panes .

    A split bar appears between row 1 and row 2.

  10. On the vertical scroll bar, click the down arrow.

    Row 1 stays in place while the remaining rows scroll normally.

  11. On the Window menu, click Unfreeze Panes .

    The split bar disappears, and all rows scroll normally.

  12. On the Standard toolbar, click the Save button.

    Excel saves your changes.

CLOSE the  DataRead.xls document.

Microsoft Office 2003 Step by Step
MicrosoftВ® Office ExcelВ® 2003 Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))
ISBN: 0735615187
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 350
Authors: Curtis Frye

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