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How to create an Excel table

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

In Excel 2016, an organized, related consecutive collection of data in rows and columns is called a Table (referred to in older versions of Excel as “Lists”). Entering your data in table format allows you to easily sort, analyze, format and manage your data later.
Excel uses column labels in the first row of your table. If you do not designate the first row as a column heading, Excel will insert a generic header row with the titles Column 1, Column 2, etc.

Image of Excel table

When your data is converted to a table, you can easily sort your table data any way you wish, filter your data to display only those records that meet a specific criteria, and quickly apply formatting to the table. As soon as your data is converted to a table, the contextual Table Tools tab is displayed, under which you can access the Design Ribbon. From the Design Ribbon, you can apply formatting with one click from the Table Styles Gallery.

Some things to keep in mind when creating Excel tables:

  • Each column should contain a column heading (field names)
  • There should be no spaces between the column heading and the first row of data
  • There should be no spaces between the rows or columns in the data range
  • Separate other data not related to the list by blank rows or columns

To Create an Excel Table

  1. Click anywhere within a range of consecutive data that is to make up your table.
    Select the cell range that is to make up your table.
  2. Click the Insert Tab on the Ribbon and click the Table button
    Click the Format as Table button on the Home Ribbon and then choose a table style (don’t worry – you can change the style later if you choose).
    Format as Table icon screenshot
  3. If your table contains column headings, click the My Table has headers checkbox.
  4. If the cell range indicated in the Format as Table or Create Table dialog box is not correct:
    a. Click the Collapse Dialog box button.
    Collapse Dialog Button screenshot
    b. Select the correct cell range.
    c. Click the Expand Dialog box button.
  5. Click OK.

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