If you’ve ever worked in a Windows application, you’ll find that entering data into work-
sheet cells is simple and intuitive. And while there are differences in how Excel stores and
displays the different data types, for the most part it just works.
Entering numbers –
To enter a numeric value into a cell, select the appropriate cell, type the value, and then
press Enter, Tab, or one of the arrow navigation keys. The value is displayed in the cell and
appears in the Formula bar when the cell is selected. You can include decimal points and currency symbols when entering values, along with plus signs, minus signs, percent signs,
and commas (to separate thousands). If you precede a value with a minus sign or enclose it
in parentheses, Excel considers it to be a negative number.
An example is shown below –
Entering text –
Entering text into a cell is just as easy as entering a value: activate the cell, type the text,
and then press Enter or a navigation key. A cell can contain a maximum of about 32,000
characters—more than enough to store a typical chapter in this book. Even though a cell
can hold a huge number of characters, you’ll find that it’s not actually possible to display
all of these characters.
If you type an exceptionally long text entry into a cell, the Formula bar may not show all the text. To display more of the text in the Formula bar, click the bottom of the Formula bar and drag down to increase the height (see Figure below). Also useful is the Ctrl+Shift+U keyboard shortcut. Pressing this key combination toggles the height of the Formula bar to show either one row or the previous size.
What happens when you enter text that’s longer than its column’s current width? If the
cells to the immediate right are blank, Excel displays the text in its entirety, appearing to
spill the entry into adjacent cells. If an adjacent cell isn’t blank, Excel displays as much of
the text as possible. (The full text is contained in the cell; it’s just not displayed.) If you
need to display a long text string in a cell that’s adjacent to a non blank cell, you have a few
- Edit your text to make it shorter.
- Increase the width of the column (drag the border in the column letter display).
- Use a smaller font.
- Wrap the text within the cell so that it occupies more than one line. Choose
Home ➪ Alignment ➪ Wrap Text to toggle wrapping on and off for the selected
cell or range.