Preventing Duplicate Entries With Data Validation

In this tutorial you will learn how to prevent duplicate entries in Excel columns by using Excel’s data validation feature.

This is useful if you have a column of data where certain columns cannot have data repeated.  A good example of this would be driver’s license number, social insurance number and so on.

Here is the video of the tutorial.  You can get the full written instructions below.

For our example, we will have a three column spreadsheet.  User ID, Name, and Age.  We do not want to allow duplicate entries in the User ID column.

In our first example, we will set it up so that duplicates are prevented throughout all of column A.  To do that we must first highlight all of column A.

With that accomplished, we now go to the ribbon and click on the data tab.  Then click on data validation.

The data validation window opens.  In the Allow box, we choose custom.  This will allow us to enter our formula.

In the Formula box, type in the following: =countif(a:a,a1)=1

Now click on the Error Alert tab.  Enter the text as seen below into the Title, and Error Message boxes.

Click OK.

Now, when we enter a user ID, I will give two users the same ID and we’ll see what happens.

Let’s say you only want certain cells in a column set to prevent duplicates. Say A2 to A10.  What we have to do is select those exact cells in step 1 and the formula is a tiny bit different.

In this case we use the exact cell range in which we want to prevent duplicates.  Also, we have to use the absolute cell reference as shown by the \$.

What exactly does that formula do?   The countif function counts how many times the value entered in cell A2 appears in the range of cells from A2 to A20.  The =1 means that each entry can appear a maximum of 1 time.

Because we highlighted all the cells from A2 to A20 when we entered our data validation, that means the formula is copied to all of those cells, except in cell A3 it becomes =countif(\$a\$2:\$a\$20,A3)=1.  The cell reference after the comma changes depending on which cell the formula is in.  Because we used the \$ to indicate an absolute cell reference in the range of cells from A2 to A20 that doesn’t change.

Posted in Excel 2010, Functions and Formulas, Video | Leave a comment

Video: Using Subtotals in Excel for Mac 2011

Note:

(Though the process may be slightly different, this will work for Windows versions of Excel as well.

Creating a Dropdown List in Excel for Mac 2011

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a dropdown list in Excel for Mac 2011. This is useful if you have a list of items that you input frequently and would like to choose from a dropdown list instead of the standard method of typing in the data.

For our example, we will be keeping a spreadsheet of statistics for a sports team and we need a dropdown list for the result of games. Our options are Win, loss or Tie. I will show you two methods of creating the list.

Here is our spreadsheet:

In column D, we want to be able to choose Win, Loss or Tie from a dropdown list. Let’s create the list. What we will do is select some cells in column D. Let’s go down as far as D10.

Now we will go to our Ribbon and

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click on Data, then click on Validate. The data validation window will now appear.

Under the validation criteria area we will click on the dropdown list under the heading Allow and we will choose List.

The Source box now becomes available. In this box we will type our list options separated by a comma. Then we will click OK.

Let’s fill in some data in the first row. We will say that our team won this game 4-1. When we get to the result column, we’ll click on the dropdown arrow in the cell then select Win as our result.

The other way we can create a dropdown list is to create the list from an already existing list in the spreadsheet. Let’s enter our Win, Loss and Tie options into cells, then highlight the cells that you want to apply the data validation to as we did in the first example.

Now go to Data on the ribbon then click Validate just was we did in the first example. We will again choose List

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from the Allow box under Validation Criteria heading. This time however, we will click on the little button to the right of the Source box.

This will minimize the Data Validation window. Next, we will highlight the data that we want to use for our list. You will see the cell reference appear in the source box.

Click on the small button to the right of the source box to maximize the data validation window, click the OK button and your list has been created.

Posted in Excel for Mac, General Excel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft Excel Nested AND and IF Function

The Excel AND and OR functions allow you to test the conditions of certain cells and apply a result based on the result of those tests.

AND Function

With the AND function, ALL criteria must be met in

order for the test to come out as true. Let’s say we have a listing of our sales staff and their sales AND performance rating must both be at a certain level in order to earn a bonus. If both criteria are met the salesperson will receive a bonus of \$2500. If only one condition is met or if no conditions are met they will not receive a bonus.

To accomplish this we must combine the IF and AND functions. Let’s look at the following data in our worksheet.

Let’s say that to earn a bonus, the salesperson must have sales at or above \$150,000 and a performance rating at or above 80. In cell D2 we will type the following formula:

=IF(AND(B2>150000,C2>80),5000,”No Bonus”)

This is an AND function nested inside

an IF function. If we break it down, we are basically saying IF b2 is greater than or equal to 150000 AND c2>80 then the bonus is 5000. If only one or none of the criteria are met then the bonus=”No Bonus”.

If we ook at our first salesperson, Steve, his sales are above the \$150,000 threshold but his rating is not above 80. Therefore his bonus should be “No Bonus”.

Now we will copy this formula down so that it applies to the rest of the rows by clicking and dragging on the little “grabber” in the bottom right hand corner of the cell.

Since the other salespeople meet both the sales and performance criteria they receive the \$5000 bonus.

Creating a Custom List in Excel 2007

If there is a list of items that you enter into an Excel worksheet frequently, instead of typing the list time and time again, you can create a custom list. Excel already has some built in lists such as days of the

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week and months of the year but let’s say you have the same list of cities that you use often. Here is how you can create a custom list to save you time.

First, type the list entries into any cells of a worksheet in the order that you want them in the list. In the example below, I will be using a list of cities. Then highlight the list.

Now, click on the Microsoft Office button in the top left hand corner and then click on Excel Options. Then, on the “Popular” screen, click on Edit Custom Lists.

The custom lists window will appear.

In the “Import List From Cells” section, you will see a text box with the range of cells highlighted that contains your list of cities that we created early. Now we simply click the “Import” button and our list is imported as seen below.

Now we click OK and our custom list has been created. Now let’s test it. Go to any blank cell in your worksheet and type in any city that appears in our list then point your mouse at the little square grab handle in the bottom right corner of the cell.

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Now click and drag downward. As you do so, you will see your list of cities appearing. Once you have all the cities that you want listed. Simply release your mouse button and the list of cities will be automatically entered into your cells.

Posted in Excel 2007, General Excel | Leave a comment

Video: Add Images to Excel Worksheets Using Comments

In this video tutorial, you will learn how

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to add images to Excel worksheets using the comments feature. This is useful if you wish to add images of products or people that you list in your worksheet.

Video: Deleting Data But Not Formulas in Excel

In this video tutorial we learn how to delete data from a

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worksheet but leave the formulas intact.

Posted in Functions and Formulas, General Excel | Leave a comment

Importing Text Files Into Excel

Have you ever had a list of names and addresses that were in plain old Microsoft Word format or a text file and you wished they were in Microsoft Excel? Instead of re-typing everything, you can just import a delimited file. Delimited means that

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the fields are separated by a comma, or a space or another symbol.

Let’s say you have data that looks like this:

Name Age Job Title
Bill 39 President
Tim 40 Vice President
Anne 37 Vice President

What we will do is copy that data to a text editor such as notepad or simply save it as a text (.txt) file.

What I will do next is separate the fields with commas.

Notepad with data delimited with commas

The next step is to save the text file. I saved my copy onto the desktop with the name data.txt. Now, let’s go into Excel. As you will see in the image below, I have chosen Open and then I have told Excel that I wish to open a file of the Text File type that resides on the desktop.

Once you have found the file you saved, open the file. You will then see the “Text Import Wizard” screen.

As you can see, the file type is already set to “delimited”. Now, click the “Next” button. On the next part of the text import wizard, we have to select how are data is delimited. If you recall, we used commas to delimit our data, so make sure you select Comma from the option list as seen in the image below. You will notice that you will see a preview of how your data will appear. Now click “Next”.

On step 3 of the text import wizard you will have the option of formatting your columns if you wish. For example, you may need a column in currency style, or date style etc. If you do, make those choices now. You can also format the columns later. If you don’t need such changes, or when you have finished making your changes, click “Finish”.

Voila! Your data appears in nice, neat Excel format. Make sure to make any chances that you wish such as bolding the headings, enlarging the columns etc. Here is my finished product.

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Remember, you do not have to use commas as your delimiter. You can use tabs, spaces, semi-colon or any symbol that you wish to use as a delimiter.

Posted in Excel 2007, General Excel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Using Excel’s Sum Function to Add a Range Of Cells

In this video tutorial, you will learn how

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to use the sum function in Excel to total up cells in a certain range.

Posted in Excel 2003, Excel 2007, Functions and Formulas | | Leave a comment

Excel 2007 Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting in Excel is used to change the look of certain cells, or the content of certain cells based on the data contained within. We’ll start off with a simple example. We’ll have a list of names and a grade. If the grade is 50 or higher, we will change the colour of the text to green. First we enter the data labels.

Next we must select the cells to which we wish to apply the conditional formatting.

Now we will click the Conditional Formatting button on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Next we will click on the button that says New Rule, then click on Format Only Cells That Contain. Your screen should appear as it does below.

How we will choose our parameters. Since we want to highlight cells where the grade is 50 or higher, we will choose Greater Than or Equal To and then we’ll type in the number 50 in the third box. The bottom part of your screen should look like the graphic below.

Now we will change the setting that will determine what will happen if the cell contents meet our requirement. Click on the Format button.

We want our text to change to green if the value of the cells is 50 or higher. So in the color box, choose green. Your screen should look like the image below.

Now click the OK button. Click OK on the next screen as well. You should now be back on your worksheet. Now enter the following

grades for each student.

Steve – 57
Robert – 46
Amanda – 93
Stephanie – 82
Scott

– 30

If our conditional formatting has worked correctly,

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anyone with a grade of 50 or higher should have their grade listed in green text as seen below.

That is a very basic tutorial on conditional formatting. There is much more you can do with conditional formatting. Please watch for more conditional formatting tutorials and videos coming soon.