Fixing Excel Data – Text to Rows and Fill Down

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Excel spreadsheets are used at almost every level of business.  As such spreadsheets are created by people with different goals and different levels of familiarity.  What many don’t realize is that excel is primarily a data processing and information storage tool.  Excel is much like a database and is most effective when data is stored as one would store information in a database.  The problem is that data in a database isn’t necessarily that presentable.  So many people input information into excel and attempt to format it for presentation.  Many people create groups and merge cells or insert multiple entries into a single cell and then apply special formatting.  The down side is when someone wants to use the graphing and report building features of excel the combined or grouped data isn’t accessible because it is either missing from cells due to cell merging or each entry isn’t accessible on its own because it has been entered into a single cell.  The best method is to treat the data as a database and ensure that each cell in a column has data in it relative to the cells in the row so that a complete record is available.  Then use the grouping and pivot table features to create reports that are presentable and much more functional because the data can be grouped and categorized in two dimensions.

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