Here are a few habits you should get into when entering data into an Excel worksheet:
1) Always have headers for your data. You will need them when you sort, filter or pivot your data.
2) Make sure your headers are on one row (or one column if your data is organized horizontally).If you want your header to appear over two lines, use Alt-Enter to force a soft carriage return.
3) Never have a completely blank row or column in the middle of your data set. Excel uses an ‘auto-sense’ to figure out where your data ends. As soon as it comes to a completely blank row or column, it believes it has come to the end of your data set. If you don’t catch it, you could be caught very short because you are analyzing an incomplete data set.
4) Format your data properly. Don’t settle for ‘General’, which is Excel’s default. Choose Number, or Currency, or Text, or whatever format is appropriate.
5) If you know you are going to be using Pivot Tables, keep your data as ‘flat’ as possible. Don’t insert subtotals or other ‘dimensional’ data.
6) Decide how you are going to blank cells in your data set. Blank cells are not entirely harmless–they can impact your computational results!
Good habits make your life easier!