2.1 How a Table Differs From a Range of Cells – Intermediate Excel 2016

How a Table Differs from a Range of Cells
When you create an Excel table in a worksheet, it enables you to manage and analyze data, filter, sort, and add row shading to emphasize important data.
FIGURE 1 below shows an example of an Excel table. Notice those downward pointing arrows; they are used for sorting and filtering the data in that column. 
What is the difference between a range of cells and a table?
Visually, the table will be characterized by downward pointing arrows in the various columns and various rows/columns are highlighted. A range of cells is simply a series of columns and/or rows that could be used as a data source but does not have any of the aforementioned features of a table. More table features are described below.
From a functional standpoint, the additional features of the table include the following:

  • Activating any cell in the table gives you access to the Table Tools contextual tab on the Ribbon. The cells contain background color and text color formatting (optional).
  • Each column header contains a Filter Button, which is a drop-down list that you can use to sort the data or filter the table to display only rows that meet certain criteria. Displaying the Filter Button is optional.
  • You can create easy to use Slicers to simplify filtering data.
  • If the active cell is within the table, when you scroll down the sheet so that the header row disappears, the table headers replace the column letters in the worksheet header.
  • Tables support calculated columns. A single formula in a column is automatically propagated to all cells in the column.
  • Tables support structured references. Instead of using cell references, formulas can use table names and column headers.
  • The lower-right corner of the lower-right cell contains a small control that you can click and drag to extend the table’s size, either horizontally (add more columns) or vertically (add more rows).
  • Selecting rows and columns within the table is simplified.
This is the end of this section. To continue, go to Module 2 Section 2.2  Creating a Table Using a Range of Data; Practice Exercise 9