Hi! Welcome to The Data Are Alright, a blog about tips and tricks for changemakers. Most of you found your way here through Google (this is my most popular article, so it seems like LOTS of people need help with this feature) – and you’re in the right place! While you’re here, why not check out some of my other popular posts and consider subscribing?
- How social justice makes me a better database admin
- Why changemakers need good data
- 4 part series on Mail Merge
- 3 part series on digital self-care
Okay, okay, I admit it, I used to be a staunch Excel snob who would turn up her nose at Google Sheets… so much so that I didn’t even realize that core Excel functions are now available in Google Sheets (like pivot tables! and vlookups!). My, my, my how the … tables have turned! So let’s dig into the Tables functionality and why they’re important for changemakers managing a spreadsheet…
- In Tables (as opposed to regular old spreadsheets), rows alternate colors, which makes them prettier AND easier for your eyes to track
- Tables offset your Column Titles in a darker color
- Tables make it super easy to sort and filter your data
- When you sort and filter your data, you can find blank cells and inconsistencies (and more!) I’ll save sorting and filtering for another blog post, but trust me, you can do all kinds of awesome things with this feature combo.
Tables in Excel (refresher)
Excel makes “Format as table” really simple. All you have to do is select the data that belong in your table, and then click “CTRL + T” (Windows) or “Apple + T” (Mac). Alternatively, there’s a Format as Table button in the standard toolbar.
Tables in Google Sheets
Unfortunately, Sheets doesn’t have a “one stop shop” for Tables. Here are two very simple steps that give you a lot of the same functionality, but with added Google benefits, like being free, cloud based, and shareable with multiple collaborators.
From this point forward, as you add additional data to your rows or columns, Google Sheets will automatically incorporate your data into the alternating color theme.
Also, you can use those handy striped triangles in your column header to select, sort and filter down your data so that you can see just the important segments at any given time. This becomes really useful if you want to see JUST the “RSVP Maybes” or just the people who haven’t been called.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I have some exciting TDAA projects up my sleeves, so stay tuned for more!