Aunt Sally and Her Stuffed Animals Love Microsoft Excel

Posted on in Software

This was written about a fictional character, Aunt Sally, who wants to organize information regarding her stuffed animal collection into a database.

Aunt Sally sure has a lot of things in mind for her stuffed animal spreadsheet. The first task she needs to accomplish is sorting the data to her specifications. She can do this using the Sort tool in the Data menu (or ribbon in the Microsoft Excel 2007 parlance). Since she has so many columns in her data, she'll need to decide how she wants to prioritize each column. She'll need to sort the Name column alphabetically, and then Date Purchased ascending, and so on. This is probably the most complicated of her changes, but will also have the biggest impact.

Additionally, Sally's husband and daughter would like some questions answered. Bob would like to know how much has been spent on the collection over the years. Using the SUM() function, Sally can add all the values of the Purchase Price column together and get a total for the entire collection. Her daughter wants to know when she started the collection. One way to do this is to temporarily resort the table so that the lowest (i.e. oldest) value in the Date Purchased column is at the top. An alternative option that does not require resorting the entire table is to use the MIN() function to find the minimum value in a range of cells. Using this on the entire Date Purchased column should return the oldest value.

Finally, Sally wants to quickly find the stuffed animals that were purchased before the year 2000. This is the job of Conditional Formatting. Using the Conditional Formatting tool in the Home ribbon (Microsoft Excel 2007), Sally can change the background color of all cells in the Date Purchased column who's value is less than 01/01/2000. She would like change the formatting in one cell, and then use the Format Painter to spread that format to the rest of the cells in the Date Purchased column.

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