Overview of Excel tables

Overview of Excel tables

To make managing and analyzing a group of related data easier, you can turn a range of cells into an Excel table (previously known as an Excel list).

Example of data formatted as an Excel table

Notes: 

  • Excel tables should not be confused with the data tables that are part of a suite of what-if analysis commands. For more information about data tables, see Calculate multiple results with a data table.

  • You cannot create or insert tables in a shared workbook.

Learn about the elements of an Excel table

A table can include the following elements:

  • Header row    By default, a table has a header row. Every table column has filtering enabled in the header row so that you can filter or sort your table data quickly. For more information, see Filter data or Sort data.

    Sort or apply a filter to the table

    You can turn off the header row in a table. For more information, see Turn Excel table headers on or off.

  • Banded rows    Alternate shading or banding in rows helps to better distinguish the data.

    Excel table with header data, but not selected with the My table has headers option, so Excel added default header names like Column1, Column2.

  • Calculated columns    By entering a formula in one cell in a table column, you can create a calculated column in which that formula is instantly applied to all other cells in that table column. For more information, see Use calculated columns in an Excel table.

    Add a single formula in a table cell that will autocomplete to create a calculated column

  • Total row    Once you add a total row to a table, Excel gives you an AutoSum drop-down list to select from functions such as SUM, AVERAGE, and so on. When you select one of these options, the table will automatically convert them to a SUBTOTAL function, which will ignore rows that have been hidden with a filter by default. If you want to include hidden rows in your calculations, you can change the SUBTOTAL function arguments.

    For more information, also see Total the data in an Excel table.

    Example of selecting a Total Row formula from the Total Row formula drop-down list

  • Sizing handle    A sizing handle in the lower-right corner of the table allows you to drag the table to the size that you want.

    Drag the resize handle to resize your table

    For other ways to resize a table, see Resize a table by adding rows and columns.

Create a table

You can create as many tables as you want in a spreadsheet.

To quickly create a table in Excel, do the following:

  1. Select the cell or the range in the data.

  2. Select Home > Format as Table.

  3. Pick a table style.

  4. In the Format as Table dialog box, select the checkbox next to My table as headers if you want the first row of the range to be the header row, and then click OK.

Also watch a video on creating a table in Excel.

Working efficiently with your table data

Excel has some features that enable you to work efficiently with your table data:

  • Using structured references    Instead of using cell references, such as A1 and R1C1, you can use structured references that reference table names in a formula. For more information, see Using structured references with Excel tables.

  • Ensuring data integrity     You can use the built-in data validation feature in Excel. For example, you may choose to allow only numbers or dates in a column of a table. For more information on how to ensure data integrity, see Apply data validation to cells.

Export an Excel table to a SharePoint site

If you have authoring access to a SharePoint site, you can use it to export an Excel table to a SharePoint list. This way other people can view, edit, and update the table data in the SharePoint list. You can create a one-way connection to the SharePoint list so that you can refresh the table data on the worksheet to incorporate changes that are made to the data in the SharePoint list. For more information, see Export an Excel table to SharePoint.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Format an Excel table

Excel table compatibility issues

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