Practical Application: Creating & Modifying a Table in Excel

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Tables inside of Excel worksheets - does that seem strange? Definitely not! In this activity, you read and analyze two scenarios for creating and modifying tables, a resource that makes Excel even more useful.

Table Talk

In the course, Excel: Skills Development & Training, you learned more about working with worksheets and workbooks and the tools available to customize them and make them more effective. One of those tools is the presence of the table option.

You're probably asking yourself, ''Why do I need to make a table inside a program that is basically all about tables?'' I hear you, but hear me. Excel tables offer special functionality that regular old Excel worksheets don't have!

Maybe you need to see it for yourself. In the following section, you'll find two scenario-based activities focused on creating and modifying tables in Excel. Analyze the scenarios and then answer the questions provided. Continue reading for an explanation of how to create or modify a table in each fictional situation. Then, using the scenario as a pattern, you'll be challenged to create or modify a table of your own. Let's get started!

Excel Table Scenarios

Create a Table

Rachel is the manager of food service operations for 20 elementary, junior high and high schools across her county. She is trying to revamp the schools' cafeteria program by determining what items the kids like best and what they avoid. In particular, she is testing the popularity of three types of fruit: oranges, apples and bananas, and three entrees: hamburgers, pizza and tacos. She needs an efficient way to track this data, to sort and filter it so that she can get an accurate picture, and a way to easily add more rows of data without having to reformat her entire document. Do you have any ideas on how Rachel can accomplish this?

  1. How can a table help Rachel accomplish her goals?
  2. What are the steps involved in creating a table in Excel?
  3. What table options are accessible in this spreadsheet program?

Using a table in an Excel spreadsheet, Rachel can easily enter her data, sort and filter it in a number of ways and format it to make it more visually appealing. To get started, you simply open a new worksheet, and click on its first cell. Now, look for ''Insert'' in the Excel tool bar at the top. Choose ''Table'' in the dropdown menu and determine how many rows and columns you'd like to start with. Pro tip: Check the box that says ''Headers'', which will give you title space for each of your columns. Now, you (or Rachel) can start adding data to the table. Tables give you instant formatting options such as colors, shading and borders - especially important if you want to add more data; there's no need to reformat everything! You can also sort and filter data in a table more easily than in a spreadsheet that requires multiple steps in order to turn your data into what you want it to be.

Now, it's your turn. Open your worksheet and navigate to ''Insert'' and place a table in your spreadsheet. Fill the table with data you make up from Rachel's food tracking system. For example, input a number of apples, oranges and bananas for each of the 20 schools in her county. Now you can practice sorting the data for the highest and lowest numbers in each column, for example. Try adding five additional rows for new schools that were just built in Rachel's county.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account