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Chapter 10. Working With Lists > Validating Data in a List

Validating Data in a List

You can enlist Excel's Office Assistant to help make sure the contents of a list meet your criteria for valid entries. For example, you may want to ensure that a zip code field contains only five digits. The validation tests are applied as items are added to your list.

To validate new entries in a list:

1.
Click a cell in the column to which you'd like to apply validation criteria (Figure 10.35).

Figure 10.35. Click a cell in the column that you wish to validate.


2.
Choose Data > Validation (Figure 10.36).

Figure 10.36. Invoke the Data Validation dialog box.


3.
In the Settings screen of the Data Validation dialog box, choose from the pop-up lists the criteria you wish to apply to the values entered in that column (Figure 10.37).

Figure 10.37. Set validation criteria.


4.
Click the Input Message tab, and enter the title and text of the message you want to pop up from the Assistant when a cell to be validated is selected (Figure 10.38).

Figure 10.38. Set the input message.


5.
Click the Error Alert tab. In this screen, you enter the title and text of the message you want to pop up if an incorrect value is entered.

You can choose whether you want a wrong value to prevent further work until corrected (Stop), provide a choice of whether or not to continue (Warning), or simply offer Information (Figure 10.39). Click OK when you're done.

Figure 10.39. Set the error alert.


When a new item is entered in the list and the appropriate cell is selected, the Input message pops up from the Assistant (Figure 10.40).

Figure 10.40. The Input message pops up.


If an incorrect value is entered, the Assistant displays the Error message (Figure 10.41).

Figure 10.41. The Error message responds to an incorrect value.



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