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Chapter 3. Entering and Editing Data > Common Problems and Solutions

Common Problems and Solutions

As you're entering various types of data into your worksheets, problems will inevitably arise. Here are some of the errors you might encounter with your own data entry tasks and possible solutions you can apply.

Q1:When I enter data into a cell, number signs appear.
A1: Your cell is too narrow to display the data. Widen the column by choosing Format, Column, Autofit Selection.
Q2:When I enter a value, Excel adds decimals.
A2: The fixed decimal options is on. To switch it off, choose Tools, Options, and click the Edit tab. Deselect the Fixed Decimal check box, and then click OK to exit.
Q3:When I enter a date, Excel turns it into a number.
A3: Make sure you're entering the date in a format Excel accepts (such as 6/25/98 or 6 Jun 98). See the section "Entering Text and Values."
Q4:When I try to undo an action with the Edit, Undo command, nothing happens.
A4: You must use the command immediately after performing the action. If you wait, you might inadvertently perform other actions. If you remember how many tasks you've performed since the original action, use the Undo button's drop-down list to select the action and undo the task.
Q5:When I delete a cell's contents, the entire cell is deleted
A5: To delete only the contents of a cell, use the Edit, Clear command not Edit, Delete.
Q6:When I delete a row, my formulas show errors.
A6: Make sure you didn't delete a cell reference used by the formula. If you did, an error such as #REF appears in the formula cells. To make sure you don't inadvertently delete cell references, select the row or column you want to delete, choose Edit, Go To, and select the Special option. Next, select the Dependents Direct Only option and click OK. If Excel displays the No cells found message, you can delete the row or column without effecting your formula(s).
Q7:When I choose Edit, Fill, Series, the entire range is filled with the same text.
A7: Excel's Fill feature might not be able to recognize the fill pattern you're trying to establish. Make sure you're using an acceptable fill series. See the section "Using AutoFill" for more details.
Q8:When I press Enter after building a formula, Excel displays an alert box saying an error exists.
A8: Re-examine the formula, did you remember to use the correct operators and cell references? To find the most common formula errors, press F1 and consult Excel's Office Assistant.
Q9:When I enter a name in a formula, the #NAME? error is displayed.
A9: Make sure you typed the correct name and that the name has been defined correctly. Also make sure the name hasn't been accidentally deleted. Do not enclose the name in quotation marks.
Q10:I want to use a range I labeled with the Insert, Name, Label command in a formula, but when I add new cells to the range, the formula doesn't change to reflect the new data.
A10: Range labels are not updated automatically. To update the formula results, select the formula cell and press F2, and press Enter.



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