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### Understanding Types of Data Entries

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As you know from Chapter 1, “Understanding Excel Worksheets (Spreadsheets),” each worksheet consists of multiple rows and columns that intersect to form boxes, called cells. For a worksheet to do something useful, its cells must contain data entries: text, numbers, dates, and so on. Following is a list of the various types of data you can enter in the cells, along with a brief description of each type:

Labels (text) are nonnumerical entries. Labels are commonly used for worksheet titles, column headings, and row headings. They can include the names of people or places, or any other text that is not to be treated as a number or date.

Values (numbers) are numerical entries, including dollar amounts, percentages, or fractions. Whenever a value begins with a number and contains no text, Excel treats it as a value. When entering values, simply type the number. Later, you can format the cell to tell Excel to treat the number as a dollar amount, percentage, or fraction.

Dates are numerical or text entries that specify a particular day of the year. Dates typically include numbers separated by forward slashes or dashes—for example, 4/15/03 or 2-27-04.

Times are numerical entries that specify a particular time of day. Times typically include numbers separated by a colon—for example, 9:10 for nine o’clock and ten minutes or 10:15:35 for ten o’clock, fifteen minutes, and thirty-five seconds.

Formulas are mathematical strings that tell Excel how to perform an equation that uses values from other cells in the worksheet. For example, the formula =D5+D6+D7 tells Excel to total the values in cells D5, D6, and D7. Excel displays the formula’s result in the cell that contains the formula.

Functions are a type of mathematical shorthand that handles complex equations with less input from you. Like formulas, all functions begin with an equal sign.