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Chapter 24. Excel Essentials > Restricting and Validating Data Entry for a Cell...

Restricting and Validating Data Entry for a Cell or Range

When designing a worksheet, you'll occasionally want to restrict the type of data users can enter in a specific cell or range. Excel lets you define data-validation rules for cells and ranges to do exactly that. Examples of useful applications include the following:

  • In a list of recent sales results formatted to show only month and date, restrict entry in a specific column to only dates within the last month. This technique prevents users from inadvertently entering a date in the wrong month or year, or in the future.

  • On a budget worksheet, require that the user enter a department name and restrict allowed entries to a specific list. You can add a drop-down arrow to a cell with this type of restriction so users can pick from a list.

  • For purchase orders, check the amount a user enters against his or her authorized spending limit—say, $500. If the amount is over the limit, display a message that directs them to talk to a supervisor or re-enter the amount.

  • Ask a user to enter a description in a form; to keep data to a manageable length, restrict the total number of characters the user can enter and display a warning message if the description exceeds that length.

  • On an invoice form, allow a salesperson to enter an optional discount for good customers, but only if the amount before sales tax is over $100. Compare the entry in the Discount field with a formula that calculates the total purchases to validate the entry.



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