Introducing Excel’s Three Types of Spreadsheet Databases

Nov 4, 2013

Excel offers at least three ways to set up data so your reports and analyses can use it easily as a reliable data source.

Charley Kyd is a Microsoft Excel MVP by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP

Excel offers three general ways to arrange data in your spreadsheet so you can use it as a database with your worksheet formulas:

  1. Simple (or “Gray Cell”) Tables, which I’ve used since Excel 2.0.
  2. Excel Tables, introduced in Excel 2007.
  3. PivotTables with a Tabular Report Layout, introduced in Excel 2010.

Database experts likely would be offended by my calling any of these a “database.” After all, these three spreadsheet databases are easy to set up and use…not at all like a “real” database. Even so, these databases work like a real database for your Excel formulas. If your reports and analyses can get their data from one of these types of spreadsheet databases, you can improve your reporting and analyses significantly.

In this article, I’ll introduce each type of spreadsheet database. Then in future posts, I’ll go into greater detail.

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Source: ExcelUser