Entering Data Into Cells

Data Default Alignment

When you enter data into a cell Excel has default settings to align the data depending on the data type.

Text is aligned Left by default.
Dates, Times and Numbers are aligned right by default.

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Enter Text Into A Cell

To enter text into a cell select the cell and type your text. You will see your text in both the cell and in the Formula Bar. Enter Data1 If the your text is to long for the column width it will be visible in the next cell provided the next cell has no data. When you finish entering your data press Enter or click away from the cell.

Enter Multiple Lines of Text in One Cell

When you enter text into a cell you will mostly use one line of text but if you want to have the text in a cell appear on two or more lines you can easily insert a line break.

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Type in you text as before but this time instead of pressing Enter press Alt + Enter. This will take you to a new line but remain in the same cell.
When you use this method to enter text it is not always possible to see all of your text in the Formula Bar. To expand the Formula Bar click the arrow at the end of the Formula Bar or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+U

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Enter Numbers To A Cell

Entering numbers to a cell is very much the same as entering text. The main difference you will notice is that by default Excel will align the number to the right of the cell.

Numbers are represented in many different ways.
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When you add a number to a cell it will appear as a normal number provided the cell hasn’t been previously formatted. You can change the representation of the number the following ways.

Select the cell(s).
Right click the cell and select Format Cells or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+1
This will display the Excel options dialog box.

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Select the number tab and choose whatever number format you require.


After selecting the cell(s) you can also format the number using the number section located in the Home tab.

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Entering Dates and Times Into A Cell

Dates and times are extremely important in a worksheet especially if you are going to be using formulas to calculate them.
Your regional settings affect how Excel interprets the date. In countries that represent dates using the Month/Day/Year format. 18/03/2014 would be interpreted as a text entry because there are only 12 months in a year and the number 18 is representing the months.

Select the cell in where you want to enter a date.
Type the day, month and year (or month, day and year depending on your regional settings) separate each number with a slash (/) or a hyphen (-).
Press Enter.

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You can also use the keyboard shortcut to enter the current date Ctrl + ; (semi-colon)


Click the cell in where you want to enter a time.

24 hour clock

Type the hour and minute separated by a colon :

Enter Data9.bmp

12 hour clock

Type the hour and minute separated by a colon : 
Press the spacebar and type am or pm
Press Enter.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut to enter the current time Ctrl + Shift + ; (semi-colon)

Dates and times in Excel are recorded as serial numbers. We will look at this in more depth in another article.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Expand the Formula Bar
Ctrl + Shift + U

Enter The Current Date
Ctrl + ; (semi-colon)

Enter The Current Time
Ctrl + Shift + ; (semi-colon)

Open Excel Options Dialog Box
Ctrl + 1