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Analyzing Your Excel 2013 Data

Learn how you can use Excel to analyze and share the data you’re gathering. You can use features such as sparklines and conditional formatting to show in an instant how the data trends look, or you can construct formulas by using Excel’s functions to perform simple or complex calculations with your numeric data. Excel also makes it easy to report on and share your data via Power View Reports and PivotTables.

One of the great things about Microsoft Excel 2013—and maybe you’ve already noticed this—is that you can use the program to do all sorts of things, not just manipulate numbers. You can enter your grade book in Excel and keep track of student assignments. You can manage your inventory using it. You can keep track of your checkbook, do sophisticated data analyses, or manage data, none of which necessarily has to have anything at all to do with numbers. This section shows you how you can use Excel to analyze and share the data you’re gathering. You can use features such as sparklines and conditional formatting to show in an instant how the data trends look, or you can construct formulas by using Excel’s functions to perform simple or complex calculations with your numeric data. Excel also makes it easy to report on and share your data via Power View Reports and PivotTables.

Using conditional formatting to showcase data trends

Conditional formatting makes it easy for you to see how your data is shaping up in different ways. You can display values as data bars of different colors, using a color scale to display differences in data. Additionally, you can display icons in the cells (such as an up arrow or down arrow), add greater-than or less-than symbols, highlight the top or bottom percent of values shown, or clear the formatting altogether. Conditional formatting is fun to apply and easy to use, and it can help those who are unfamiliar with your worksheet see easily what your data shows.

Highlight data results

  1. Open an Excel workbook and drag to select the values that you want to format.

  2. Click the Home tab.

  3. Click Conditional Formatting.

  4. Point to Highlight Cells Rules.

  5. In the options menu that appears, click the type of rule that you want to apply.

  6. If necessary, click to change the data range.

  7. Click the down arrow next to the formatting list box to display your conditional formatting choices and select the format that you want to apply.

  8. Click OK to apply the format to the cells.

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Display data bars

  1. Drag to select the cells for which you want to display conditional formatting.

  2. Click the Home tab.

  3. Click Conditional Formatting.

  4. Point to Data Bars.

  5. Click the data bar style that you want to apply in the options list that appears.

Add icon sets

  1. Drag to select the values that you want to format.

  2. Click the Home tab.

  3. Click Conditional Formatting.

  4. Point to Icon Sets.

  5. In the options menu that appears, click the icon set style that you want to apply.