10 Benefits of Converting Your Data into Excel Tables

When you are working with a set of a related data set, the easiest way to manage and analyze them is to use the table feature. By using Excel tables, you can manage data in the table rows and columns independently from the data on the outside of the table on the worksheet.

You may also want to see our article 10 Microsoft Excel Tips to Save Time and Work Faster.

Convert the data into excel table

You can use one of the following two methods to convert Excel data into a table.

  1. Select the dataset and got to Insert and select table option in the table group.
  2. Select the dataset and press Ctrl+T

How to insert a Table in Excel


The main benefits of converting data into Excel tables will be explained under the following topics.

  1. Always visible Header Row
  2. Banded rows and formatting
  3. Sorting and filtering
  4. Using calculated columns
  5. Total row and calculating table data
  6. Inserting and deleting rows and columns
  7. Using structured reference
  8. Easy data entering
  9. Ensuring data integrity
  10. Dynamic charts

01. Always visible Header Row

When you scroll down your table and when the header row of the table goes underneath the ribbon, the default column title of Excel (A, B, C…) turs into your table’s columns titles.

Always Visible Header in Excel

02. Banded rows and formatting

When you convert your range of data into an Excel table, by default the Excel shades every other row in the table making them easy to read. You can turn on/off the banded-row option from Table Style Options under the Design tab. You can also have banded columns. The style of the table can be changed from the Table Styles option under the Design tab.

Banded rows and formatting in Excel


03. Sorting and filtering

When you convert a set of data into an Excel table, the filter drop-down lists are automatically added to the header row of the table. You can sort data ascending/ descending order, by color and you can set custom sort order. You can also filter the table data and show only the required set of data. The filter buttons can turn on/off at any time by using the filter button checkbox in the Design tab.

Excel Sorting and Filtering


04. Calculated columns

If you enter a formula in a cell, that formula is applied to all the other cells in that table column. This column named as a calculated column. The calculated column automatically extend to include the additional rows added to the table.

Using Calculated Columns in Excel

05. Total row and calculating table data

The “total row” can be turned on/ off from the checkbox in the design tab. You can quickly do the calculations by selecting the required function from the drop-down menu. You can access the all other excel function from the “more functions…” options in the bottom of the drop-down menu. If you apply a filter, the total row only shows the calculations for the visible data.

The keyboard shortcut for total row is Ctrl+Shift+T

Excel otal row and calculating table data

06. Inserting and deleting rows and columns

In Excel tables, you can insert/delete columns or rows without affecting other parts of the worksheet i.e. the column insert inside the table does not continue to the section below the table.

There are a number of ways that you can add columns and rows into tables. Among them, using mouse right button will be the easiest way.

To add a new row below the last row of the table, you can simply use the “Tab” key of the keyboard.

Inserting and deleting rows and columns in Excel tables

07. Using structured reference

When you use Excel tables, you can use table name and names of columns in functions i.e. instead of =SUM(E2:E6) you can use =SUM(Table12[Line Total]). With the structured reference, the function itself clearly explain what it does. This is more useful when you are working with a large number of Excel sheets.

Using structured reference in Excel

08. Easy data entering

It is very easy to do data entry tasks with excel tables. When you enter data to a new row at the end of the table, the table is automatically expanded to include that row. The always visible header row also an advantage. You can also generate a data entry form connected to the Excel table to make the data entry more simple.

Excel easy data entering

09. Ensuring data integrity

You can apply data validation to specific columns in the Excel table. For example, you can add data validation rule to a column to accept only values with text length greater than 3.

Excel table ensuring data integrity

10. Dynamic charts

As explained in above 8th point, when adding a new row next to the last row of the table the table dynamically expands to include that row. As such, if you create a chart based on an Excel table the chart is also updated with the new values you added to the table.

Excel Dynamic Charts

7 thoughts on “10 Benefits of Converting Your Data into Excel Tables”

  1. I have been working with excel for years, and still on a daily basis, and I have always wondered how to do number 1. How do I freeze just the top header row without using the freeze panes options?? I have freezing the panes because it freezes way too much freaking data. any help would be awesome

  2. I was always reluctant to use excel due to the fact that I found its functions confusing and baffling at times. I always avoided excel at all costs. This page have made me fond it. It is such a versatile listing of benefits I was never aware of. All the instructions and directions and given in quite detail which can be easily understood by people even like me. Thanks!

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