Importance of Excel in Business & 4 Formatting Tips to Organize Your Data

Why is Excel Important in Business?

Perhaps you are a new business owner, and you have been carefully gathering all sorts of data concerning your new enterprise. Not only do you have each item in your inventory carefully tracked, but you also have kept a record of each transaction your customers have made with your new business. You also have kept meticulous records regarding each employee and the contributions they have made to your company thus far. The question remains, what do you do with this information? How do you use this information to make wise business decisions? How do you format and analyze the data to help you increase your bottom line?


What Excel conditional formatting formulas do you need to know to help you make decisions?

Tips to Help You Organize Data


Before clicking on the sorting icon in Excel, make sure you highlight the entire portion of the spreadsheet. For example, even if you only want to sort by the first column, highlight the first column as well as all the additional columns that have data in it. Otherwise, only the first column will be sorted, and it won’t match up with the appropriate data.

Go to the data bar, and from there chose the Sort icon.

A new menu will appear, and from there you can choose which column you would like to have sorted. You can also decide what type of sorting you use.

Note: you can also sort left to right as well as top to bottom.

Also, note that you can sort data by other means other than alphabetically or numerically. If each of your cells is assigned a color, you can sort by color. If each of your cells holds an icon, you can sort by an icon.

Custom Sorting

Sometimes you may want to sort a spreadsheet based on two variables. Perhaps you want first to have all the data alphabetized, and then you want the numbers associated with each name to be put in numeric order. This can be done with a custom sort.

Again, go to the data menu, and then next to the A to Z icon, you will find a drop-down arrow. This is where you can ask Excel to complete a custom sort.

Choose which column you would like to sort the data by first. When that is completed, click on the plus sign icon on the bottom left of the screen. Excel will ask you your second sort parameters. First, your data will be sorted by your first instructions, and then the data will be further organized by your second set of instructions. Data can also be sorted by days and dates as well.

Conditional Formatting

There are almost limitless possibilities on organizing your data when you use conditional formatting in Excel. Not only can you ask Excel to arrange using multiple layers, but the layers can be more complicated than numerical or alphabetical order.

Sort your data by whether it is greater than or lesser than a specific value. You can also choose to sort data if it is between two different values. You can sort data by text that contains a particular value or by dates occurring between two times. You can also sort by duplicate values. To see these and additional options, go under the home tab and then the styles group. Conditional formatting is available as an icon there.

Note: if your columns have headings, make sure you click on that choice on the top right of the screen. Otherwise, your column headings will be sorted with the rest of the data.

Organized Data

If you are a business owner, there are a plethora of reasons why you might want to organize your data. Perhaps you are seeking discounts from vendors. If you organize your inventory spreadsheet by what products you are purchasing from specific vendors, you may be able to order all those items at once to receive a discount.

Sales teams always need to organize and analyze data, mainly if their salespeople work on a commission. See where your salespeople rank at the touch of the button. Analyze who made the biggest sale of the week. See who made the most number of transactions over a given time.

Keep in mind that you should almost never need to manipulate data by hand when using Excel. It may take time to find the formula to complete the data manipulation you have in mind, but it’s available.