Excel provides the ability to connect a cell to data entered into another cell. A linked cell behaves as if it actually contains the data in the original cell. A reference that refers to the same cell or range on multiple sheets is called a 3-D reference. A 3-D reference is a useful and convenient way to reference several worksheets that follow the same pattern while cells on each worksheet contain the same type of data. Grouping worksheets is an important skill to have for many more reasons than creating 3-D formulas. Creating names for cells can make formulas between worksheets and workbooks much easier to understand and maintain. You can define a name for a cell range, function, constant, or table. A 3D named range is a name that spans more than one worksheet.
Although you can copy and paste data from one Excel file to another, you can also create a link between two files or workbooks. When you create a link between files, the copied data updates when the original data changes. Once links between workbooks are created, the links have to be maintained if the source files are moved or renamed. The consolidate function in Excel combines information from multiple workbooks into one place. The Excel consolidated function lets you select data from its various locations and creates a table to summarize the information for you.
We all collect data and store it in multiple workbooks and in multiple worksheets. Summarizing data within a single worksheet is done on a regular basis. But at times, you may want to combine data from multiple workbooks and worksheets into a YTD summary or consolidate data from multiple worksheets in a single worksheet. Excel has many options for linking and consolidating data in Excel workbooks that allow you to create these summary reports.
Linking and consolidating data in Excel workbooks is an important skill for those who use Excel on a regular basis. Linking data can be used to prevent holding many copies of the same data. It is an excellent method of showing a summary of up to date data.
Cathy Horwitz is an independent consultant specializing in Microsoft Office instruction. She has over 30 years of experience as a Microsoft Office instructor. She is proficient in all levels of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access. She holds a degree in Psychology and a Master in Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Human Resources. She has worked for Zenith Data Systems for 17 years and for a Zenith distributor when personal computers were first introduced. Zenith established a computer division and began manufacturing and selling personal computers. She was involved in software training from the very beginning. She has been training as an independent consultant since 1993.
Cathy’s strengths include customizing classes based on the needs of individual students and providing realistic business examples to complement the training. She is a high energy trainer with a flair for training the adult student. When not training, Cathy enjoys gardening and refinishing vintage furniture.