Let Excel Instruct Users How to Enter Data

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN


I prepare very complex spreadsheets. Before data can be added or amended in some cells, a user must be briefed with special instructions, which are different for each cell. Is there some convenient way to attach short, customized directions for each cell so any staff person can input data in my files?

 

You can do it several ways, but I think Excel’s Data Validation tool does it best. You can program it to display a popup memo with your instructions and then disappear after data are entered. The screenshot below illustrates what a Data Validation pop–up memo looks like when cell A1 is highlighted.

To set up the program, click on Data , Validation . Be sure the Input Message tab is displayed and there is a check at Show input message when cell is selected . In the Title box enter a name for the message or the name of the file owner. Then add the full instructions in the Input message box and click on OK .

Stanley Zarowin is a contributing editor to the JofA . His e-mail address is stanley.joatech@gmail.com.

 
 
 


 

 

SPONSORED REPORT

Revenue recognition: A complex effort

Implementing the new standard requires careful judgment. Learn how to make significant accounting judgments and document them and collaborate with peers for consistent application.

TECHNOLOGY Q&A

How to create maps in Excel 2016

Microsoft Excel 2016 has two new mapping capabilities. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, demonstrates how to make masterful 2D and 3D maps in Excel 2016.

QUIZ

News quiz: Economy and health care changes top CPAs’ list

CPA decision-makers’ economic outlook and the House Republicans’ proposed tax changes as part of replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act received attention recently. See how much you know with this short quiz.