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.

VIDEO

How to Excel pivot a general ledger

The general ledger is a vast historical data archive of your company's financial activities, including revenue, expenses, adjustments, and account balances. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, shows how to prepare data for, and mine data with, PivotTables.

QUIZ

News quiz: Taking an economic snapshot and looking to the future

Recent news included IRS actions that affect individuals and partnerships and a possibly influential move by a Big Four accounting firm.Take this short quiz to see how much you know about the news.