Unlock Reams of Helpful Data by Learning Excel Data Types

Unlock Reams of Helpful Data by Learning Excel Data Types

There’s a lot of work that businesses do that’s driven by facts, figures, and information. 

For example, if you’re a contractor, you may need to know statistics about things like soil quality and terrain. If you work in the medical field, you may have to regularly look up IDC-9 or 10 codes. For restaurants or hospitality businesses, it may be necessary to know the caloric content and recommended daily allowances for various recipes. 

Researching information can take a lot of time, then once you find it, you must transpose or copy/paste it into another document, such as a spreadsheet. The entire process of simply creating the nutritional details for a recipe can take hours.

OR… if you use a handy tool in Excel, you could do that in minutes instead!

If you use Microsoft 365, then you have access to a feature in Excel called Data Types. This feature puts reams of facts and figures about a wide variety of topics at your fingertips.

Need to look up nutritional content for a list of ingredients? Just turn those ingredients into the data type “Foods” and you can pull in all the information into your spreadsheet at the click of a button.

One of the reasons to work with a local IT company is that we are always on the lookout for tools and features that can save our clients time and money. Data Types is one of these.

We’ll go through how Data Types work and how you can use this feature to save time on various information-gathering activities for your business.

Why Haven’t I Heard About Data Types?

There are all kinds of features packed into Microsoft 365, so you may have missed this one in Excel. It’s tucked away in the Data tab of the menu.

Another reason that Data Types hasn’t been a big area of focus for many IT professionals until recently is that it used to only offer two main data types (stocks & geography), making it much less useful.

Now the feature has over 18+ data types, which boosts its usefulness factor significantly. The data types represented could be used in just about any type of industry including:

  • Restaurants/hospitality
  • Medical industry
  • Architectural, engineering, construction
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Research & development
  • Health & fitness
  • Financial industry
  • Agricultural fields
  • Art & music
  • Government
  • and many more

What Are Data Types in Excel?

Data Types are a classification of data. Microsoft will link a classification of data to a specific cloud database full of information about that particular subject. 

So, if you classify your list of data about constellations as the data type “Space,” it will then connect you (right inside Excel) to a database of facts about constellations and other space entities (galaxies, planets, stars, etc.). 

You currently have a wide range of data types available to use in Excel, and each of these data types can connect to a variety of list items.

For example, you can use the Medical data type to access information about:

  • Diseases
  • Medical Tests
  • ICD-9 and ICD-10 Codes
  • Cognitive Tasks

You can find a full list of types of data you can use for each Data Type here

Here’s an overview of the data types you can access in Excel:

  • Anatomy
  • Animals
  • Automatic (automatically detects things like books and other media)
  • Chemistry
  • Cities
  • Currencies
  • Foods
  • Geography
  • Locations
  • Medical
  • Movies
  • People 
  • Plants
  • Space
  • Stocks 
  • Terrain
  • Universities
  • Yoga

How Do I Use Excel Data Types in Microsoft 365?

Using Data Types in Excel is simple. 

  1. First, type out your list of items (foods, chemicals, universities, city names, etc.)
  2. Highlight your list and choose Data, from the menu, then click to choose the appropriate Data Type from the list.
  1. Once you click the data type, you’ll see a small icon appear next to each item in your list, this designates the data type. 
  2. If you see a question mark, then you may need to use the right-hand panel to clarify your data so Excel knows what to choose.
  3. Highlight your list and click the small database icon that appears at the top, left of the first selected cell.
  4. This opens a range of various facts and figures that you can choose from.
  5. When you choose an item, it populates into the next available column on the right for all selected fields.
  1. Populate as much data as you like by repeating the process.

What If I Get a Question Mark or No Data for an Item?

In some cases, you may have not been specific enough about your item and Excel may need more information to connect you to the right data. For example, there may be two universities with the same name:

In some cases, the database may have information for some of your entries on a specific fact, but not others. In this case, it will populate the information that it has. 

Learn How to Optimize Your Use of the Cloud with B-Comp Services

B-Comp Services can help your Denver area business take full advantage of your cloud tools, like Microsoft 365 to unlock time and money savings.

Contact us today to discuss your cloud solutions. Call at 303-282-4934 or contact us online.