Microsoft Excel is an application that is often not fully appreciated by many business users who fail to understand what the package can offer if exploited correctly. A feature that can be particularly useful in the construction of databases, for example employee records, is the data validation function and, which properly implemented within a spreadsheet can provide a quick and easy bespoke alternative to other commercially available proprietary software.

Data validation is a highly customisable tool within Excel that allows definitions and restrictions to be set on the type and form of data entered into a cell. More specifically you can warn users when invalid data is entered into a cell, give help and instructions to the user on what data is required and, if deemed necessary, prevent users from inputting invalid data altogether. For example, it can be used to ensure that only valid national insurance numbers or tax codes are entered when using Excel to maintain employee records.

Following on from this, data validation can be used to control the minimum or maximum value entered into the database, so in the previous example we could set a floor and ceiling on employee annual salary or commission remuneration. Furthermore, drop-down lists can be created from a range of cells from elsewhere in the workbook thereby limiting data entry into a cell to a predefined set of items.

As a feature of Excel, data validation is extremely beneficial when the workbook is shared and worked on by a number people within a business. When necessary it can be set up so as to ensure the consistency and accuracy of the data entered in the workbook.

When combined with other advanced features such as protected worksheets, shared workbooks and interactive web spreadsheets, data validation allows businesses to setup spreadsheets for work on by multiple users in different physical locations whilst maintaining integrity of the data.

Excel training advanced courses focus on introducing elaborate and underused features contained within the application, leading to a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of Excel and the possibilities for customisation to the specific needs of a business.

The content of Excel advanced training courses allows the business user to unlock the full potential of Excel and develop custom solutions to business problems using a common software application that most employees will be familiar with, foregoing the need to invest in training on new programs.