Data editing basics

Build a spreadsheet by entering and editing data, such as numbers, text, dates, times, and formulas.

You can enter data in the cell or the formula bar when the cell is selected. When you enter data in a cell, you must confirm your entry by pressing the Enter key or clicking outside of the cell.

Top section of a spreadsheet showing that, as you type in data, it is displayed in both the cell and formula bar.

You edit an entry by double-clicking the cell or by clicking the formula bar when the cell is selected.

Entering numbers as text

If the first character you enter is a number, the assumption is that you are entering a value you want to use in calculations. Any entry that combines letters with numbers is treated as text and is left-aligned in the cell.

Sometimes you want numbers you enter to be treated as text: for example, you might want to use calendar years such as 2011,2012 and 2012 as column headings, or enter a postal code that begins with zero. In a spreadsheet, a starting zero is removed from a number unless the number is recognized as text.

To enter numbers as text, you must start your entry with an apostrophe (’). The apostrophe is not shown in the cell, but is shown in the formula bar when you select a cell that contains it.

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