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Statistical Analysis with Excel® For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Joseph Schmuller

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Appendix A. When Your Worksheet Is a Database

In This Chapter

  • Databases in Excel

  • Statistics in databases

  • Pivot tables

Excel's main function in life is to perform calculations. As the chapters in this book show, many of those calculations revolve around built-in statistical capabilities.

You can also set up a worksheet to store information in something like a database, although Excel is not as sophisticated as a dedicated database package. Excel offers database functions that are much like its statistical functions, so I thought I'd familiarize you with them.

Introducing Excel Databases

Strictly speaking, Excel provides a data list. This is an array of worksheet cells into which you enter related data in a uniform format. You organize the data in columns, and you put a name at the top of each column. In database terminology, each named column is a field. Each row is a separate record.

This type of structure is useful for keeping inventories, as long as they're not overly huge. You wouldn't use an Excel database for recordkeeping in a warehouse or a large corporation. For a small business, however, it might fit the bill.

The Satellites database

Figure A-1 shows an example. This is an inventory of the classic satellites in our solar system. By "classic," I mean that astronomers discovered most of them before the 20th century, via conventional telescopes. The three 20th-century entries are so dim that astronomers discovered them by examining photographic plates. Today's super telescopes and space ...

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