An Excel Table is a special object for managing data in Excel. Excel Tables have a name which appears in the name box when the entire table is selected. To quickly create an Excel Table, select any cell in the data, and use the keyboard shortcut control + T. Links to video demos appear below this article. For a complete introduction to Excel Tables see: Excel Tables.
Key advantages to Excel Tables
Compared to manually formatted tables, Excel Tables have several key advantages:
Structured data - data appears in rows and columns without spaces. This makes it easy to work with the data like a database.
Automatic formulas - new rows "inherit" existing formulas, and changes to an existing formula automatically propagates throughout a column.
Filters - although filters can be applied to any normal table, they are automatically available in an Excel Table.
Automatic formatting and styles - Tables can be rapidly formatted using Table Styles, and new data added to Excel Table inherits this formatting.
Structured references - structured references make it easy to refer to table rows and columns without specific cell references.
Enhanced shortcuts - shortcuts for manipulating rows and columns work better with Excel Tables. See this video for a demonstration.
Dynamic ranges - Excel tables automatically expand to include new rows, so they behave like dynamic ranges, and are perfect for things like charts and pivot tables.