Data entry can sometimes be a big part of using Excel.
With near endless cells, it can be hard for the person inputting data to know where to put what data.
A data entry form can solve this problem and help guide the user to input the correct data in the correct place.
Excel has had VBA user forms for a long time, but they are complicated to set up and not very flexible to change.
In this blog post, we’re going to explore 5 easy ways to create a data entry form for Excel.
We’ve had Excel tables since Excel 2007.
They’re perfect data containers and can be used as a simple data entry form.
Creating a table is easy.
- Select the range of data including the column headings.
- Go to the Insert tab in the ribbon.
- Press the Table button in the Tables section.
We can also use a keyboard shortcut to create a table. The Ctrl + T keyboard shortcut will do the same thing.
Make sure the Create Table dialog box has the My table has headers option checked and press the OK button.
We now have our data inside an Excel table and we can use this to enter new data.
To add new data into our table we can start typing a new entry into the cells directly below the table and the table will absorb the new data.
We can use the Tab key instead of Enter while entering our data. This will cause the active cell cursor to move to the right instead of down so we can add the next value into our record.
When the active cell cursor is in the last cell of the table (lower right cell), pressing the Tab key will create a new empty row in the table ready for the next entry.
This is a perfect and simple data entry form.
Data Entry Form
Excel actually has a hidden data entry form and we can access it by adding the command to the Quick Access Toolbar.
Add the form command to the Quick Access Toolbar.
- Right click anywhere on the quick quick access toolbar.
- Select Customize Quick Access Toolbar from the menu options.
This will open up the Excel option menu on the Quick Access Toolbar tab.
- Select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
- Select Form from the list of available commands. Press F to jump to the commands starting with F.
- Press the Add button to add the command into the quick access toolbar.
- Press the OK button.
We can then open up data entry form for any set of data.
- Select a cell inside the data which we want to create a data entry form with.
- Click on the Form icon in the quick access toolbar area.
This will open up a customized data entry form based on the fields in our data.
If we need a simple data entry form, why not use Microsoft Forms?
This form option will require our Excel workbook to be saved into SharePoint or OneDrive.
The form will be in a browser and not in Excel, but we can link the form to an Excel workbook so that all the data goes into our Excel table.
This is a great option if multiple people or people outside our organization need to input data into the Excel workbook.
We need to create a Form for Excel in either SharePoint or OneDrive. The process is the same for both SharePoint or OneDrive.
- Go to a SharePoint document library or a OneDrive folder where the Excel workbook is going to be saved.
- Click on New and then choose Forms for Excel.
This will prompt us to name the Excel workbook and open up a new browser tab where we can build our form by adding different types of questions.
We first need to create the Form and this will create the table in our Excel workbook where the data will get populated.
Then we can share the form with anyone we want to input data into Excel.
When a user enters data into the form and presses the submit button, that data will automatically show up into our Excel workbook.
Power Apps is a flexible drag and drop formula based app building platform from Microsoft.
We can certainly use it to create a data entry from for our Excel data.
In fact, if we have a table of data set up, Power Apps will create the app for us based on our data. It can’t be any easier than that.
Sign in to the powerapps.microsoft.com service ➜ go to the Create tab in the navigation pane ➜ select Excel Online.
We’ll then be prompted to sign in to our SharePoint or OneDrive account where our Excel file is saved to select the Excel workbook and table with our data.
This will generate us a fully functional three screen data entry app.
- We can search and view all the records in our Excel table in a scroll-able gallery.
- We can view an individual record in our data.
- We can edit an existing record or add new records.
This is all connected to our Excel table, so any changes or additions from the app will show up in Excel.
Power Automate is a cloud based tool for automating task between apps.
But we can use the button trigger to make an automation that captures user input and adds the data into an Excel table.
We’ll need to have our Excel workbook saved in OneDrive or SharePoint and have a table already setup with the fields we want to populate.
To create our Power Automate data entry form.
- Go to flow.microsoft.com and sign in.
- Go to the Create tab.
- Create an Instant flow.
- Give the flow a name.
- Choose the Manually trigger a flow option as the trigger.
- Press the Create button.
This will open up the Power Automate builder and we can build our automation.
- Click on the Manually trigger a flow block to expand the trigger’s options. This is where we’ll find the ability to add input fields.
- Click on the Add an input button. This will give us options to add a few different types of input fields including Text, Yes/No, Files, Email, Number and Dates.
- Rename the field to something descriptive. This will help the user know what type of data to input when they run this automation.
- Click on the three ellipses to the right of each field to change the input options. We’ll be able to Add a drop-down list of option, Add a multi-select list of options, Make the field optional or Delete the field from this menu.
- After we have added all our input fields, we can now add a New step to the automation.
Search for the Excel connector and add the Add a row into a table action. If you’re on an Office 365 business account, use the Excel Online (Business) connectors, otherwise use the Excel Online (OneDrive) connectors.
Now we can set up our Excel Add a row into a table step.
- Navigate to the Excel file and table where we are going to be adding data.
- After selecting the table, the fields in that table will appear listed and we can add the appropriate dynamic content from the Manually trigger a flow trigger step.
Now we can run our Flow from the Power Automate service.
- Go to My flows in the left navigation pane.
- Go to the My flows tab.
- Find the flow in the list of available flows and click on the Run button.
- A side pane will pop up with our inputs and we can enter our data.
- Click Run flow.
We can also run this from our mobile device with the Power Automate apps.
- Go to the Buttons section in the app.
- Press on the flow to run.
- Enter the data inputs in the form.
- Press on the DONE button in the top right.
Whichever way we run the flow, a few seconds later the data will appear in our Excel table.
Whether we require a simple form or something more complex and customize-able, there is a solution for our data entry needs.
We can quickly create something inside our workbook or use an external solution that connects to and loads data into Excel.
We can even create forms that people outside our organization can use to populate our spreadsheets.
Let me know in the comments what is your favourite data entry form option.