Excel tables are a really powerful feature, but there are pros and cons to the feature depending on if you are an advanced or beginner Excel user. From what I’ve seen, most people who use Excel tables just to get the nice color formatting on the header row and the alternating banded rows color formatting. At the end of the day, if you are managing and analyzing a group of cells that are related to each other, turning this range of data into a table will make it easier to maintain the data going forward. I also wrote extensively about turning your data into tables generally in this post on the Coda blog.
Pros for using Excel tables:
- Structured references to columns in the table over cell references
- Formulas automatically “fill down” the entire column so you write the formula once
- New rows that get added to the table automatically expand the borders of the table (no more writing OFFSET formulas!)
Cons for using Excel tables:
- The name “tables” is confusing, people already have tables/lists of data in their Excel files
- The syntax for structured references is really difficult to understand (especially for a new Excel user)
- Editing table names is cumbersome
Learn how to use tables
Interested in gaining all the skills to use Excel tables effectively for your job? Take my class Mastering Excel Tables: How to Make and Use Them Like a Pro.