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I don't really understand why I should use an Excel table. It seems all the functionality that a typical Excel worksheet provides is duplicated by an Excel table. The only difference I can see is that a table is less flexible and it can be themed. What am I missing here?

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You can have several tables on a work sheet - each table can have it's own filters.

The table can be linked to an external source, such as a database.

As you mention, it can be themed which can aid both design and readability - it could also helps when printed.

Updating Auto-sum like abilities - When entering formulas you have to state the Cell (such as A1 or B26) where as this becomes automatic.

It automatically copies formulae down as you enter new rows.

You can set it so the headers are always visible.

More reasons (and part source)

  • Awesome. The link was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! – Avery Chan Feb 28 '14 at 14:49
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It provides automatically expanding named ranges for each column. Perfect for automatically updating graphs and aggregate calculations.

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The question is already answered but this is worth a mention. Tables allow you to aggregate data elsewhere using structured references. SRs provide a self-documenting way to do SUMIFS, COUNTIFS and the like.

For example if you have a table called MyTable with Year, Region and Revenue you can write a formula like this:

=SUMIFS(MyTable[Revenue],MyTable[Year],2013,MyTable[Region],"North")

You can probably guess what value is returned and the constraints. Moreover, when you write the formula intellisense guides you through the column names and syntax, which makes for far less typing than implied in the example.

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