How Do I Design a Roster in Excel?

By Elizabeth Mott

From sports teams and school classes to company employees, rosters enumerate who does what and chronicle individual performance. To organize this kind of information -- names, titles, batting averages, yards after catch, sales in January, term-paper grades -- set up a Microsoft Excel worksheet. The program's data-handling capabilities can help you store, present and analyze data about human achievement. Whether your roster lists relief pitchers or customer service representatives, you can manage its details in a spreadsheet.

Identifying Your Information

Dedicate the first row of your worksheet to column headers. To keep them visible when you scroll, use the Freeze Panes feature, located in the Excel ribbon's View tab within the Window group. Freeze Panes can apply to the top row, first column, or a row-and-column combination. For example, select Row 3 to freeze Rows 1 and 2, Column C to freeze Columns A and B, or cell D2 to freeze both Row 1 and Columns A through C. You can't freeze a non-contiguous selection or one that's isolated in the middle of a worksheet. Once you enter column headers, style them in the Home tab's Font group. Make your text bold, change its color or set a fill color for the header cells themselves.

Adding Data

Once you organize your worksheet, insert roster data through more than one technique. Type from handwritten notes, or press "Ctrl-V" to paste in data and styling from another source. If you don't want the red type or yellow cell backgrounds from another Excel worksheet, press "Ctrl-Alt-V" to activate Paste Special, or switch to the Home tab in the ribbon, and then click on the Clipboard group's "Paste" item. Paste Special limits incoming content to specific aspects of copied information, including values without their formatting, formatting without its values or column-width measurements. Use Paste Special to clean up text you copy from Web pages, email messages and styled Microsoft Word documents.

Sizing Worksheet Areas

By default, Microsoft Excel creates columns wide enough for 8.43 characters. Cell contents that exceed that length appear to spill into the adjoining column. Drag columns wider with your pointing device, pulling at their right boundaries until you reach the dimensions you want, or resize all cells to fit their contents in one step. In the Home tab of the Excel ribbon, the Cells group's Format item includes AutoFit Column Width. This adjustment applies to any column in which you select at least one cell. You also can click on the unlabeled Select All button at the intersection of the worksheet's row and column headings, and double-click on the vertical edge between adjacent column headings.

Sorting and Analyzing

Compiling a long list of names complicates the task of maintaining alphabetical order. Select any cell that contains roster data, switch to the Data tab of the Microsoft Excel ribbon, locate the Sort & Filter group, and then click the "Sort" item. Excel expands the selection to include all contiguous data columns and opens the Sort dialog box so you can organize your data by a primary sort column, choose a sorting method, and select alphabetical or numerical order. Additionally, use Excel's AutoFilter capabilities to turn each column header into a clickable filter list. In the Data tab's Sort & Filter group, the Filter item activates the feature. Each column's header turns into a drop-down list of its values. Choose one, and Excel temporarily hides any rows that don't meet contain it.

Version Information

Information in this article applies to Microsoft Excel 2013. It may differ slightly or significantly with other versions or products.