If you glean data from the Web (and who doesn't these days), chances are that you print the Web page and then re-enter the data manually. Ouch! You should never re-enter data if you don't have to, and in this case, you don't have to. Instead, open the Web page right in Excel, as follows:
- Choose Open from the File menu. The Open command is on the Office menu in Excel 2007.
- Enter the URL, including http://, into the File Name text box. Excel will probably display a "connecting to server" message. That's fine, don't worry about it.
- Choose Web Pages And Web Archives (*.htm; *.html; *.mht; *.mhtml) from the Files Of Type control. In Excel 2007, the file type is All Web Pages (*.htm; *.html; *.mht; *.mhtml).
- Click Open.
Excel actually enters the transferred data from the Web page into the current sheet, and you can manipulate the data as you would any other data. Hyperlinks are live -- go ahead and click one! As long as you're connected to the Internet, they should work just fine.
The resulting Excel sheet won't look much like the Web page however. It's a literal transfer of data, and remember, Excel isn't a browser. However, this feature is a quick and easy way to get the raw data you need into a sheet. Delete extraneous graphics and then copy or transpose blocks of data to organize the pieces just the way you want. You can even share the data with other Office applications.
On a related note, you can open a Web page in your browser from inside Excel. Simply display the Web toolbar and enter the URL.
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.