After typing 2008 for the past year, users are likely to slip up and type it instead of 2009 once January rolls around. Here's a simple Excel data validation trick to help catch those errors.
Old habits die hard. This is especially true when it comes to entering dates in January. Fortunately, Excel provides a way to prevent users from mistakenly entering 1/1/2008 when they should be entering 1/1/2009. Follow these steps when setting up your worksheets for data entry next year:
- Select the range of cells where users will enter a date.
- Go to Data | Validation. (In Excel 2007, click the Data tab and then click Data Validation in the Data Tools group.)
- Click on the Settings tab.
- Click the drop-down arrow in the Allow box and select Date.
- Click the drop-down arrow in the Data box and select Greater Than Or Equal To.
- Under Start date, enter 1/1/2009, as shown in Figure A, and click OK.
Now, when a user enters 2008 instead of 2009, Excel displays the message shown in Figure B.