Excel Basics: Creating a Simple Media Database
Excel is an excellent program for creating a media database which is simply a catalog or list of items. It is easy to add new acquisitions or to modify the database itself in Excel. For our purposes, we will be creating a list of movies.
The first thing to consider is what data to include in this list. I own both DVDs and VHS so I would like that information. The title would be very important and for me the main actor or producer and finally the genre. In the figure below is my spreadsheet with the headers I have chosen in row 1.
In the figure above I left the columns in the default width but I will change it before I begin entering the data. For the DVD/VHS columns I will only be entering an X to indicate movie’s form.
When you are entering the information, you don’t have to do it alphabetically since Excel has a sort tool and once you have finished compiling your list you can simply use the sort tool and the program will alphabetize it for you. Please note that titles like ‘300 Spartans’ with a number in digits will appear in the list before the regular alphabetical titles. Titles with number words like ‘Three Women’ will simply be alphabetized like the rest.
Above is my media list with about 12 titles. I have widened some of the columns to accommodate the information but I have randomly entered the data and so I need to sort it. In the menu bar above I have circled the sort function in red. It is in the ‘Home’ tab of the menu bar.
1)Highlight the data you want to sort. For the movie list, you will need to highlight all the column and rows in our list. With Excel, this is very simple. Click and hold on the ‘A’ of column A and drag across to Column E. (Don’t worry about your headings that will be taken care of later.
2) Click on ‘A to Z Sort’ and open the menu as shown below left and click on ‘Custom Sort’. The menu box below on the right will appear.
3)In the yellow oval is a box ‘My data has headers’, if it isn’t checked, check it and your headers will remain where they are when you sort your data.
4)The blue circle is around the information we need to sort on. It is a drop-down list of all the columns from our spreadsheet. In this case, we want the ‘title’ column. Highlight that with your cursor and click.
5)Click on ‘OK’ button bottom right and the sort should be done as seen below.
Adding new movies to the list is very simple. Type them in at the bottom of the list and then sort your list. You don’t have to hunt for where it belongs on the list and you can easily add several new titles at one time. Below I have included a site that may be useful to you as you work with Excel.