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Regardless of the company size, anyone working with data regularly can benefit from quick and easy ways to work with data. If you work with smaller datasets, entering the data manually may be the way to go. However, what if your dataset contains thousands of rows or columns? You’re now probably wondering, can I automate data entry in Excel?

In this article, you’ll learn the importance of using Excel data entry forms and how to create these entry forms in Excel using different features. Covering 4 different methods, you’ll learn how to create a data entry form in Excel using its built-in feature, VBA, Macros, and finally, Power Automate

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Why Use Excel Data Entry Forms?

Excel data entry forms are templates for data entry. Think of it as additional support to enter data in your spreadsheet, which can range across multiple columns and rows. It’s especially useful for those working with multiple category lists or large databases. The main reasons why you may want to use data entry forms include:

  • Avoid manual errors: Input data in bulk following a structure to avoid typos that may distort your whole dataset.
  • Save time: Think about having to input over 1,000 rows without making mistakes. Excel automation tools save you hours of work.
  • Maintain original structure: If your data is already categorized, set the structure beforehand and place data where it should be.
  • Automate processes: Create flows with Power Automate, which can “Run” automatically at specific intervals.

How Do I Create a Data Entry Form in Excel?

To create a data entry form in Excel, you don’t need to learn to program or have coding skills. Luckily, Office 365 includes applications and features that do the work for you. You simply need to know where to look for these tools and how to make them work for you.

How to Create a Data Entry Form Using Excel Forms?

To create your first data entry form using “Forms”, an Excel built-in feature, you’ll first have to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

How to Add Excel Forms to the Quick Access Toolbar?

  1. 1. Open your Excel spreadsheet and click on the small arrow at the top, as shown below. Select “More Commands…” from the drop-down list.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Customize Quick Access Toolbar
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  1. 2. Select “Quick Access Toolbar” from the left-side menu, and then “Commands Not in the Ribbon” from the “Choose commands from” drop-down menu.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Commands Not in the Ribbon
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Commands Not in the Ribbon
  1. 3. Scroll down the list until you find the “Form” feature and to your QAT by clicking on the “Add” button, placed in the center. Click “OK” to finish.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways OK to finish
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - OK to finish

Now that it’s easily accessible, you can begin to use it.

  1. 4. Click on any row item and then the Form icon you just created, located in the green ribbon at the top of your screen.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Form icon
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Form icon
  1. 5. A window will pop up that shows the table information contained in “Sheet 1”. To the left, the form provides the column names, followed by the data already contained in the cells. To create a new data entry, aka “record”, click on the “New” button, which appears to the right.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click New
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click New
  1. 6. You can start inputting your data in the blank fields. Once you’re done, click “Close”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Enter data
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Enter data

This is a straightforward way to use the data entry form feature in Excel. However, for larger datasets, the following ways will be more helpful.

How to Create a Data Entry Form Using VBA?

This method is the preferred option for users that wish to create a more visual data entry form, as it makes it easier to manage all elements required to structure your data. To create a data entry form using Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), you’ll first need to add this feature to your Ribbon for quicker access.

Add VBA to Your Ribbon Toolbar

  1. 1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 from the previous section.
  2. 2. Select “Customize Ribbon” from the left-side menu and then “Main Tabs” from the “Customize the Ribbon” drop-down menu to the right.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Customize Ribbon
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Customize Ribbon
  1. 3. Tick the “Developer” option and then “OK” to automatically enable this tab on your Ribbon. The VBA feature should be included automatically in newer Excel versions.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Developer tab
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Developer tab
  1. 4. Go to your new “Developer” tab in your Ribbon, and then click on the “VBA” feature button.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways VBA button
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - VBA button
  1. 5. Excel will automatically launch the VBA window. Go to “Insert” and then select “UserForm”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways User Form
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - UserForm
  1. 6. You’ll find a small “Toolbox” window and the “UserForm” to the right. This is the space where you can create your own by including any elements you wish.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Toolbox elements
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Toolbox elements
  1. 7. Select one of the elements from the “Toolbox” and drag it to the “UserForm1” box. Here, we have selected the “A” button to create a “Label”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Drag elements
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Drag elements

To change the name of the “Label” simply double-click on it. This same system can be used for any of the remaining elements, including text boxes, lists, or commands. To save your work, you will need to save the Excel file as a macro-enabled workbook, i.e., in “.xlsm” format.

How to Create a Data Entry Form Using Power Automate?

To create a data entry form in Excel using Power Automate, you first need to make sure the data is stored in Excel online and in table format.

  1. 1. Launch Power Automate and click on “Create” and then “Instant cloud flow”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro
  1. 2. Select “Manually trigger a flow” from the options.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro 2
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro
  1. 3. Click on “Manually trigger a flow” to access the “Add an input” option.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro 3
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro
  1. 4. Select the type of data to enter.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro 4
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro
  1. 5. After each data entry type, you can click on the vertical ellipsis icon to create an Excel data entry form with a drop-down list. Once you finish, click on “New Step”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Drop down list
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Drop-down list
  1. 6. Select “Excel Online (Business)” and then “Create table” from the “Actions” tab. This will connect your form with the spreadsheet you’d like to enter data in.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro 5
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro
  1. 7. Add the “Location”, “Document Library”, the name of the “File”, and the “Table range” where your form is created. Note that the “Column names” will need to be input using a semicolon as a separator. Once you finish, click “Save”.
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel 4 Easy Ways Click on Recorded Macro 6
Create A Data Entry Form in Excel (4 Easy Ways) - Click on Recorded Macro

You’ll see how Power Automate recommends testing the flow. To test, simply click on the “Test” button to the far right.

How to Create a Data Entry Form Using Macros?

Macros can be used in Excel to automate tasks that are usually very time-consuming, such as manually entering large datasets in a spreadsheet. The great thing about using VBA Macros is that you can do it straight from your spreadsheet. From creating tables to connecting your spreadsheet with external data sources, this feature offers limitless possibilities in task automation.

To get a more profound understanding of how it works, check out our post on How to Use Macros in Excel to Automate Tasks.

How to Automate Data Entry in Google Sheets?

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Conclusion

Excel is the go-to solution for data storage and management. However, inputting the data is the first and crucial step in any process. If you work in inventory management or a business with high-volume record-keeping, then you’ll most certainly benefit from automation tools in Excel.

Automating Excel functions is possible through powerful integrated features such as VBA, Macros, and Power Automate. You should now feel comfortable with these tools and have the necessary know-how skills to create a data entry form in Excel using 4 easy but powerful ways.

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Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Dec 1 2022, Updated Nov 30 2022