Where you have a field which only allows a limited list of items to be entered then a lookup list can help to reduce errors.
For instance, the image opposite shows a 'look-up' list being used in a spreadsheet that only allows 8,10,11 or 12 to be entered.
- a shop might put the dress sizes into a lookup list
- a car showroom might put the car models into a lookup list
- a vet might list the most popular types of animals that they deal with
The benefits of a lookup list are that they:
- speed up data entry because it is usually much faster to pick from a list than to type each individual entry
- improved accuracy because they reduce the risk of spelling mistakes
- limit the options to choose from by only presenting the required options
However, using a lookup validation technique does not prevent someone from entering the wrong data into the field and so mistakes can still be made.
Another very popular type of lookup is the calendar date picker :
The screenshot above shows a report being set up in an accounting package. The date range of the report is selected by picking a date in the pop-up calendar. This is an excellent way of avoiding the hassle of different date formats - the software will have been written to use the date selected in the appropriate format without the user having to worry about it.
challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you
Click on this link: Spreadsheet database lookup