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May 17, 2011

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers

by Stephen Ashby

Organising a large list of data can be difficult. Numbers’ Categories feature is designed to offer you a flexible option to do just that

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in NumbersiWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in NumbersThe primary function of spreadsheets is to organise and display information to help others and yourself understand what all the data you’ve accumulated means. There are many ways you can achieve this, but Numbers ’09’s Categories feature is a great way to sort rows on your spreadsheet. This method acts a little like the Reorganise tool, whereby you can order the information alphabetically depending on what’s displayed in a specific column.
The advantage of categories is that it makes it easier to see groups containing similar data. You can also collapse categories to hide them from view while you focus on other parts of your table. You can further refine your organisation by creating sub-categories. It’s just as easy to promote or demote a category or sub-category, as well as to remove a selected one from your spreadsheet. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to categorise data in one of your spreadsheets to make the information contained within easier to understand.

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in NumbersiWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers1: Categorising by a Column
Click on your table to select it and reveal its labels. Mouse over the label of the column you wish to categorise to reveal a small black triangle to its right. Select it and choose Categorise by this Column.

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers2: The effects of categorisation
The table is reordered alphabetically. Also, new rows have been created and named after the data they’re categorising. This makes it easier to see the various groups which have been sorted based on the column’s data.

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers3: Sub-categories
To create a sub-category, mouse over another column’s label and select Categorise by this Column, just like in Step 1. The data in that column will be reordered, while still remaining linked to the first Category.

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers4: Deleting categories
Go back to the column from Step 1 and click on its menu. Categorise by this Column has been replaced by Delete Categories. Click on it. This will remove it and the sub-category will now become the main one.

iWork Tutorial: Use the Categories function in Numbers

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    • Can anyone help please

      I’m using a pop-up menu option (Inspector>Cells>Cell Format>Pop-up Menu) to have preset selectable descriptions for different items. The descriptions are several lines long, like a paragraph, but the Pop-up Menu feature only appears to allow a set amount of charactors (like a twitter post). Anyone know if i can get around this?

      Also, Cell height auto-expanding, when I use the above method to auto-fill a cell with a preset description, the cell height does nto automatically expand to fit the content. So the cell remains 1 line high despite the content being 3 or 4 lines’ worth. Is there an auto-fit option? At the moment I have to manually resize the row height, which doesnt work when I use the document on the iPad.

      Or does anyone have any ideas of a different program I could use that would allow me to edit on the iPad too.

      Many Thanks

    • Doug

      I am in the territory 14 hrs/day. DO NOT use desktop (iPhone only). I find tutorials on iPad and Mac iWork but nothing for the nuances of iPhone only.

      Where can I find manual specific to iPhone.