MacMost Now 845: Using Categories In Numbers

You can view the rows in your spreadsheet by category using values in specific rows. This is often better than sorting the entire spreadsheet. You can nest categories and turn them on and off easily. You can also use formats and colors to make categories easier to view.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 845: Using Categories In Numbers.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at using Categories in Numbers.

Now Categories are a way for you to better organize the rows in your spreadsheet. For instance, let's take this sample spreadsheet here with a bunch of items you could find in a grocery store. You can see that in addition to the names and cost we've got Type and On Sale and Date Received. Type, you can see, is organized into three different categories.

If I wanted to put say all the fruits and all the vegetables together one thing I could do is Sort By this column. But say I don't want to Sort By this. Say for instance this is in a specific order and I don't want to actually change the entire order of the table just to get that. But I do want to group things together by type. I can do that by introducing Categories.

One way to do that is to actually select the entire row there and go to the top here and say I want to Categorize for This Column. It is as simple as that. If I do that you can see now it breaks everything up by Fruit, Vegetable, Nut and it puts them all together. They are in the order inside here they were originally but now they are grouped together in these various categories.

The neat thing about these categories is that of course I can tweak them to say close each one and only focus on a single category. It is very useful if you have an extremely large table and you just want to focus on one. Likewise you can hit the Option key and close them all and open one up. So it makes it very easy to group them together and focus on one type.

Now I can easily turn this off by selecting here and say Delete Categories and the categories are gone.

Another thing I can do is I can use multiple categories. So I can say let's categorize by this column and then let's also, inside that, categorize by the On Sale column. Now you can see I have categories inside of categories. So under fruit I've got those On Sale and those not on sale.

I can reverse the order of these in several different ways. One, of course, easy way to do it would be to delete the categories and start again. Here I'm just going to delete that one and then add it back in and now you can see it is reversed. I have everything on sale and then by category and then everything not on sale and then by category. So you can group them as deeply as you want.

Now another way to set up Categories is to use the Reorganize panel. So let's get rid of the categories here and then go to the Reorganize panel here and using that I can choose a column here for categories and say I'm going to choose the Type and it will add it. You can see it made the changes to the table there. Then I can also go and choose say On Sale. It will just simply change that. But if I want to add I can do On Sale and now you can see I've added that and I've got it like what I had before but I can reorganize these by using these little arrow buttons here to change which order they are in.

Let's say instead of by Type I want to do it by Date Received. So you can see that now I've got it broken up into different days using this column, column F here. I can also tell it I don't want it broken up by days, I want it by unique values so exactly what is in there. But I can also do it by weeks. And it is smart enough to figure out which week each date is in and put everything in appropriately. You can do it by other things like months, quarters and years as well.

Now you can also create categories without even having a column. So one thing you can do is that you can go into your list here and say in a row you want to start. I want this row to start a new category. I can click the button here to the left side of the row and I can say Insert Category. What it is going to do is start a new category at that row. So everything before it is in this first category and everything after it is in this second category. You can see it actually created a new column at the end there that included these new items.

Here is a cool thing. You say well I don't want to call it Item 1, I want to call it something else. So you can go and change each one of these individually but you can also go over here and with Categories you can make one change and it is going to change everything over here in the column to reflect it.

So I could do the same thing say if I had the category fruit, vegetable and nut. I could change it so I could just change the word vegetable to something shorter very easily by categorizing it and changing it on the left and then it would change it in the column here and everyone where the word vegetable appears.

Now you can also create a category by selecting row. So for instance I will select rows 2 to 5 and then I click this button here that appears on the left side and Create a Category from Selected Rows. And those rows are chosen.

Or I can select just continuous rows. Select this one here and hold down Command and select this one here. So I'm going to select several rows by holding the Command key down and then select anyone of those and select Create Category from Selected Rows and it will grab those rows and put them out there and create the column over here that has this new category name.

Now let's go back to our original arrangement here. We've got it categorized by Type and then by whether or not On Sale. It can be kind of hard to read this. But what you can do is you can select anyone of these category heads here, so I'm going to do the Type here just by selecting Fruit and I can actually change say the font to bold. You can see it is going to do it for each one of those in each category. I can change the color, I can change the font size. I can even bring up the Inspector here and go under cells and change the cell background color to something to make it kind of a grey and you can see it does it for the entire row across. Now I more easily see my categories. I can do the same thing for these for instance. I can just change it to a color so I can easily see these inside of here.

Going back to that Reorganize panel one of the neat things about it is you can turn on and off the categories. So for instance if I want to view them like this sometimes I just have it on and then I uncheck it and now it goes back to the regular format. So I can enter more data in, go back to my Reorganize table and I can turn it back on. You can see it remembers my settings here when I turn it on and off. It doesn't delete them so it is very easy to switch it on and off and basically think of it as having two different modes as looking at this table.

So here is a look at using Categories in Numbers. I hope you found this useful.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 11 Responses to “MacMost Now 845: Using Categories In Numbers”

    6 years ago

    Wow. I’ve been using Numbers forever but never knew anything about categories. Thanks much for that his video.

    6 years ago

    Fantastic Gary. I never realized this existed either!

    6 years ago

    I love your videos and find them very usefully, but I wish you could slow down a bit, it’s hard to follow when I’ve never used that feature your demonstrating.

      James Dawson
      6 years ago

      I enjoy the fast paced tutorials and the pause button in youtube is your friend :-)

      6 years ago

      What I do, I play a small portion, pause it, write down special info or take a screen shot then hit play. Also, you can see the written version just below the screen, click it to expand and the written portion is there.

    6 years ago

    I recently temped in an office with only pc. I could do something similar in excel and came home looking for a way to do this in numbers. everywhere online said it couldn’t be done on a mac, and none of the searches I did turned up anything. This is EXACTLY what I wanted to do, thank you so much for the tips. Keep them coming!

    Larry Kraus
    6 years ago

    I’ve got OS X version 10.6.8. When I click the down arrow for the selected column, I don’t see a “Categorize by This Column” option, nor do I see a “Reorganize” option at the top of my spreadsheet. Are these options only available in later software versions or am I missing something? Thanks.

    6 years ago

    thanks for the Numbers and Pages tips, being a new Mac user, you`ve helped a lot, i`ve bought your My Pages book, is there a My Numbers book on the horizon ?
    thanks again
    from the UK

      6 years ago

      Thanks! A Numbers book? Possibly. Have to see how well the Pages book does over more time. A Numbers book would have a smaller audience, but perhaps one more interested in a book.

    Michael Ehrman
    6 years ago

    Just learned something new. Thanks Gary. You are a true asset.

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