Creating a list of terms, concepts, etc.

New Contributor

Hi all,


I don’t know if I have come to the right place for asking this question, but I will give it a try. I want to create a sheet for collecting all kinds of terms, concepts, abbreviations, etc. used in a specific domain. Each term, concept, etc. should have an accompanying definition, and perhaps some additional elements containing some metadata (date of addition, source of the definition, status, and the like). When I am in a meeting, or when I am reading a document or whatever, I want to just dump stuff into the list. Later on, I can review the newly created items, and provide a definition and other metadata for the items.


This is what I have in mind: the sheet should have an input cell for entering a term, a concept, etc. When the item is already in the list, the list of items should be positioned to the particular item, to allow quick review of the existing item. When the item is not yet in the list, the item should be added to the list, and the list should automatically be sorted. Perhaps a metadata field should be filled with the current date, to allow selection of the newly created items.


I suppose that something like this should be possible in Excel, but since I am not an Excel-expert, I really don’t know how to do it. Therefore, it would be great if someone might point me in the right direction.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions!



2 Replies
Best to start with a simple table containing the columns you have in mind, one column for every type of information you want to store. Use a single row of cells to name each header and convert that range to a table (Insert tab, Table button). For new terms you simply type them into the term column. Later, when you're ready to add more information you can filter the table for empty columns so you know where new data needs to be entered. If you set up a conditional format on the keyword column to highlight duplicates, anything you enter that already exists will highlight.

Thank you for your reply, Jan Karel. By now, I have managed to create a sheet that (so far) seems to work reasonably well. I have used the VLOOKUP function to check for the existence of a term, and I have a recorded a macro to copy a new term into the table containing the existing terms. I have to find how the sheet behaves in real life, but so far it seems promising!