In absence of a well-defined system, a spreadsheet is perhaps one of the most common tools that workers utilize for getting work done. Just because a system is replacing spreadsheets does not mean the flexibility that spreadsheets provide should be taken away too. Instead, systems should, of course, provide a reason for workers to make the switch.

Adeel Javed - UX Patterns For Enterprise Applications

The following patterns are all relevant to dealing with tables.

  • Screens should provide users the ability to directly manipulate data in tables, just like they are used to in a spreadsheet software.
  • Provide users with context-sensitive menus e.g. in the screenshot above users have the option to delete the row simply by clicking a button instead of first selecting some check box and then clicking on a button elsewhere around the table.
  • If data in a table is being inputted on a different screen or in a modal dialog then there should be some type of indication on the table that shows if data for a particular row has been completely entered or not (Completed, Pending). This helps users know how much work has been completed and how much is still pending.

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