Use Access, not excel.
You can set up fields for title, artist, songs, type of music...
That way you can cross reference by anything. Access will allow you to search by the artist, the group, type of music, year, song name, or any other field you can think of.
If you have the time to kill, put it in access-it's no harder than excel and way better for this purpose.
It should be a database, such as Access, not a spreadsheet (Excel), if you don't know how to use Access, start with Excel then migrate it to Access at a later date, but get started
Excel works great, I would continue to use that. Access isn't needed for most people really. You can do most things in Excel, including searching anything you wish, filtering, sorting back and forth and so on. Besides, Excel is a lot easier to use if you're not used to database apps. In any case you can import your Excel sheets into Access at any time you like, they are fully compatible.
I advise you to check out a feature called "Autofilter" in Excel (it's in the Data menu) which gives you dropdown menus on all columns where you can make some pretty nice filtering. This is really useful if you have large lists. If you want to search for a specific thing in your data, click on the column header (the ones reading A, B, C and so on), go to Find in the Edit menu and enter your search. That will search in only that column. Or skip the first step and just search on the whole sheet if you like.
Note though that Excel allows a maximum of 65535 rows, so I hope you don't have more items than that! :)
I also strongly suggest that you keep one item per row, i.e. don't spread out info across several rows for the same item. You can have as much as you want horizontally, but keep it to one unique item per row. This will allow you to migrate this data to any database program you might want to use in the future without any trouble. If each item uses several rows, it's impossible to import the data into a database without a lot of manual work, not to mention you won't be able to sort the list properly.
As Osgorth comments, Excel can work just fine for entering a music collection. You can create a data entry form or simply enter directly into the cells. And as pointed out, Autofilter is a very powerful tool for seeing subsets of your collection.
Just be aware that Excel will allow you to sort columns independently of each other, thereby destroying your data integrity. I had that happen to me once with a client address file, and it's not a fun experience. As long as you learn how to sort your data and keep rows together, Excel can be great tool to use.
That being said, I use Access for my collection of several thousand classical LPs. Because Access is a database, data integrity is assured and "lookups" and other features reduce typing for quicker data entry and improved consistency. Once the data has been entered, however, I'm almost as happy searching within Excel as searching within Access, with one exception. Access allows for a "filter by selection" so one can filter based on any portion of the data in a given cell. For classical and jazz, this can be very useful when looking for multiple works that include a particular performer, or for works with similar, but not identical, titles.
I started my inventory on Excel but soon found it limiting and a lot of key boarding needed. I switched to the Collectorz.com product and their bar code scanner. Check out the product features and I think you find the price well worth it. They offer a free trail version. I have found the ability to search on song title a joy, together with the art work available from downloads a great feature. I also us Collectorz for my books and video.
I agree with Osgorth and Rushton's advice. I use Excel, never really tried to master Access although I did the conversion once which was very easy. The main reason I haven't switched to Access is cost. Microsoft markets MSOffice as standard and professional versions (among others). Access is only in the more costly professional version. Since my music collection was the only application I need Access for, I don't feel the cost and potential need to purchase future Office upgrades justifies the need.
Relax, have a New Glarus Bourbon Barrel Bock and listen to Hawkwind...
Guinness, a solution to the cost issue is to use Open Office which includes their database program, Base. OpenOffice.org software is free and very robust. Download it and you won't look back.
I think I have looked at all the record collecting software, and can't find anything that serves the needs of a serious classical music collector. I want software that allows for searches -- that will, for example, list all of my recordings that contain Mozart Piano Concerto in C, K. 467, which on different recordings is called "Concerto in C Major for Piano and Orchestra", "Klavierkonzert C-Dur KV 467" , "Piano Concerto No. 21", "Elvira Madigan Concerto", etc. A serious collector will have hundreds of Mozart recordings, so these different spellings make searches nearly impossible. There needs to be some software that links to a database of the major classical repertoire and "translates" these different "spellings" into one so that searches can be done. Has anyone seen any software like this? Thanks for your help.
@fmoyer1212, I had the same problem. This is a workaround, not a solution. I ripped all my CDs and let Roon go at them. Roon’s database is the best I’ve seen, especially for classical. And it lets you search by composer, artist, label, year and just about anything else.
This doesn’t work for an LP collection particularly, and I just have up on my LPs.
You’d think that by 2021 you’d have better databases that allow translation like you want. Unfortunately Roon still doesn’t do that.