Excel – all things to all persons?

Originally posted on our old website in March 2017

Most people who work in business have Microsoft Excel loaded on to their pc or laptop.  Whilst there are other fine pieces of software available that do a similar job Microsoft Spreadsheet has dominated for many years.  Now we can even have a copy loaded onto our smartphone.  So most of us can use it but what do we do with it.  As a professional developer I’ve seen many different uses made of Excel, some that I would never have thought of.  In fact it seems that Excel could be one of the most powerful and flexible pieces of software that we use but most of us don’t scratch the surface of what can be achieved.

So what can it do for us? Theoretically its potential is pretty near limitless but, just because Excel can do something for us, that doesn’t mean that we should use it.  What it is great at is dealing with numbers.  Holding lists of numbers and associated information then doing something with those numbers to give us an answer to a question – How much will project “X” cost?, How long will project “Y” take, what was our average “Z” during last month, how did last month compare with the same month last year, give me an estimate for the following set of criteria.

Most users with a little experience of Excel can use it to answer the above questions and many of us do.  I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it though –

  • How much work will you need to do if you add extra rows to your set of details?
  • How much work each time you set up a new – week, month, category etc.

Of course we can do a neat bit of copy and pasting and that saves ages.  However, if you find yourself regularly spending hours doing similar copy and paste actions then it may be time for a Macro.  Do consider it but if it looks tricky then get in touch with someone with knows!  Do get in touch with us at Sussex Data Solutions.  With decades of development experience we could save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration!


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