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Good practices when you design your Excel workbook

Microsoft Excel is the standard and go-to application when using spreadsheets – there is hardly any spreadsheet user who has not worked with Excel at one point in their professional career before. Now that Microsoft has spread out beyond the PC onto tablets, smartphones, and has become cloud-based, its distribution is ubiquitous.

As such, it has become even more important to create professional spreadsheets that can be understood and collaborated on in a seamless manner – there, Google Docs has clearly shown the way. In this blog post by J. Carlton Collins, he details 15 highly useful and – may I state – necessary rules for designing meaningful Excel spreadsheets that start with adequate documentation and a table of contents, well-organised spreadsheets, named ranges/cells, and quality management to avoid errors and misconceptions. These steps are not dealing with style per se, but with good practice that will enhance your reputation as spreadsheet expert.

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Guesstimate – An uncertain spreadsheet

Users of spreadsheets are often working under the assumption that facts and figures employed are well known and certain. This might be an issue when it comes to planning – so how to incorporate risk and uncertainty in a spreadsheet analysis? Ozzie Gooen has seemingly developed an answer to this – Guesstimate features upper and lower boundaries for values used within specific analyses. It works with confidence intervals and probability distributions that allow its user to work with uncertain “facts, going beyond mere best and worst case scenarios.

VisiCalc – the father of all digital spreadsheets

Our textbook details the history of spreadsheets in general, and their digital version in particular. In particular, VisiCalc has pioneered the spreading of spreadsheets on personal computers, and its pivotal role cannot be underestimated. In this article on the Guardian website, John Naughton delves a deeper into the importance of VisiCalc, especially as the main forerunner of the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel software in businesses and at home.

Learning Excel 2013 online – free resources

I have posted a few weeks ago about the new Office 2013. In this post, I would like to focus a more on Excel 2013, a great piece of software in my view. Here is a link to a great website that lists free Excel tutorials and reference websites for the 2013 version.