Tips for Designing Spreadsheets: Part 2

I mentioned in my last entry that I strive to use the KISS method – Keep It Short and Simple – whether I’m creating a single, short spreadsheet or designing a complex workbook containing a series of large, related spreadsheets.  Here’s the second of two recommendations I have for designing spreadsheets in Excel:

When recording amounts, I (generally) record those amounts in a single column.  For example, if I’m responsible for keeping track of the cash received for the “Fun Day”, I’ll design my spreadsheet with four columns: Activity, Start Time, Stop Time, and Amount.  By designing the spreadsheet in this way, I can use Excel’s powerful summarization and reporting features.

Click here to open an Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) that contains a design I do recommend. Click here to open an Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) that contains a design I do not recommend.

About Robert Ryan

Robert F. Ryan, MBA, CPA, is an independent business consultant, educator, writer, and finance leader in a Fortune 50 multinational company. He has a passion for simplicity, quality, efficiency, and a unique ability to explain things to people, so they understand quickly and thoroughly. He's worked with spreadsheets extensively for almost thirty years, including VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, and Excel.
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