10-05 Contents: Upcoming conferences, how not to use Excel
ISSN 1649-2374 This issue online at http://www.sysmod.com/praxis/prax1005.htm [Previous] [Index] [Next]
|Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success|
IN THIS ISSUE
Conferences in Dublin for May & June
What not to do in Excel
What not to do in Powerpoint
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I've been working hard at upgrading ny XLTest spreadsheet auditing add-in, as well as preparing training courses in spreadsheet development practices and analysing survey data. This month, I summarise recent discussions on best and worst habits in using Excel spreadsheets.
Merge Cells - they often cause problems in copy/paste and VBA
operations. Use Centre Across Selection instead.
Press the space bar to erase a cell - it leaves the cell with text content rather than using the delete key which leaves it empty.
Format thousands more rows that you need - it causes file bloat and slow performance.
Use Pie charts when Bar/Column charts convey meaning more easily and do not hide negative values.
Use 3D charts - it's visual clutter, like Flufferpoint.
Use large tables of Lookup formulas when a Pivot table is simpler.
Leave blank rows or columns in data tables, it defeats many convenient navigation and manipulation shortcuts.
Put =SUM() around every formula on the grounds that "We are doing Sums".
Ignore 'Circular Reference' in the status bar.
Use worksheet formulas rather than VBA user defined functions (UDF) where possible.
Use VBA UDFs rather than over-complex worksheet functions (You can see this is like conflicting proverbs :-)).
Leave ghost links in a workbook caused by copy & paste between workbooks.
Embed (hard-code) variables in formulas when they should be in their own cell for ease of update.
Use shared workbooks with tracked changes that can become grossly bloated.
Use garish colour schemes or fonts.
Accumulate large amounts of macro-recorded code without pruning and simplifying it.
Use SUM(A1:A4) rather than A1+A2+A3+A4. It is easier to type
and safer to insert or delete rows within the range.
On the other hand it hides a possibly mistaken sum if a precedent cell
is a number formatted as text.
Use names for constant or parameter cells.
Put disparate blocks of data on separate sheets rather than one one worksheet where inserts or deletions could mess up unrelated tables.
Set number of Recently Used Files to the maximum.
Use Full menus rather than ones that drop down after a hesitation.
Read some good Excel books .. see below for 'Spreadsheet Check and Control'.
Simply send your comments to FEEDBACK (at) SYSMOD (dot) COM
Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor
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