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Using spreadsheets

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06/07/2018 - 1:30pm

Using Spreadsheets


Spreadsheets are software tools for analyzing and modeling mathematical relationships and producing charts and graphs from numeric data.


Because they are relatively simple to set up and use, many people use spreadsheets to store and structure numeric and text data.


  • Take a tutorial or course. The more you know about how to enter and sort data, the more you will get out of using a spreadsheet.
  • Use consistent terms, spelling, and formats for non-numeric data. The Autocomplete function in Excel can help you be consistent.
  • If you are sharing spreadsheets, be sure to include version designations in the file names. (See File Naming and Versioning)
  • Spreadsheet software can undergo frequent changes as new versions are released. To protect the longevity of your spreadsheet data, replace formulae with values and export and archive versions in sustainable formats, such as CSV.
  • If your data set is large, complex in structure, or multiple users need to use it, consider moving your data to a database.

What are some options?


  • A number of resources on using spreadsheets are available online, for example, tutorials at about.com.