Spreadsheets can be incredibly useful and versatile for a number of projects. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons to consider when it comes to this much-used software.

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The pros of spreadsheets

Coding and equations can provide instant calculations for large quantities of data. It’s easy to edit or add data by changing specific cells within that spreadsheet, allowing you to update the content and adapt to your evolving home or business needs.

Data can be neatly organised and stored, and within one file you can have a number of spreadsheets open on different tabs. This makes data storage and accessibility incredibly convenient.

Visual representations can make data easier to interpret. Graphics or charts can provide a quick snapshot of the content, and software typically offers numerous charts and infographic styles that are highly customisable.

Many spreadsheet files and programs work and integrate with other programs and productivity software. For instance, Excel files can be opened in Open Office and saved to an Excel format for later use in Microsoft Excel. In terms of programs, Excel can integrate with Powerpoint and Word in Office 365, allowing for multi-purpose functionality. It’s even possible to convert a PDF to Excel, such as https://pdftables.com/convert-pdf-to-excel, with text recognition run automatically for scanned text.

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The potential pitfalls with spreadsheets

If you’re using more complex analysis functions, the formulas can be more time-consuming to learn and input. Likewise, manual data entry can become a lengthy, boring process, contributing to the likelihood of human error.

Most spreadsheet software can’t check for human error, meaning you need to manually ensure every formula is entered correctly when it comes to automatic calculations and functions.

Despite the cross-software capabilities, there are still some spreadsheets which may cause incompatibility issues if they are proprietary and thus can only be read or edited by the program that initially created the file.

While the Open Office suite is free, other software can come with a one-off fee or subscription cost, as does Office 365’s Excel. Nonetheless, Excel remains the most popular program, with 750 million users worldwide.

Spreadsheets can be highly effective and flexible for data calculations, manipulation and storage. However, data input can be time-consuming and open to human error, so it’s a case of considering your needs and choosing your spreadsheet software accordingly.