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Showing posts from June, 2017

Do you accept 94% probability of an error?

It is an undeniable fact that spreadsheets are one of the most frequently used types of software. Just Excel alone has 750 million users, as Microsoft reports, and there are also other software solutions that share a portion of the market, such as Apple Numbers or Google Sheets. Those outstanding numbers show that spreadsheets have become a de facto standard for data analysis and manipulation and are widely used by businesses of all sizes from small to big, municipalities and other government organizations.

With that in mind, it is easy to imagine the tremendous impact that can be made by errors in spreadsheets. Unfortunately, those errors exist and are very common. And this is not just an assumption, there has been an actual scientific research and a number of papers was published on the subject. The errors were categorised in many ways, from hard-coded constraints, wrong formulas, forgotten rows to corrupted links. Researchers developed an auditing protocol and applied it on 50 real…

The Excel half-life - how quickly your data crash?

It often starts with a simple task – to create a small report in a spreadsheet. You know that you need just a few charts and tables, and using spreadsheet is the fastest and the most convenient way to do it. However, soon after that, you find out that a report is never small enough. Your boss asks you to add some data that weren’t considered before, and another chart, and then change some numbers... Actually, the report has become a living organism that is constantly changing according to the current needs. More questions arise – what if we tried this and that, what if we added one last chart, what if we changed the parameters slightly? There is always something to improve and you want your report to be as good as it can be, don’t you? So, the data are copied, duplicated, modified and the functions are getting more and more complex for the sake of soon-to-be perfection (in which you still believe). The report is getting bigger and better, you think you’re almost finished, and then it…