Some Principles of
Now that we have reviewed at least one basic workbook it should be
easier to describe some overall guiding principles for
spreadsheet/workbook development. Obviously, people are going to
develop things in different ways. But there are still some
underlying principles and patterns that can be useful to use for
guidance when developing spreadsheets.
- Make the spreadsheet do as much
work as possible. You don't want to be doing a lot of the
work to prepare the entries. This should also make a spreadsheet
more self contained.
- Whenever possible, a cell
formula should be used rather than entering specific numbers.
Among other things, this vastly improves the automatic recalculation as
well as providing a resource for determining how the calculations were
done or how the entries were derived.
- Format the spreadsheet so that
it is easier to understand. Well chosen borders, fonts,
legends and whatever definitely improve the readability and sense of
- Name each spreadsheet
in a workbook appropriately. It is almost always
important to group spreadsheets within a workbook if they have some
functional interaction. It is also worthwhile to name the sheets and
workbook so that the names provide some sort of mnemonic related to their
- Name ranges and cells as
much as is reasonable. It is much easier to make
use of formulas that have names in them rather than just cell
locations. You also need to make sure that the locations of
these named cells and ranges are pretty obvious on the spreadsheet.