What is a spreadsheet?
I first started using spreadsheet software over a quarter-century ago. Since then, I’ve had opportunity to observe people using spreadsheets in a wide variety of ways. And I’ve noticed one consistent thing over the years: although many people use spreadsheets, only a small percentage of them really know how to use spreadsheet software, or even what a spreadsheet really is.
The truth is, spreadsheets are the most misunderstood of office software.
Many people resort to a spreadsheet whenever they need to organize information in rows and columns. And, while spreadsheets are good at doing that, they are very much more powerful. But I see it over and over: people are expected to know how to use spreadsheet programs when they’ve never had the chance to really learn most of the truly powerful features.
You might be surprised to know that I’ve met people who regular use spreadsheets, but were unaware that they could easily sort the data in them. There are some who are unaware of powerful conditional formatting techniques, and some who don’t know about formulas. Spreadsheet software is continually improving and adding features.
But here’s a secret you may not know:
The most powerful spreadsheet techniques have been around for over 25 years.
That’s right. I still remember my introduction to spreadsheets, back in the days before Windows, before snazzy fonts and what-you-see-is-what-you-get. I spent a couple of hours with a spreadsheet guru, and he taught me the ins and outs of building spreadsheets and really taking advantage of their power. The amazing thing is, all of that power is still relevant—even foundational—in today’s spreadsheets. While there are many more techniques available in modern software, those fundamental techniques are still among the most powerful that I employ on a regular basis.
And they’re still not hard to learn.
If you have a chance to sit with someone who knows his way around, like I did those years ago, you can pick up some skills that will completely change the way you see spreadsheets.
These techniques can make you faster, more productive, and more effective. And they can make your work much more enjoyable, giving you command of your computer in a way that you’ve never known before.
That’s why I’ve created Office Overhaul: Spreadsheets. It’s my way of giving other people the opportunity I had—a chance to focus exclusively on spreadsheets for a single, highly informative day, and to pick up those fundamental techniques that will drive your spreadsheet skills to the next level.
Aren’t spreadsheets just for business people?
One of the most common mischaracterizations of spreadsheets is that they only have value for business people. This is probably because spreadsheet software grew out of the business community, where large paper-based spreadsheets were used to performed “what-if” analysis of business models. But spreadsheets have evolved into a much broader-based tool, with capabilities that can help you in practically any endeavor, professional or educational.
For example, spreadsheets are great for statistical and scientific analysis of data. For creating and analyzing economic models. For comparing options on that new car you’re considering buying. Even for planning events like weddings or parties. The uses are almost endless—if you’re one of the few who know how.
It’s time to be one of the few.
Give yourself the advantage of understanding. Take five hours of your time and turn it into opportunities: to be more valuable to your company, to get a job, to knock out school work with confidence and skill.
Get an Office Overhaul for your spreadsheets. Register now.