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Dietmar Jannach, Thomas Schmitz, Birgit Hofer, & Franz Wotawa


Spreadsheet programs can be found everywhere in organizations and they are used for a variety of purposes, including financial calculations, planning, data aggregation and decision making tasks.

A number of research surveys have however shown that such programs are particularly prone to errors. Some reasons for the error-proneness of spreadsheets are that spreadsheets are developed by end users and that standard software quality assurance processes are mostly not applied. Correspondingly, during the last two decades, researchers have proposed a number of techniques and automated tools aimed at supporting the end user in the development of error-free spreadsheets.

In this paper, we provide a review of the research literature and develop a classification of automated spreadsheet quality assurance (QA) approaches, which range from spreadsheet visualization, static analysis and quality reports, over testing and support to model-based spreadsheet development. Based on this review, we outline possible opportunities for future work in the area of automated spreadsheet QA.


Debugging workbench of the Exquisite system
Debugging workbench of the Exquisite system

We developed the Exquisite tool for Microsoft Excel. Users working with Exquisite were both more efficient and effective than the group that did a manual inspection.


2014, Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 94, August, pages 129–150

Full article

Avoiding, finding and fixing spreadsheet errors: A survey of automated approaches for spreadsheet QA