i-nth logo


Hock Chuan Chan, Chen Ying, & C. B. Peh


Spreadsheets are very widely used at various levels of the organization. Studies have shown that errors do occur frequently during the development of spreadsheet models. Empirical studies of operational spreadsheet models show that a large percentage of them contain errors.

However, the identification of errors is difficult and tedious, and errors have led to drastically wrong decisions. It is thus important to develop new strategies and auditing tools for detecting errors.

A suite of new auditing visualization tools have been designed and implemented in Visual Basic for Application (VBA), as an add-in module for easy inclusion in any Excel 97 or Excel 2000 installation.

Furthermore, four strategies are proposed for detecting errors. These range from an overview strategy to identify logical components of the spreadsheet model, to specific strategies targeted at specific types of error. Illustrations show how these strategies can be supported with the new visualization tools.


Extended guidelines
Extended guidelines

One of the standard guidelines for spreadsheet design is to adopt a top-down-left-right structure. Spreadsheets that follow this model are less prone to errors. The tool examines the selected area's adherence to this rule and shows all relations which are against the guideline.


2000, Information and Software Technology, Volume 42, Number 15, December, pages 1037–1043

Full article

Strategies and visualization tools for enhancing user auditing of spreadsheet models