Spreadsheet good practice guidelines
Most workbooks are poorly organized – being a random jumble of data, formulae, charts, PivotTables, etc. With the lack of a coherent design, it is difficult to know where to start, what to change, and which things are important. Sound familiar?
But it doesn't need to be that way. With a bit of thought, we can organize our workbooks. By doing things like following simple naming conventions, arranging content into modules, and being consistent, our workbooks can be tidy and organized.
With a well-organized design, our spreadsheets are easier to use, simpler to change, less prone to errors, and more credible.
- Divide a workbook into logical modules.
- Modules are clearly separated and named.
- The modules have a flow that fits the context.
A fundamental principle of good spreadsheet design is the use of a modular structure. Using modules makes a spreadsheet easier to understand, use, modify, and test.
- Use a consistent structure for similar content.
- Maintain consistent orientation.
- Have consistent styles throughout the workbook.
- Terminology is used consistently.
- Highlight inconsistent formulae in a block.
Using consistent structure and style makes a workbook easier to understand and use.