Spreadsheets are dangerous to their authors and others.
Durusau & Hunting (2015)
Spreadsheets are extraordinarily and unacceptably prone to error.
Dunn (2010)
It is irrational to expect large error-free spreadsheets.
Panko (2013)
Spreadsheets are more fault-prone than other software.
Kulesz & Ostberg (2013)
Untested spreadsheets are riddled with errors.
Miller (2005)
Overconfidence is one of the most substantial causes of spreadsheet errors.
Sakal, et al (2015)
A significant proportion of spreadsheets have severe quality problems.
Ayalew (2007)
Spreadsheets are often hard, if not impossible, to understand.
Mireault & Gresham (2015)
Programmers exhibit unwarranted confidence in the correctness of their spreadsheets.
Krishna, et al (2001)
Spreadsheet errors are still the rule rather than the exception.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
The untested spreadsheet is as dangerous and untrustworthy as an untested program.
Price (2006)
Errors in spreadsheets are as ubiquitous as spreadsheets themselves.
Colbenz (2005)
Spreadsheets can be viewed as a highly flexible programming environment for end users.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Most large spreadsheets have dozens or even hundreds of errors.
Panko & Ordway (2005)
Even obvious, elementary errors in very simple, clearly documented spreadsheets are... difficult to find.
Galletta, et al (1993)
Spreadsheets have a notoriously high number of faults.
Rust, et al (2006)
1% of all formulas in operational spreadsheets are in error.
Powell, Baker, & Lawson (2009)
Spreadsheets are alarmingly error-prone to write.
Paine (2001)
Spreadsheet shortcomings can significantly hamper an organization's business operation.
Reschenhofer & Matthes (2015)
60% of large companies feel 'Spreadsheet Hell' describes their reliance on spreadsheets.
Murphy (2007)
Spreadsheets contain errors at an alarmingly high rate.
Abraham, et al (2005)
Research on spreadsheet errors is substantial, compelling, and unanimous.
Panko (2015)
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2008)
Spreadsheet errors... a great, often unrecognised, risk to corporate decision making & financial integrity.
Chadwick (2002)
Spreadsheets... pose a greater threat to your business than almost anything you can imagine.
Howard (2005)
Spreadsheet errors have resulted in huge financial losses.
Abraham & Erwig (2007)
The results given by spreadsheets are often just wrong.
Sajaniemi (1998)
Most executives do not really check or verify the accuracy or validity of [their] spreadsheets...
Teo & Tan (1999)
Every study, without exception, has found error rates much higher than organizations would wish to tolerate.
Panko (1999)
Spreadsheets are the most popular live programming environments, but they are also notoriously fault-prone.
Hermans & van der Storm (2015)
The software that end users are creating... is riddled with errors.
Burnett & Myers (2014)
...few incidents of spreadsheet errors are made public and these are usually not revealed by choice.
Kruck & Sheetz (2001)
Despite overwhelming and unanimous evidence... companies have continued to ignore spreadsheet error risks.
Panko (2014)
Errors in spreadsheets... result in incorrect decisions being made and significant losses incurred.
Beaman, et al (2005)
Spreadsheet development must embrace extensive testing in order to be taken seriously as a profession.
Bock (2016)
Developing an error-free spreadsheet has been a problem since the beginning of end-user computing.
Mireault (2015)
It is now widely accepted that errors in spreadsheets are both common and potentially dangerous.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
Spreadsheet errors are pervasive, stubborn, ubiquitous and complex.
Irons (2003)
Despite being staggeringly error prone, spreadsheets are a highly flexible programming environment.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Never assume a spreadsheet is right, even your own.
Raffensperger (2001)
People tend to believe their spreadsheets are more accurate than they really are.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
The issue is not whether there is an error but how many errors there are and how serious they are.
Panko (2007)
A lot of decisions are being made on the basis of some bad numbers.
Ross (1996)
Every study that has looked for errors has found them... in considerable abundance.
Panko & Halverson (1996)
94% of the 88 spreadsheets audited in 7 studies have contained errors.
Panko (2008)
Your spreadsheets may be disasters in the making.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone.
Cunha, et al (2011)
Spreadsheets are easy to use and very hard to check.
Chen & Chan (2000)
The quality and reliability of spreadsheets is known to be poor.
Bishop & McDaid (2007)
Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of errors in spreadsheets.
Csernoch & Biro (2013)

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Detecting faulty empty cells in spreadsheets
Authors Liang Xu, Shuo Wang, Wensheng Dou, Bo Yang, Chushu Gao, Jun Wei, Tao Huang
Year 2018
Type Proceedings
Publication IEEE 25th International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER)
Series March
Abstract

Spreadsheets play an important role in various business tasks, such as financial reports and data analysis. In spreadsheets, empty cells are widely used for different purposes, e.g., separating different tables, or default value "0".

However, a user may delete a formula unintentionally, and leave a cell empty. Such ad-hoc modification may introduce a faulty empty cell that should have a formula.

We observe that the context of an empty cell can help determine whether the empty cell is faulty. For example, is the empty cell next to a cell array in which all cells share the same semantics? Does the empty cell have headers similar to other non-empty cells?

In this paper, we propose EmptyCheck, to detect faulty empty cells in spreadsheets. By analyzing the context of an empty cell, EmptyCheck validates whether the cell belong to a cell array. If yes, the empty cell is faulty since it does not contain a formula.

We evaluate EmptyCheck on 100 randomly sampled EUSES spreadsheets. The experimental result shows that EmptyCheck can detect faulty empty cells with high precision (75.00%) and recall (87.04%). Existing techniques can detect only 4.26% of the true faulty empty cells that EmptyCheck detects.

Full version Available
Sample
Faulty empty cells
Faulty empty cells

This is a real spreadsheet extracted from the EUSES corpus.

This spreadsheet contains many empty cells. We cluster them into two categories according to the degree of their harmfulness:

  • Harmless empty cells. Users may leave cells empty intentionally: To make the layout more intuitive or when data is not available. These empty cells are considered as correct and harmless.
  • Faulty empty cells. Some empty cells should be filled with formulas. For example, column G is used to calculate the parcel tax by adding columns B, C and E. G8 should have the formula "=B8+C8+E8". We consider cell G8 as a faulty empty cell. Similarly, cells G11 and G12 are also faulty empty cells.

EmptyCheck marks the faulty empty cells with a red triangle.

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