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

Toggle Excel Conditional Formatting on and off

8 January 2017

One of the nice features of Excel Tables is the banded row formatting, which makes it easier to read and scan your data.

Unfortunately Excel Tables aren't efficient with large data sets (over 100k rows), but we can replicate the banded rows with Conditional Formatting, and we can toggle it on and off at the click of a button, as shown in this blog.

How to lock cell formula references for table columns in Excel

How to lock cell formula references for table columns in Excel

24 December 2016

One of the most powerful features of Excel formulas is the ability to create absolute references that don't move around when you drag to extend cell formulas or copy them to different places in your spreadsheet.

When you start using data tables in Excel, many users are frustrated to discover that the normal methods for freezing the row or column references don't work! This can make it time consuming to build your spreadsheets when they use tables.

Fortunately, there are some workarounds! We'll walk through a few of them in this quick tutorial.

Like operator

Like operator

4 December 2016

The Like operator allows you to match a string to a pattern in Excel VBA.

This blog describes usage of the VBA Like operator and, as a bonus, mentions how you can use the question mark ? and asterisk * for pattern matching in many Excel functions

The VBA Like operator uses the following patterns:

  • ? (question mark) - Matches any single character.
  • * (asterisk) - Matches zero or more characters.
  • # (number or hash sign) - Any single digit.
  • [abc] - Characters enclosed in brackets allows you to match any single character in the string.
  • [!abc] - The exclamation mark (!) matches any single character not in the string.
  • [A-Z] - The hyphen lets you specify a range of characters.
VBA error handling – A complete guide

VBA error handling – A complete guide

27 November 2016

This post provides a complete guide to VBA error handling.

Topics covered include:

  • VBA errors.
  • The On Error statement.
  • The Err object.
  • Logging.
  • Error function and error statement.
  • A simple error handling strategy.
  • A complete error handling strategy.
Transparency measures in Excel

Transparency measures in Excel

5 November 2016

Transparency is important to auditors and to those who commission models because the less transparent a model is the longer it takes to audit and the more it costs to deliver.

I have never seen a 'transparency' measure yet modelers claim one method is more transparent than another. How do they know? The short answer is, they don't because no one, that I know of, measures model transparency.

This article proposes a metric for Excel model transparency. A model's transparency is the sum of components for:

  • Constants. To measure a constant's transparency we count the minimum number of steps required to find its LABEL (meaning).
  • References. To measure a reference's transparency we count the minimum number of steps required to find its VALUE and LABEL.
  • Formulas. To understand any formula we must understand its references, its operators, and its functions.
Modeling best practices

Modeling best practices

8 October 2016

This article presents an overview of recommended Excel modeling best practices:

  • Use a simplified SDLC for spreadsheets.
  • Use a simplified Version Control process.
  • Focus on reducing points of failure.
  • Reuse pretested standard formulas and templates.
  • Use self-documenting formulas.
  • Use tool-tip documentation.
  • Reduce data entry errors.
Illegal Excel name characters

Illegal Excel name characters

2 October 2016

An Excel pioneer, Peter Bartholomew, likes to create Excel names using odd characters.

For example, he uses a ? at the end of a name to identify it as a Boolean value like YES/NO or TRUE/FALSE. He also uses to indicate the name points to a prior value.

I like his concept. But I was shocked to see his names because I was led to believe those characters were illegal.

I checked my sources which include Microsoft's reference and the best VBA websites. None of them provided a complete list of invalid characters and some were just plain wrong.

So I rolled up my sleeves and wrote some code to create Excel names using the ASCII standard (first 255) character set:

  • Symbols shaded in red cannot be used anywhere in Excel names.
  • Symbols shaded in yellow cannot be used as the first character in Excel names.
  • All other codes can be used anywhere in Excel names.
20 tips for named ranges in Excel

20 tips for named ranges in Excel

30 September 2016

Named ranges are one of these crusty old features in Excel that few users understand. New users may find them weird and scary, and even old hands may avoid them because they seem pointless and complex.

But named ranges are actually a pretty cool feature. They can make formulas *a lot* easier to create, read, and maintain. And as a bonus, they make formulas easier to reuse (more portable).

This article has 20 tips for creating and using named ranges in Excel, grouped as follows:

  • The basics of named ranges in Excel.
  • Named ranges in formulas.
  • Key benefits of named ranges.
  • Dynamic named ranges.
  • Deleting named ranges.
VBA Class modules – The ultimate guide

VBA Class modules – The ultimate guide

13 September 2016

This article provides a comprehensive introduction to the use of Class modules in VBA.

Topics covered include:

  • Why we use objects.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Class modules.
  • Explanation of how to use VBA Class modules.
  • Examples of using Classes in VBA.
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