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Spreadsheet Day

Feeding Your Monster Spreadsheets

How often has this happened to you? You started out with a simple Excel spreadsheet, to track one or two key items. Before long, that spreadsheet has turned into a monster – dozens of columns (or more!), and you're constantly entering data.

Those spreadsheets remind me of Audrey, the hungry plant in Little Shop of Horrors. You can almost hear your spreadsheets shouting, "Feed me!"

Vail Daily columnist, Richard Carnes, describes his year-long experiment with a "simple spreadsheet" that grew much bigger than he had originally planned. You can read about his food tracking spreadsheet here:

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: A spreadsheet for life

At least he knew when to quit!


Excel Student Budget: Spreadsheet Day 2011

SpreadsheetDay82Happy Spreadsheet Day! Each year, on October 17th, we celebrate our wonderful worksheets and terrific templates. This is the date that VisiCalc was first released to customers, in 1979.

To participate in Spreadsheet Day, please keep reading, to see our theme for this year, and how you can join in.

Student Spreadsheets

This year, our Spreadsheet Day theme is Spreadsheets for Students. On the Contextures Blog, I've posted a Student Time Tracker spreadsheet, to help you track your lecture hours and course work hours.


Student Budget Workbook

It's also crucial to plan and track your spending, when you're a student on a limited income. Bob Ryan, from the Simply Learning Excel website, has contributed a Student Budget spreadsheet, that should help you get organized.

You can enter your budget amounts and track your actual spending, including payments with cash and credit cards.


Keep track of the running balance.


Compare your budget amounts with the actual amounts.


And make sure that your bank balance is what you expect!


Download the Student Budget Workbook

To see Bob's student budget workbook, and start using it for your own finances, you can download the Student Budget Spreadsheet file. The file is in Excel 2007/2010 format, and it is zipped. There are no macros in the file.

If you have questions, you can post them on Bob's Simply Learning Excel blog, or ask them in the comments here.

Contribute to Spreadsheet Day 2011

To join the celebrations, please post your own free and useful spreadsheet template or add-in, that will help students get organized. And send me the link, so I can share it here.

Or, if you prefer, post a spreadsheet tip or link in Twitter, with the hashtag #spreadsheetday – that will help students find your tip.

Thanks for joining the celebrations, and for sharing your spreadsheet knowledge with students. I'm sure they'll appreciate it!


Preparing for Spreadsheet Day 2011

spreadsheet dayIt's only 9 days until Spreadsheet Day 2011 – Monday, October 17th. Have you got your office party organized? Are you taking the day off, to make a long weekend for the holiday?

Share the Spreadsheet Joy

To celebrate Spreadsheet Day 2011, let's work on a spreadsheet challenge.

Could you create and share a free template or add-in, to help students with their school work and personal organization? What spreadsheet tools could a struggling student use?

  • Roommate chore list
  • Course assignment checklist
  • Grade analyzer
  • ???

If you don't have time to make a template, you can drop by this blog next Monday, and leave a spreadsheet tip in the comments.

  • Share an awesome formula
  • Post a time-saving keyboard shortcut

Post Your Contributions

On Monday, October 17th, please post your Spreadsheet Day template / add-in / tip on your blog, or Facebook, or Twitter (use hashtag #spreadsheetday), or create a public Google spreadsheet.

If you send me a link to your free and useful Spreadsheet Day tool, I'll post it here, to help students find your work.

Thanks! I look forward to seeing your contributions. Will you join in the Spreadsheet Day 2011 Challenge?


VisiCalc’s Dan Bricklin at Apple WWDC 2011

apple The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is running this week in San Francisco. On the WWDC website, you can only see the schedule if you log in, so I don’t know how much time is devoted to spreadsheets at the conference. My guess – not much.

However, Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc, was at WWDC, and was interviewed by The Mac Observer.

DB: Yep. I wrote the original prototype in BASIC on the Apple II. And I also wrote a little bit of the actual code. Bob Frankston wrote the bulk of it back in 1979. That was indeed the first killer app for the PC world. The personal computing world.”

These days, Dan Bricklin is creating apps for the iPhone and iPad.

“If Apple would let us, but Apple doesn’t like us to do things like that, we could probably build an [Intel] 8080 emulator for iOS and run the old IBM PC things like VisiCalc on the iPhone.”

Dan Bricklin Interview Part 1

Dan Bricklin Interview Part 2


Excel at the London 2012 Olympics

image Yes, an Excel spreadsheet can do all kinds of magical things, and you can push it well beyond its expected limits. But, you also have to know when to quit pushing.

In an article in today’s Register, the author, Kelly Fiveash, has uncovered a job advertisement for someone to manage the London 2012 Olympics “Cultural Olympiad” events. And the database they’re using is Excel.

The majority of the Team & Database Administrators work will be to work with the Senior Operations Manager, and Business Manager, in management of the central cultural events database (held in excel).

That can’t be good! You can read Kelly’s article here:

Entire London 2012 Olympics' cultural events database held on Excel