How To Copy And Paste Excel Sheet With Formulas Excel Tip – Top 5 Ways to Avoid Problems With Your Excel Spreadsheet

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Excel Tip – Top 5 Ways to Avoid Problems With Your Excel Spreadsheet

When developing a spreadsheet solution in Excel, you make decisions and change features and formulas that at the time make sense and have a logical flow. Once you come back to fix, or improve or troubleshoot your spread sheet, what made sense during development, may not be so clear later.

So here are my top 5 things to avoid when developing a spreadsheet solution so you can troubleshoot and get your spreadsheet working properly.

1. Combined cells.

They may look good, but they can wreak havoc on your spreadsheet’s performance including losing the ability to edit data correctly or run VBA as it doesn’t handle nested cells properly. You also lose the functionality of a standard data table in Excel; those are great functions like Pivot Tables, SUMIF, COUNTIF etc the list goes on!. If you want to use Auto Fill – no chance with merged cells and don’t expect to be able to copy and paste.

2. Hidden Rows and Columns.

Unless you want to hide any rows or columns, don’t. Why, because they are hidden!. They can confuse users trying to follow the logic of a spreadsheet, users can’t see them but Excel will still use those cells in the calculations which can then appear to users causing wrong data. They can cause issues with importing new data into your workbook and issues with VBA code.

3. Avoid empty cells, rows and columns.

You may not always have a value in every cell in your workbook, but leaving cells completely blank has a big impact on certain functions in Excel. For example -AUTOSUM or using filter by empty cells will affect Excel calculations. If you have spaces, always consider using zeros or a descriptive value such as NA.

4. Avoid multitasking.

A dynamic function is to recalculate every time the worksheet changes. These include NOW(), TODAY(), OFFSET functions. If you use large or large amounts of these in a workbook it will eventually start to slow it down.

5. Avoid unnecessarily complex formulas.

One thing I’ve learned about developing spreadsheet solutions is that users (eventually) want to see all the functionality in a formula. For example a common sales formula of

=(Price*SalesQuantity)-(Price*SalesQuantity)*Discount+(Price*SalesQuantity)*Tax

Users will want to know the Sales Price Totals, Discounted Totals and Sales Tax Value shown by separate columns. This is where we can break down the parts of the formula into smaller formulas in their own columns or what we call ‘helper columns’. If you can increase the functionality of the calculations it will make the spreadsheet logic easier for users to follow leading to fewer questions.

These are the top 5 to watch when creating a spreadsheet.

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