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Open Thread: How are you using Excel?

Yesterday, I mentioned I'd been talking with someone who's looking at interesting things people are doing with Microsoft Excel. I talked to her again yesterday, and with her official okey-dokey, I'll virtually introduce Tralee Pearce (*waves*), a reporter from Toronto's Globe & Mail whom you might remember from a very swell article about the Hipster PDA.

So, by request -- and to help Tralee with fleshing out her fun-sounding article -- I hope you all will jump in here: What kind of cool, novel, and non-obvious stuff are you doing with Excel? What's the wildest, most obsessive, most nerdy thing you ever saw someone do with our favorite spreadsheet program?

drivers's picture

I use it for GTD...

I use it for GTD tracking. In column 1 there is a list of "projects", roughly sorted into types: urgent, trouble tickets, things that need to be documented. The top row is a label for each column that alternates between two types: a narrow column with today's date in a compact form (e.g. 8/22), and a wider column. If I work on a project that day, I put an star in the narrow column *. If I complete that, I put an X in the column, and I also color the row in with a gray background. In the wider column, I put in the "next action". Eventually you want to hide earlier days to keep the spreadsheet on one screen, so you have to do your "weekly review" to get a next action typed in for all your projects at once, and then hide the previous days' columns. Later I cut/paste the gray rows into another worksheet to have a running list of what I did and when. In this worksheet the columns are not hidden so you can see what you've been working on casecade across the sheet (set to view at less than 100% to see it all). The first column and the first row are locked into place on the screen using split columns.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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