43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

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?

Lee's picture

I am the Excel geek...

I am the Excel geek of the family, but my wife impresses me with her resourcefulness. She has tracked our family Xmas budget over the past 5 years, one year per worksheet, with budgeted amounts, actual expenditures, and actual gifts. Then every year, as we are planning for Xmas once again, she can say to me - "You gave that to your brother two years ago, find something better..."

As others have done, I also used Excel for naming our first child. We had a list of 10 names we were considering - 4 were favorites for the first name, and all were in the hunt for the middle name. To help the process along, I wrote a script that put together the 40 combinations, concatenated to our last name. We spent the next week saying them outloud to decide which combination sounded best.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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