What Is a Spreadsheet?

Spreadsheets store tabular data. They are used in business and industry and for personal purposes such as household accounts. Spreadsheet software can contain powerful features, such as formulae to make calculations, create graphs and data visualisations and perform complex data manipulation. Spreadsheets are exceptionally useful and versatile and are used in almost every company.

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What Are the Best Spreadsheet Formats?

The UK data service recommends CSV spreadsheet formats for long-term storage of tabular data with minimal metadata, describing XLS/XLSX as a widely used format. CSV (comma separated variable) spreadsheets are the most ubiquitous spreadsheet format and can be opened and read in a huge number of software packages. XLS/XLSX formats are a Microsoft creation, but they can now be read and created in many other spreadsheet packages, including free-to-use software such as Google Sheets and Libre Office.

Why Use a Spreadsheet?

If you have a quantity of data that you need to sort, order or perform calculations on, a spreadsheet could be your best bet. Advanced Excel users create ‘macros’ – mini programs that can run in a spreadsheet to transform data in a particular way – and ‘pivot tables’, which can work with large data sets to create reports and identify significant data.

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Spreadsheet or Database: What Is the Difference?

A database could be more useful to you if you have many different related spreadsheets of information and if your data has a lot of metadata (data about data) that needs to be stored with it. Relational databases can store many large tables of rows and columns of data, relate them to each other using keys and allow sophisticated and complex queries to be written to create datasets.

Creating a Spreadsheet from a PDF
You may wish to extract data from another document format and turn it into a spreadsheet for ease of use. Should your data only be available to you in a PDF, a quick and simple solution is to use the PDF to Excel service available at a site such as https://pdftables.com/.

Within minutes, your data could be transformed into an easily manipulated spreadsheet format, saving you hours of copy-pasting.

A good working knowledge of spreadsheets and their uses is a great business asset and can save you many hours. There are some great tutorials available online, so why don’t you get started today?

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