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Spreadsheets can be your most effective and powerful tool in your business arsenal if you take advantage of the multitude of options and features available. Learning how to appropriately use these features will not only make your presentation stronger but also provide you with a simple means of sorting and organizing data. The data is important but will mean nothing if it isn t presented in a palatable form. Spreadsheets are the king of project management support tools because they are the most convenient tool to use and the most frequently used tool.
Cell Options If you look under the "Format Cells" menu that appears when you right-click on a cell or selected cells you ll see a multitude of choices as far as borders colors patterns and number options for your cells. Borders should be used to contain your data within the cells and provide nice straight lines for your readers to follow. You can emphasize headings with thicker point borders or even dashed or dotted lines. Try to remain consistent throughout your spreadsheet. If all of the headings have a three point border than continue that throughout the document.
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Yet there is no tool for project management that is more popular or widespread than the spreadsheet despite the fact that spreadsheets are not designed to be project support tools. Even in organizations with an established project management tool spreadsheets are used. There are obvious reasons for this. A spreadsheet program is on almost every computer in every organization people are familiar with spreadsheets and how to use them and people are pre-disposed to use these "office" types of software tools to solve problems. And I am right there with them. I love using spreadsheets to track all kinds of data.
Patterns are good to use if you want to identify an area as defunct or currently not in use. Some use a strikeout on the information already there but a pattern can leave the information fairly easy to read but at the same time provide a kind of "construction area" type look to signify that this information is not currently in use on the spreadsheet. The number options refer to the type of information you re placing in the cell. If you tell Excel that you are entering currency numbers then it will automatically add the dollar sign (or others if using a different currency) and decimal point as you enter numbers.