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Your spreadsheet should follow this convention too. The information that the user needs to first see or respond to first should be in the top left or top centre. 7/ Format for Description The rule of thumb is; format for description not decoration. What looks good to one person can look terrible to another. Multiple colours can be confusing and again generally simpler is better. If you have created a table or a database in Excel the headings could be bolded to separate these from the data. Perhaps more important than the choice of formatting is that it is consistent throughout the document.
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.
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If not done it can be confusing for the end user and also becomes harder to maintain the spreadsheet. This separation might involve using separate worksheets or just ensuring a clear distinction between the two areas on the one worksheet. 5/ KISS Too much information on one worksheet can be overwhelming and generally simpler is better. The spreadsheet mentioned at the start of this article could have been improved by spreading information over other worksheets. Other ways to achieve a simpler look are: - Using charts to convey information rather than tables of data. - Increasing the row height so that the worksheet is not too dense with data. - Shading every second row on a worksheet with a light colour where there are lots of numbers. 6/ Consider the Normal Flow of a Document The usual way to read a book newspaper or just text on screen is left to right and top to bottom.