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It is easy convenient and I admit ego-boosting to show off what I can do in a spreadsheet. With that in mind let s look at some of the differences between these two different types of tools. For the purposes of this article I selected six criteria by which to make the comparison. These were selected from the feedback of customers and prospects as well as learning what is important for the successful adoption and implementation of project tools within an organization. Data Mining Data mining is a huge part of project management tools. The whole reason for having a tool is to collect data so that you can look intelligently at that data make sure your processes are performing as advertised and make good decisions.
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.
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Bonus Tip: Stick with Conventions I mentioned before that the buttons on the hard-to-use spreadsheet were square. If you look at just about any website using a button the ratio of width to height falls roughly in the range 2:1 to about 5:1. Sizes too far outside this range look a bit strange and are not as readily identifiable as buttons. Hyperlinks that you create in Excel can be formatted any colour you like but unless there is a good reason stick with the well-known blue and underlined as in ExcelProductivityTips. The spreadsheet templates that used to ship with Excel were formatted with light yellow for areas of data entry and light green for results. Some people still use this convention.