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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.
It is easier to change things at this stage than when the spreadsheet is well underway. 3/ Provide Adequate Help There are lots of ways to provide help. It could be a heading or title that describes what the spreadsheet is or does a comment in a cell information that is associated with data validation information in a text box a separate worksheet or even separate documentation. The amount of help provided will be determined by how intuitive to use the spreadsheet is and also by the answer to that first question Who is going to use the spreadsheet? 4/ Separate Data Entry from Results Areas of the spreadsheet for data entry should be kept separate from the areas that provide results of calculations.
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Also how do you intend to handle depreciation and amortization since these are non-cash items that are typically added back to the income statement entries when determining the cash effect. Also how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3-5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples current market values projected forward and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you re calculating present value.