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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.
Consider multiple pages if your spreadsheet needs the space but be sure to make the breaks in the pages or information logical. You do not want to add more confusion by trying to prevent confusion. Ultimately it would be best if users can view the spreadsheet at 100% and it fits your screen. If a user has to decrease the view size to view the spreadsheet in its entirety then the information becomes harder to read. Fonts You should choose one type of font and consistently use it throughout the spreadsheet. The only exception would be titles or headings. The use of a different font will make it that much easier to differentiate between titles and data.
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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.