Balance or Scale // PerfectXL Spreadsheet Validation

PerfectXL Explore

Delete what you don’t need

When you develop a spreadsheet that you will share with coworkers in the future, make sure to deliver it clean and delete any distracting information. Mess stimulates mess, and neatness stimulates neatness. An average spreadsheet will be used by 12 different people after you! What do you think will happen when this chain starts with a messy file?

So, create a draft calculation first, and throw it away when the definitive calculation is ready. Also, when you create pivot tables or graphs for data analysis, throw them away as soon as you no longer have need for them.

Unused worksheets

The most common, and infamous, spreadsheet mess is a worksheet that is no longer in use. We visit customers weekly, experienced spreadsheet users, who tell us “ow, just ignore that sheet, we don’t use it anymore”. You can guess what we tell those customers… delete it! Not only because it is hard for the next user to judge whether it can be thrown away, but also because often there are numbers in there that are still in use, but unnoticed. However, they have not been updated in months and become a risk to the results! You will only discover that this is happening when you clean out your spreadsheet.

Unused worksheets in your Excel file // PerfectXL Explore

Delete it? But maybe I’ll need it later!

What to do when you are in doubt? Sometimes you do not know whether a worksheet is still in use. In that case it is best to save the spreadsheet with a clear name, like “report July 2017 incl. alternative cashflow calculation,” and then delete the extra worksheet and save the file under its original name. This way you can always go back to the older version of the spreadsheet to find the worksheet you deleted, and you don’t have to worry about removing the worksheet in question.

Of course, we advise the use of PerfectXL for this situation as well. Our visualization tool shows which worksheets are being used in one simple, easy to read overview.

Visualization of the interconnection of the worksheets in your Excel file // PerfectXL Explore

An extra tip: take a look at named ranges (via formulas -> name manager). Are there any unused ranges in there? Delete what you don’t need!

Delete it? But maybe I’ll need it later!

Visualization of the interconnection of the worksheets in your Excel file // PerfectXL Explore

An extra tip: take a look at named ranges (via formulas -> name manager). Are there any unused ranges in there? Delete what you don’t need!

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Read more about exploring Excel files

On this page you will find a step-by-step walkthrough of the PerfectXL Explore Tool. This page will give you information on how you can use explore to gain a better understanding of complex Excel files.

This is the technical page for PerfectXL Explore. Here you will find information like system requirements, release notes, and answers to most questions about our software. If you have more questions please use the form at the bottom of the page.

In this video we’ll show you how to run a quick basic check of the input sources of your Excel files and how to determine if there is any unknown input. We’ll also show you a powerful way to visualize your spreadsheet’s information flow to help determine the function and dependability of each worksheet.

When we read a book or a report or a website, we read from top to bottom and from left to right. Keep this in mind when you create an Excel file. Try your best to follow that structure both within each worksheet and between them. We advise you to distinguish separate input & output sheets as well as sheets for calculations, documentation and dashboards.

Numbers without meaning are worthless. Excel is a program for numbers, but it is only useful if it is clear to the reader or user what these numbers mean. So, make sure that you provide textual information for all data and formulas, let’s call these pieces of text information labels.

Garbage in, garbage out. So pay serious attention to cleaning your input data as it is the foundation of your spreadsheet and if possible, do it in such a way that it becomes an automated process for the next time you use the same spreadsheet.

Understanding the workings of a spreadsheet is key to correctly interpreting its results. Spreadsheet visualization is an essential feature of PerfectXL Explore. It allows you to create a graphical model of the general flow of information, which also shows of risks, input & output and data & formula flows.

Curious to see what your spreadsheet’s all about? PerfectXL Explore gives you a great starting point. An overview of worksheets, input sources and potential risks are all part of our general spreadsheet characteristics section. It also gives you an insight into the amount of formulas used in your spreadsheet.

Be honest with yourself, how much time does it take you to spit through an Excel file? The opportunities in Excel are endless but this comes with a downside. PerfectXL has the solution. Starting now you can gain a better understanding of your spreadsheets, to help you in improving, documenting, and cleaning up your files. Here are 9 tasks that PerfectXL Explore makes easy.

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