Do You Have A Love-Hate Relationship with Excel?

Improvement Insights Blog

Do You Have A Love-Hate Relationship with Excel?

Few people take the time to learn how to use even basic formulas in Excel. I even found data to prove it. How much more effective could you be if you learn a little bit more about Excel?

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“Many years ago I went to an Excelapalooza conference. I know, ‘Excelapalooza’ sounds funky, doesn’t it? But it was interesting.

“We had one of the leaders of the Excel development team there and she was talking about all the new features and everything else that they’re plugging in, but she gave me some startling statistics. Evidently, Microsoft tracks these things: Less than five percent of Excel spreadsheets have a formula in them.

“What?! That’s one of the secret powers of Microsoft Excel: a formula, so you can add, subtract, multiply, divide… do things like that. In the QI Macros I use those so extensively to create control chart formulas and everything else. I don’t give it a second thought, but obviously a lot of people do.

“The other thing she announced was that 50-something percent of them used ‘merge and center.’ I can tell you ‘merge and center’ is designed to create headings over spreadsheets that have manually entered numbers. Wow, that’s a waste of time. (By the way, ‘center across selection’ works much better than ‘merge and center’ if you want to try and chart or graph anything, so just stay away from ‘merge and center.’)

“People often tell me they have a love/hate relationship with Excel. Well, I’m going to suggest to you that you don’t need to know everything there is to know about Excel. I only know about this much, and I’m pretty sure there’s that much, all right? But I know a lot of good things, and I want you to think about “Well, maybe I’ll learn how to use a formula to add some things.” On the QI Macros website we have some things about Excel about just how to set up spreadsheets for QI Macros: how to analyze data, how to do formulas and do stuff like that.

“Go spend a little time learning one new thing. Go to YouTube, learn one new thing about how to use Excel and I’m guaranteeing you over time you add a little and a little and you’ll be a superstar, at least compared to everybody around you because they’re still using ‘merge and center,’ entering numbers into a spreadsheet. If you’re just going to do that, oh my gosh, just use Google Sheets. You don’t need Excel.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Let’s learn how to use the tools that we have even more effectively than we do now. Let’s go out and improve something this week. “

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