Software

10 ways to screw up your spreadsheet design

How you set up a spreadsheet determines its efficiency, usability, and reliability. Avoiding these pitfalls during the design phase will save you a million headaches.

Wrong references, missing values, and invalid data aren't the only things that will ruin a spreadsheet. The development process starts before you do a thing, while you're planning the design. These types of mistakes are worse than bugs because you can't troubleshoot them. All you can do is start over. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid early in the process, when you're still in the decision-making phase.

1: That sheet has a million rows and I'm going to fill them all!

An Excel 2007 sheet suggests that you can have up to a million rows of data -- but you really can't. If you have that much data, you need more power than Excel has to offer. Consider a new strategy, such as using SQL Server Express. Excel simply can't handle that much data even if it gives the impression that it can.

2: I use Excel as my database

"Hi! I'm working on a database project and I'm using Excel." Um... not with my help, you're not. An Excel sheet and a database table may look similar. Excel displays data in rows and columns, but that's as close as an Excel sheet and a database table get. If you must use an Excel workbook to store data in database-like fashion, think in terms of a flat file database (which repeats values from record to record). If you need a relational database system, use Access or SQL Server. Having multiple sheets doesn't give a workbook relational capabilities. You'll just break your heart trying to use Excel that way.

3: I know a few blank cells won't matter

Empty cells aren't wrong, but they can interfere with the way some functions work. For instance, the AVERAGE() function evaluates the value 0 and an empty cell differently. In addition, many features interpret a blank cell as the end of your data. For these reasons, avoid a design that accommodates blank cells when possible. If empty cells are valid, define those values within the context of the tools and functions you'll be using, so you can avoid unexpected errors and bad data.

4: I always start at A1

Many developers anchor their spreadsheets at A1 -- it's a habit. That means summarizing functions and expressions are at the bottom or the right of all the data. In a small sheet, it doesn't matter, but a large sheet is another story. Users will waste a lot of time scrolling between the data and summary values. You can build a custom view or show users how to use [F5], but there's a more efficient alternative. Leave a few blank rows at the top and a few blank columns to the left of the data range. That way, you can insert summarizing functions in the first screen the users see. Those top blank rows are also a good spot for advanced filter criteria.

5: I put as much as possible in each cell

An Excel sheet isn't a trash compactor. The more data you put into a single cell, the fewer opportunities you'll have to use and extract the data you need. Instead, atomize! Within the context of designing a spreadsheet, atomize means to break down your data into the smallest possible elements. For instance, if you're storing names, split the first and last names into two columns instead of one. If you store the names in firstname lastname format, you can't sort by last name. If you think the easy solution to that dilemma is to use lastname firstname format, you might get a surprise later on -- someone is sure to ask for that type by first names. Always break your data into the smallest reasonable pieces. You can concatenate values later, but it's difficult to reverse-engineer data.

6: I set all my sheets to manual to speed things up

By default, Excel automatically recalculates formulas when a dependent cell changes. In a poorly designed or large workbook, all that calculating can slow things down. A common reaction to a slow workbook is to set the calculation mode to manual. The sheet will then recalculate only when you explicitly tell it to by pressing [F9]. There's an unseen consequence to this madness, though: Eventually, you will refer to a value that hasn't been updated. Manual calculation isn't bad; it just isn't the right fix for a slow workbook.

7: I did it myself!

This is one of those tips that won't benefit the folks who need it the most -- they won't recognize themselves. Most of us (and I include myself in this group) don't have all the necessary skills to build from scratch every spreadsheet we need. We're not stupid. We just lack a particular skill set. When you don't feel quite up to the task, rely on someone else. It's okay to start with a prebuilt template and make changes to meet your needs. Your end product will be more dependable and you'll save time.

8: I love to jazz up my spreadsheets with WordArt

"Word on the street is, he uses WordArt. Amateur!" I don't understand why, but WordArt is definitely taboo. Professionals absolutely hate it. If you use it, no one will notice your efficient formulas or helpful macros. All they'll see is your snazzy WordArt headings. They'll shake their heads and call another developer. WordArt produces some interesting effects, but never use it in a professional application.

9: I put everything on Sheet1 so it's easy to find

By default, Excel provides three two-dimensional sheets, and you can add more. The inclination is to put everything on the first sheet and to ignore the rest. It's an extreme you should avoid. If you cram everything onto that first sheet, you'll end up with a mess that's hard to use. When designing sheets, think in terms of major functions or tasks. Everything doesn't have to fit on one screen -- it's about function, not display. Each sheet's task should be specific and autonomous. Dedicated sheets are easy to use and maintain.

10: I distribute everything across a whole bunch of sheets

The opposite of #9 is using dozens of sheets, each containing just a small amount of data. This design mistake won't make data easier to find. In fact, the more sheets your users have to browse, the more difficult it will be to find what they need. And once you spread your data across too many sheets, mistakes start creeping in. You reference the wrong sheets, the wrong cells -- it's difficult to keep track of all the pieces when they're spread out like that.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

81 comments
GSG
GSG

1) When someone uses Excel instead of Word when they need to produce a document with information in a tabular form. I've seen 10 page documents that had 1/2 of a page with tabular information all typed up in Excel. 2) When I get an Excel spreadsheet from someone that has not be formatted for printing. I may need to share that information in a meeting, or otherwise have a need for a printout. It should already be formatted for printing before it's ever sent to me.

glnz
glnz

When we put pics in an Excel spreadsheet, they make the spreadsheets too big (in terms of file size). The Picture Toolbar in Excel has a function to "compress" the photo, but it doesn't seem to work. The photos can still be "reset" to their original larger sizes, which means all the original bits and bytes are still there. How do I REALLY compress those photos to reduce the dental overbyte? (Sorry.)

glnz
glnz

Wizards -- I'm an amateur Excel self-starter although I already appreciate the wisdom of these comments. BUT I could REALLY use your help on the following: 1) How do I BEGIN to learn Access or some version of SQL (free, please). Is there a video or other instructional step-by-step somewhere on the web? Please send a few links. (But I'm reasonably bright once I get started and don't like stuff that's TOO slow.) 2) This is for our tiny home business, and now we have a small production office abroad. Instead of emailing files back and forth, what should I use to put our files in the cloud or a central something so that our five or so PC's are accessing or automatically syncing with a central set of files (which also backs itself up automatically and is secure). Free would be best but at least cheap. One possible issue: Web-link speed in the office abroad might be slow-ish, especially if linking with a central sync/server on the other side of an ocean. If we link to the cloud, which cloud is "local" everywhere? 3) I know these are big topics, but nothing I've looked at is a good START. Once I have a good start, I can go with the flow. Your practical leads will be better than looking at computer books at Borders or hitting random suggestions on forums. Many thanks.

TAB4217
TAB4217

Right! The top few rows are for summaries and totals. The accountant's "bottom line" becomes the top line, nicely visible. Besides, when you do a sum(C5:C999) (I use OpenOffice Calc), you don't have to worry about crossing the "bottom cell" --say, C50-- where the total used to be.

martin
martin

to Excel than these well know and well described ways to screw up a spreadsheet. What about the use of white-coloured text in a cell, so that other people would not change them (not protected or hidden, obvious what will happen, not?)? Or the use of hyperlinks from one sheet to another (that fail as soon as the file is moved to another directory)? You can use Excel without a training, but you should invest some time or money if you want to do more that just basic stuff with Excel. Just to prevent coworkers having to clean up after you. Susan, I expect that you could've made a list of 100 ways without any problem! Thanks for this article. Martin

dhays
dhays

When sorting a spreadsheet one must remember to select all of the data to be sorted, unlike in Access which sorts by record, or you will truly have a screwed up spreadsheet that means nothing.

redermor
redermor

I am building spreadsheets for engineering calculations. Here are my habits : 1 ) by default Excel is programmed with 1 sheet. People forget to seek other sheets and sometimes the spreadsheet can be registered to the last sheet. 2 ) Put an explicit name on the each Tab 3 ) The 1ST sheet explains what is the spreadsheet purpose, what it is doing, and how it is organized. I put a link on this 1ST page to the other sheets. It gives the references for calculation i.e. engineering standards, methods, and procedures. Sometimes a flowchart. 4 ) The 2ND Sheet tracks all revisions with detailed comments 5 ) The 3RD Sheet Gives the nomenclature and units used in the whole spreadsheet 6 ) The 4TH Sheet is the place where starts the calculations. Any comments ?

treibs
treibs

This looks like an interesting discussion. But there is no link to the original "10 ways ..." I really expect it to be there, rather than waste my time looking for it.

sparent
sparent

As much as possible, I avoid using constants as values or in formulae. If I can get the string or number from another cell, I will do that rather than type it again. (One exception: when there is absolutely no correlation between the identical values) I will even go through the trouble of creating constants as named ranges, if I don't want to carry the constant in a sheet cell

brupub
brupub

I design very usable large Excel Cost and Budget Workbooks for Restaurants, combining sheets from budgets to P&L's to labor and inventories all linked. I simply add a table of contents with links as the first spreadsheet in the workbook.

coderancher
coderancher

.. are like sailing a trireme into a carrier battle. With all the formulas referencing cells by nondescript letters and numbers and the copy and paste operations typically involved with spreadsheets, it is easy to get lost in the sea of large and complex data sets.

Nstig8r
Nstig8r

My manager asked me to list out my secretarial job duties that are recurring. Having been his secretary for 11 years; the easier the better is what he appreciates. In the workbook, each tab is titled with the recurrence frequency (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, etc.). Each worksheet has the job duties listed. To simplify it; the first tab entitled SUMMARY; concatenating links to the frequency tabs bring all the information home. Instead of tabbing here, there, and everywhere, his only exertion is the Summary Tab for clicking. Yes, my knowledge is limited and there may be easier methods to reduce the click time; however this works for us. No information overload on one sheet. Plus this better defines my time. Susan, thank you for your time generating this list. I appreciate it!

tsutay
tsutay

The single biggest issue with developing across multiple sheets is tracking down errors in those pesky off sheet references when trying to track down a problem, particularly when the problem is incorrect data versus an actual error. This really helps speed up debugging when using the "Trace Precedents" function since the function will not go beyond the current sheet. Which reminds me: if you don't know about "Trace Precedents/Trace Dependents" then you are about to gain a whole bunch of efficiency when you look them up in the help file! A method I have adopted out of need is to create an "output" section and an "input" section on each sheet that contains single cell references to any off sheet data, and then use that for any and all links, calculations, etc. on the sheet. For example, if I an using a formula that contains several off sheet references, including a VLookup that looks up the calculated result from a pivot table on another sheet, I will perform the VLookup function on the same sheet as the pivot table and place the result in the "output" section. Then, on my formula sheet, I will have a reference in the "input" section to that result on the first sheet. Then, my formulas will reference the "input" cell. This way, if the result has an #N/A or worse, calculates but is wrong, I can trace precedents and follow the arrows back to the culprit. If it's coming from the other sheet, I can go to that sheet and continue tracing precedents. Also, when making a change to a formula, it is really important to know what is affected. In a big spreadsheet, this can take a while, especially since trace dependents does not go off sheet either. Have fun!

blogs
blogs

Databases assign record numbers to each record, easily used for links and referencing, and for simplying scrolling to a designated record. It is easy to create the same feature in Excell - If your 'data' is entered one 'record' per row (like every purchased mailing list I have ever seen) simply add a new column, and number the data rows 1,2,3, etc. I usually do this in Col A, Name the column 'Index', then hide the column. I cannot tell you how often I have fixed scrambled worksheets by simply sorting on that hidden index column.

tsutay
tsutay

The ideal solution for a vast majority of cases is to use Access and Excel together, relying on each for it's "by design strengths". Excel was not designed to be a database, just like Access was not designed to be used for data calculation. So, even though you can use Excel as a DB and Access to perform calculations, the result is often less efficient. And don't stop there - just as Access has it's uses, it also has it's limitations. Access is not ideal for large and/or many multi-user systems. Many people champion Access and refuse to let go when the right answer is to move the back end to something more robust. So, for a small system, use Access to handle the data. Use Access for the summary (Access persists in having a relatively easy to use report designer) and Excel (through automation, query export, direct data access or other method) for the extraction of specific views and for calculations. Many people fear Access because they don't truly understand how a database works. And frankly, most people are not educated or experienced in a way to truly understand how a relational database works. It's not a criticism, it's simply an observation. As an analogy, most readers of this blog know how to operate a car. Most of the readers could also operate a motorcycle if they had to, but there is definitely a significantly lower number who actually have experience and training with such. Finally, the IT fear of Access. No question that I agree - in every place I have worked, the sentiment of IT towards Access has been the same. There are a host of reasons, a few I even agree with, but the biggest (I have been on both sides of this one) is this: very often what starts as a "small Access DB to meet some need" grows and grows and through incomplete planning, knowledge, skill or some combination, reaches a point where it either crashes, compromises network security or is simply so bloated it crawls along at a snails pace. And, invariably, by the time it reaches this point, it has become a critical part of the process and IT inherits the responsibility of fixing it.

jodi.sorensen
jodi.sorensen

Good stuff Susan. Totally agree that Excel is great for data analysis and manipulation, but where it falls apart is when it's used to manage team projects or tasks...which in evidently happens the more you work with it. "I'll just throw it in a spreadsheet" becomes a knee-jerk reaction. Smartsheet's founder wrote a post today (http://bit.ly/kdw1ZM) about how the role of spreadsheets has changed - and why its app fits the need for many stuck in Excel hell.

DClapp
DClapp

I whoud add one more common error. The non-understanding of mathmatical hierarchy. (2+3)*4 is not the same as 2+3*4.

VirtualPro
VirtualPro

Access works better than Excel when needing to match data from multiple sources or looking for duplicate fields. On #9 and #10 - I will frequently atomize all of the data and load up on all of the formulas, etc. in the first sheet and then create a second sheet nicely formatted and more for display or reporting with links to the first sheet for just the columns / rows I want to show.

ragnar.moller
ragnar.moller

In your flat excel database, you need to calculate values on every line, like working days between reception and delivery, etc, etc. You find yourself copying formulas between line 1 and the last line added. Soon you're not sure the formulas on each if the 285 lines of your spreadsheet are equal. Spreadsheets are easier to understand than an Acces database, but so so sensitive to faults. And long to troubleshoot. Is there another spreadsheet than Excel? There are two: Openoffice and Libreoffice. (Never mind talking about long gone dinosaurs). If you start using Openoffice, you'll really have the problems I mentioned above multiplied by 10. Conclusion: use Access for databases and Excel for calculations.

Quizmaster
Quizmaster

We offered clients the opportunity to send us data as Excel spreadsheets for importing into a database. We specified column names and column order so we could automate the process. One client's data kept blowing the import routine, even though the data looked OK visually. It was only after several fruitless days that I realised that the colum letters had gaps - e.g. Column N was followed by column T etc - they had extra columns in their source data and rather than delete these columns, they just hid them, assuming that if they couldn't see them, our computers couldn't either!

Matusko
Matusko

Great list. Getting past the basics, there are plenty more gotchas in Excel that end up wasting time and causing issues. Would love to see a best practices list for preventing excel file corruption, such as avoiding corruptions (shared spreadsheets on the network, leftover data connection corruptions when importing data), There are also time consuming traps even the experienced fall into such as dealing with merged cells, and vlookups that don't return values if the text string is too long or contains certain characters that the function does not match on. I would love to be pointed to an article that has more best practices on the subject. Good job.

maj37
maj37

I haven't used this in a while but think it is sometimes a good idea but not for the reason you give. If you save the workbook with the current cell as cell A100 then when the workbook is opened it will be at cell A100 and the users won't have to scroll anywhere if that is the row where the totals are. If you saved it with A100 as current and the totals are at row 1 then guess what they will have to scroll, unless of course they know how to do ctl+home but how many do? The reason I think it can be good is if you need to add rows then you don't have to insert them you can just put in the extra data, of course you do need to make sure your formulas pick up the new data. maj

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

11. Use direct references to unprotected cells on a spreadsheet intended to be used as a form for general use. If you think a protected cell on a protected Excel Worksheet cannot be changed, you will learn otherwise when someone enters a value in the wrong unprotected cell and chooses to cut and paste it to the correct cell. At best, the form will suddenly show all kinds of errors and be obviously unusable (unless the person knows Excel well enough to press Ctrl+Z before a save or use of a form control). At worst, the form will produce incorrect results with no indication that something might be wrong (this can be very bad indeed). Protected or not, Excel automatically updates references when referenced cells are moved; and cutting and pasting one referenced cell over another always replaces references to the destination cell with "#REF!". As long as (spreadsheet) size doesn't matter, the best way to do this is probably to duplicate an area of unprotected cells in a (later to be) hidden, protected adjacent area, and to make all references to entered data using references to that protected, hidden area. The cells in the protected, hidden area copy the unprotected entries using indirect references to the unprotected data. Unless a form needs very few "protected" references to unprotected cells, using indirect references to the unprotected data everywhere can make the form extremely difficult to change (e.g., update) or debug. You can use a computed OFFSET reference to copy the unprotected data to the hidden, protected area. It's less messy than computed INDIRECT references; but you should design the computation so it will allow moving the two areas relative to each other. Even though using the above technique will prevent users from damaging the function of the form, be aware that it will not prevent them from making changes to the form that you don't want. Formatting is disabled on a protected Worksheet, but the formats of unprotected cells on that sheet are not protected. If the user copies a protected cell to an unprotected cell, the formatting of that protected cell will be copied, too; so if you put a lot of effort into the appearance of input cells, your effort may be in vain. Can anyone think of any reasonable use for a protected form with unprotected cells that would make this behavior appropriate? Unfortunately, as bad as it is, Excel is better in this respect. Office Libre behaves similarly, but is less likely to clearly show that the form has been damaged. For example, if the original protected equation is =A1+A2+A3, and the user cuts and pastes A2 to A1, Excel will change the (not) "protected" equation to =#REF!+A2+A3 (an obvious error), whereas Office Libre will change it to =A1+A1+A3 (the wrong answer).

Adminisaurusrex
Adminisaurusrex

When someone sends me a spreadsheet that includes empty, headerless columns that they have shortened the width on for "formatting", I initiate the following sequence: 1) Print the document out 2) circle the headerless spots in red ink 3) Soak the document in desk-vodka 4) Tie it to a rock that is kept around for this specific purpose 5) set it ablaze 6) launch "tutorial" into offending cubicle 7) collect rock. These 7 steps guarantee that spreadsheet integrity will be maintained in your organization. Excel tables are not for display, so don't put in headerless columns that you have shortened the width on in an attempt to "format" your document. Excel is a calculator, and non-contiguous data is generally not sorted together. Sometimes, Excel will sort all data columns together, but usually it counts the empty column as a break in the data. Then, when you go to sort a column, all of your rows become incorrect.

Ian Thurston
Ian Thurston

Spam blockers tend to focus on the word "screw" ... more's the pity, since the article was worth the while of retrieving it from the junk folder.

danny
danny

Susan - you put together a nice, organized list of 10 tips. I like it! On the subject of using multiple worksheets, let me add that I recommend giving each workseet a "meaningful" name e.g. Budget. I also recommend having a purpose for each worksheet - e.g. Data Collection, Data Analysis and Presentation of Information. Danny Rocks The Company Rocks

jdishun
jdishun

I think this is a classic that was not mentioned. You can easily add a column in the middle and forget to change the formula. It will still LOOK OK. I made a BIG mistake accepting a spreadsheet set up that way.

anhxang
anhxang

Great advices and many instructives comments ! Further to atomize, I split dates into separate columns of days, months, and years. Otherwise whenever changing country, dates are transformed into varied formats DDMM or MMDD or whatever. Import-export dates from text files further can be particularly troublesome. The trick to overcome Excel's automatic date formatting is arcane, I ended up atomizing the dates.

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

I can't tell you the number of Excel spreadsheets where someone has to change two cells because the same information is in two different spreadsheets. If there is one value, it is entered once. And sometimes this rule is tricky. Consider this: you have a spreadsheet that had individual data. You take averages over a given timeframe. Some people will enter the average, once it has been calculated, on a separate page. Time goes on. Some of those individual data pieces get updated, but because the average was "re-entered", that information is frozen. This happens all the time with novice Excel users.

bhaven23
bhaven23

Thank you. I only ever truly learned Lotus. Microsoft just had to come up with their prototype known as Buddha..................... ( Buddha will assume the Lotus position.....). I can do Excel, and have designed spreadsheets that get used throughout the State. but Excel keeps getting changed. I have a neurosis........................ I also have a twisted sense of humor!

eschirmer
eschirmer

Here's how I tell which version of the worksheet I'm looking at. I have three standard items in the first row: "Created", "Run Date" and "Run Time". The cell to the right of Created is the date the worksheet was created. The cell to the right of Run Date uses the =today() function to enter the current date. The cell to the right of Run Time uses the =now()-today() functions to enter the current time. When the worksheet prints, each copy has a date and time stamp that let's me know which one I'm looking at. I put "Filename" in the second row so that I know the file that created the worksheet. The filename always starts with the the date YYMMDD so I can track revisions: 110627_SAMPLE_FILE_NAME would be the June 27, 2011 version of the file. Meaningful file names are important. With 255 characters available, I try to make the filename very detailed. This is especially helpful when sharing files and during file restoration.

sparent
sparent

I agree with your structure. It appears that developers forget the nomenclature sheet. I then go around trying to figure out what in the blazes those acronyms are supposed to stand for.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

As far as the basic utility of a constant in a 'proper' programming language a named range fit's the bill adequately. There's a bit more and a bit less to them, but not allowed to change the value or type of it in a worksheet wouldn't be big plus....

dogknees
dogknees

I usually have a Settings sheet for these things. Having it in the sheet is easier to manage than a bunch of Globals and Consts in the VBA.

dogknees
dogknees

The Trace Precedents and Trace Dependants DO show off-sheet links. If there are any, you'll see a little grid show up. Double-click the link to the grid and you get all the references on other pages listed.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Far too oten those who don't know databases confuse "record number" with row number. Damn good tip though....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It became critical to the operation before it conked out. The point it did was missed, often author not wanting to relinquish control, main It dept reluctant to take it on. IT's ignorance of it's importance, author's ignorance of what being critical actually means. You can make this work, it just needs a bit of communication at inception. IT are quite happy for you to develop your idea and see if it's a goer, if you follow these basic rules for these basic reasons. If you have and it does then IT can take it on before the wheels have come off. It's not onerous stuff like your table will be in 6NF, more like your identifiers aren't keywords or littered with spaces, two practices Access encourages that drive people who work with raw sql absolutely nuts.... Select * From Order where Number = 1 Order By Order Row Number. Access, &*^*( !!!! Key pointer to this is becoming critical when you ask to move the mdb from your PC to a fileserver...

ssharkins
ssharkins

If the db was a critical part of the process, IT should've been in charge of it long before it crashed.

ssharkins
ssharkins

That's an excellent one! Thank you!

Dalai Pookah
Dalai Pookah

And these are the same people whose Word documents are replete with [tab][tab][tab][tab][tab]--a tab is not a big space and ^p^p for vertical spacing. A paragraph mark is neither a carriage return (if you remember typewriters) nor a vertical space. I'm still pondering whether the Molotov cocktail is a bit too extreme...Nah!

ssharkins
ssharkins

Definitely agree regarding meaningful sheet names.

dogknees
dogknees

=SUM(A1+B1+C1) Don't laugh, I see it all the time. Some smart person taught them the SUM() is the way to add things up.

TobiF
TobiF

Every so often, people design one cell for a date, and an adjacent cell for the corresponding time, not realizing, that this should be ONE combined value, and then simple formatting does the trick of presenting this the proper way. (Although format codes for time values is one dangerous area when you're dealing with an international environment.)

ssharkins
ssharkins

I am tired of the constant change too, but it seems that resistance is futile. :)

ppg
ppg

I would suggest for tracking purposes that you use a Custom Header or Footer with Filename, Date and Time codes. That way regardless of which section of the spreadheet you print out or how many pages the printout extends over each one will be identified.

Willy the JOAT
Willy the JOAT

Why not go that one step further and use colour to highlight whether the workbook has been changed since the last save. For a workbook with fairly complex functionality (mostly lookup, with some update), that can be a lifesaver for an unsophisticated user. WtJ

dhays
dhays

A tab can be a big space, just set it ot the correct position, using one tab in lieu of multiple, or put it into a table. It bugs me too when people do it using multiple tabs or carriage returns. As for vertical spacing use one carriage return and change the paragraph spacing as needed. I change the default number of sheets to one, I see no reason for three when one is what is needed. If you need more, then add them as needed or set it up with the required amount when starting. I don't make spreadsheets for anyone but me, and rarely does anyone else around here. If it is a universal form it is web based now, of unknown to the user base program. We did have a timesheet Excel file, but that has changed to the web based program now. We do have a couple of widely used Excel files, such as the projected works schedule one, or the telephone work order (moving of phones, adding phones,changing names assigned to one...).

dogknees
dogknees

This is not very useful when files are used on screen and not printed. My mantra on printing these days is "only print it if there is no electronic way to provide the data".