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Design Once Then Copy

When building a spreadsheet, there are many different routes to take and strategies you can try.

In this article, we will give you a simple strategy to save yourself a lot of time. It’s called design once, then copy.

Design It Once

When you put together a spreadsheet, there is usually lots to do.

  • Size the rows and columns
  • Set the font size and text color
  • Add fill color and borders too

And that is just the beginning.

After you’ve spent all that time and effort getting the first worksheet just right, you probably move on to building the next one.

Eventually, you end up with a completed Excel workbook or Google Sheets spreadsheet that only took a few hours to build. That’s not too bad, considering all that you stuffed into it.

However, there is a better way.

Instead of building each worksheet in your workbook from scratch, it would be much more efficient to design the worksheet structure only once.

What do we mean by this? Let’s look at an example.

Design It Once – An Example

Let’s say that every worksheet you build shares a specific sizing for the rows and columns. Furthermore, let’s say that the font size and color are consistent in every sheet, and there is a consistent fill color throughout as well.

Instead of repeating yourself four or five times and making the same adjustments on each worksheet, why not make all the adjustments only once?

The cool thing about spreadsheets is that you can make a copy of any worksheet.

So instead of designing the same thing over and over again, simply design it once. You can then copy the design for each worksheet you plan to build.

Then Copy

Once you have designed the major components to be shared by all the worksheets in your spreadsheet, all that’s left is to copy your design.

Luckily, both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets make it very easy to copy a worksheet. We will show you how to copy a worksheet on both platforms.

Copy a Worksheet In Excel

To copy a worksheet in Excel, follow the steps listed below.

Start by right-clicking on the worksheet you wish you copy, and then select Move or Copy.

Select (move to end) and make sure to check the Create a copy checkbox. You can then click OK to copy the worksheet.

Copy a Worksheet In Google Sheets

To copy a worksheet in Google Sheets, follow the steps listed below.

Start by right-clicking on the worksheet you wish you copy, and then select Duplicate.

This will immediately make a copy of the worksheet.

Putting It All Together

Now that you understand the basic idea behind design once then copy, you are ready to start saving time when building spreadsheets.

So whenever you find yourself putting together a cohesive spreadsheet or workbook, remember to:

  • Design the worksheet foundation once
  • Copy it for each worksheet you plan to build

Do this, and you will find that your spreadsheets take a little less time to build overall.

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