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The Secret Power of Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets can do a lot of things, and I mean A LOT of things. The power of spreadsheets is almost limitless. But with great power comes great responsibility. (Hmmm…where have I heard that before?)

Anyway, with so many capabilities available, it can be hard to know or even discover all that a spreadsheet can do. Today I would like to share with you what I would say are a few hidden gems among the very many things that a spreadsheet can do.

Now I may just be preaching to the choir throughout this post, but, I have a feeling that I just might be able to show you something you’ve never seen before. If you’d like to see for yourself, by all means, please read on!

Secret Power No. 1 – Diagrams and Charts

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that you can make a bar graph with a spreadsheet. But did you know that you can use a spreadsheet to make a family tree? And did you further know, that if you invited everyone in your family tree to a family reunion, then you could also use your spreadsheet to make a seating chart?

This way, you can keep your Aunt Wilma far away from your distant cousin Fredrick who just always happens to get on her nerves. I’m telling you, you can make almost anything you can think of.

Plus, some spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel even include something called “Smart Art” that makes creating these diagrams very very easy. One way or another, if you need a diagram or a chart, you can most likely make one with a spreadsheet.

Secret Power No. 2 – Dates and Times

One of my favorite spreadsheet capabilities involves working with dates and times. A calendar or clock certainly come in handy when dealing with these things, but a spreadsheet can help you do so much more.

You can make all sorts of date and time calculations in a spreadsheet that could never be done (at least not very easily) with a clock or calendar alone. For instance, you can use a spreadsheet to instantly calculate how many days, hours, minutes, and even seconds rest between you and your next vacation.

And if that were not enough, you can calculate the workdays, number of weekends, number of months, or whatever else you want to know. All of this and more is possible with nothing but a spreadsheet!

Secret Power No. 3 – Randomization

Let’s say we wanted to generate a random list of farm animals. How about a random list of board games? You can easily create either one of these things with a spreadsheet.

All you have to do is put a few functions together, and presto! You can generate a totally random list of whatever you choose.

Why is this helpful you may ask? Well, I am sure there are a lot of random situations in which something like this would be helpful!

Imagine that you find yourself in the situation where you can’t decide on which restaurant you want to go to for dinner. Well, if you have a spreadsheet on hand, you could put together a list of all of your favorite restaurants and have the spreadsheet pick one for you at random. How awesome is that?

Secret Power No. 4 – Text and Words

Usually when you think of spreadsheets, you think of numbers. However, spreadsheets can do a lot with simple text and words as well.

Using a spreadsheet, you can sort a list of words alphabetically, calculate the length of a word, put words together, separate them out, and even capitalize every letter in a sentence if you really want to.

Basically, if you have some text and you want to do something to it other than just type it, then turn to your spreadsheet! You just might find the capability you are looking for.

Secret Power No. 5 – Code

Did you know that you can add code to the backend of your spreadsheet? In excel, that code is call VBA, and in Google Sheets, it’s called GAS.

With code, you can program your spreadsheets to do so much more than what you see on the surface.

Spreadsheets may already seem to have limitless power, but throw in some code behind the scenes, and you truly can do just about anything with a spreadsheet.

So if you already consider yourself a spreadsheet master and you would like to take yourself to the next level, then be sure to look into VBA for Excel or GAS for Google Sheets.

A whole new world of possibility is just around the corner!

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