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A few weeks ago we discussed 5 ways we see people using Microsoft Excel that really are not good things to be doing in Excel. Today we talk about 5 great uses of Microsoft Excel.

Use of Microsoft Excel Comments
  1. Custom calculators, estimating tools
You can do pretty much any calculation you could ever think of in Excel. Frequently businesses have to make a business decision based on MANY different factors. Setting up an excel calculator to take many inputs to yield an output is a great way to use excel. Just be sure the formulas are corrected and locked down so they cannot be changed.
  1. Macro driven Data manipulation
While most software programs allow a data dump into Excel, they are not always exported in a usable format.   Luckily, in Excel you can take data that is in an unusable format, delete unneeded rows and columns, sort it, format cells and turn it into the exact format you need it to be in.   Better yet, you can build a macro to automate the data manipulation so you don’t have to do it manually each time.
  1. ODBC (Open Database Connectivity)
Excel has the ability to extract data directly from many software applications, even Quickbooks. So instead of exporting a report to Excel, you can create a live sync to most software programs. By just the push of a button you can get data from one system into the exact format you want it to be in saving hours in manual data manipulation.
  1. Charts and Graphs
Many pieces of software have charts and graphs built in, but other than sophisticated business intelligence software, few of them have the flexibility and power that Excel has.
  1. Ad Hoc Analysis / Prototypes
While it would be ideal if every report was available to business stakeholders, the reality is that there will always be some as needed analysis done. There is no better tool for such ad hoc analysis than Excel.   Frequently, by working in Excel, and thinking about how to analyze and report the data, you can then use the Excel analysis as a prototype for a more permanent report.

These are 5 great uses of excel but there are many others. For more information or assistance in leveraging excel for your small business click here.

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