For National Spreadsheet Day, we decided to check in with our resident expert: Sarah Lo! Sarah believes that everything in life can be put into a spreadsheet, and she definitely lives out this philosophy both inside and outside the office. In her personal life, she tracks everything from vacations to doctor’s appointments to every food item she has ever ordered. Internally, Sarah knows every detail about how to utilize our MASTER document, which holds every minutia of a program, from deadlines and checklists to budgets and creative needs. We decided to pick her brain and share with you three of her best spreadsheet practices of how RVE stays organized for our client programs.
1. Quality Control is Key
Ensuring your spreadsheets are easy and clear to read is crucial. They often contain so much important information, and if your formatting is all over the place the meaning will be lost. Using consistent fonts, text sizing, and styles is so important, especially since it is common to copy and paste information from outside sources. Make sure you always convert the text back to the style of the document so you do not end up with a hodge-podged mess of information.
PS: This should be common sense, but this is especially important if you are sharing a document with a client! Be sure to clean everything up, export in an appropriate file, and ensure your document is print-ready.
2. Update Likes with Likes
Consistently updating and formatting spreadsheets can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Per Sarah’s advice, the most efficient and productive way to do this is to match likes with likes. For instance, when we receive a contract from a partner, we immediately put any and all related information into our MASTER document; adding their name to our contacts tab, timeline to our run of show, pricing to our budget, etc. Doing this all at one time ensures we see the big picture of how the entire program is affected and ensures we will not forget information down the road.
3. Google Sheets vs. Excel
It is an exciting time for spreadsheet enthusiasts everywhere with the continuous growth of Google Sheets. However, not everyone is so eager to make the switch from Excel. Each platform brings its own pros and cons. When deciding which to use, we boil it down to this: Google Sheets is ideal for anything collaborative. If a project is going to be edited by more than one person, likely Sheets is your way to go. Excel is best for power users and those who are using a spreadsheet for more technical projects that rely on advanced formulas. As many offices are transitioning to Google Drive for its convenience, Office 365 has begun implementing its own collaborative features to compete. This is something to be aware of as many companies with especially sensitive or confidential information want more security than Google Drive currently offers. As of now, each platform has unique weaknesses, and it will be interesting to watch them both develop to meet the needs of consumers.
That wraps up our top three best spreadsheet practices. What are your favorite tips and tricks? We would love to hear!