Excel: Be Wary

This page is an advertiser-supported excerpt of the book, Power Excel 2010-2013 from MrExcel - 567 Excel Mysteries Solved. If you like this topic, please consider buying the entire e-book.

Problem: By using the tips in this book, I have found myself processing data faster than ever before. However, I've also begun to mess up data faster than ever before.

Strategy: It's important to save and save often. It's also a good idea to frequently check your data to make sure it's reasonable. For example, if you work for a company with $100 million in annual sales, a quarterly sales report should not show $200 billion in sales.

Try to figure out problems as soon as they happen. Excel is an incredibly logical program. Everything happens for a reason. If you can figure out the reason, you will master it in no time. Every "œGotcha" in this book represents a problem that has stung me in the past.

In 30 years of spreadsheet work, I have had only a few times when I could not find a logical explanation for something. If you are truly stumped, describe your situation on a message board such as the one at ­MrExcel.com. The odds are that someone else has seen the same problem and figured it out.

You need to be aware of your data processing steps and occasionally do a reasonableness test to make sure your data still looks right. You should also save frequently with different file names if you are doing something new that you are unsure of. This way, you can go back to the IncomeBeforeSubtotals.xls file if you think you have done something wrong.