I love Excel. I couldn’t do my job without Excel. It is a thing of beauty. It is geeky. It is simple yet so very clever. Spreadsheets are my working life. Oxford Scholarship Online could not operate as smoothly as it does without Excel. This is not an exaggeration. The lists of forthcoming titles are all kept in Excel spreadsheets and the master copies of these all live in a server in Shrewsbury. I like Excel because I can use colour – for text or background. I like it because I like numbers and I like statistics.
However, there are ten things about Excel that make me want to throw it out the window sometimes, or at least put it on the naughty step for a few hours.
1. If I copy some text, then type something before I need to paste that text, Excel forgets what I copied so I have to do it again. In other words, it doesn’t retain data in the clipboard in the way that Word does. It also forgets if I accidentally type control+C instead of control+V when I want to paste.
2. If I press page up when I am only a few cells from the top Excel tells me off with an annoying bong as if to say: ‘stupid idiot, how can I go page up from here?’
3. I’m not clever enough to use Excel to its full potential. For example, if I copy and paste formula to another cell and to relate it to a different row or column of data Excel gets confused. I know the $ sign can be used for such needs but I don’t know how to do this. I wish I did. I have tried using Excel Help but it always serves to disappoint as it is a maze of interconnected questions and answers.
4. My version of Excel (I’m not sure whether this is universal) won’t let me name a tab ‘history’. This is very annoying as for my job I need to name tabs by subject, e.g. Economics and Finance, History, Literature. If I try, I get this message:
5. At the bottom of the above annoying window, the text ‘Was this information helpful?’ appears. NO!
6. If I accidentally select a range of cells, and accidentally place the mouse near the corner of the cells and move it, I get asked this:
The answer is always ‘no, isn’t it obvious I just have poor mouse control?’
7. Excel tries to be intelligent but fails. It doesn’t always work out what range of cells I want to add up if I have copied and pasted a formula from one sheet to another. This annoys me. Surely it should be obvious that if I added up previously from cell A1 to A20 in sheet 1 then I will want to do the same in sheet 2?
8. It crashes more frequently than Word, especially when I have huge enormous spreadsheets full of superfluous data.
9. More than once I have accidentally saved an older version of a spreadsheet over a newer version and it doesn’t ask me if I’m sure I want to save the older version over the newer one. It should do. I am human and it is very unlikely that someone would actually want to do this. I once lost 12 hours work by doing this. This is actually the one time when I would appreciate a pop-up window asking me ‘are you sure?’
10. This might be just me but sometimes, if I have two spreadsheets open, it only seems to think I have one open. I have to keep returning to ‘open recent’ to locate the second spreadsheet even though it is open. I have no idea what this means.
There are more things that annoy me about Excel (such as if my top line is bold, why does it think I want the next line of data to be bold as well?) but that is enough for today. And my love of it outweighs the annoyances. After all, it can be used to create art as well as data.