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Convenience Through Compare Spreadsheet Tools

Jan 20, 2008
Computer users, usually managers, sometimes need to compare spreadsheet data in order to make an accurate analysis of the relationship between data categories and to monitor numerical changes.

A spreadsheet or worksheet consists of rows and columns where numerical or financial data are often recorded. These are used in various areas or fields especially in budgeting, accounting, financial analysis and sales forecasting. Traditional spreadsheets exist only in paper format. However, technological innovations have paved the way for them to be available in computerized formats. The latter is similar in appearance to that of the paper spreadsheet. Certain software applications have made computerized spreadsheets more easy to use because of their ability to update numerical data and perform quick calculations. The pioneering spreadsheet software was VisiCalc which was initially designed for Apple Computers. Various commercial computerized spreadsheet software exist today and most of them can be used in any operating system including Microsoft Windows. Two of the most popular spreadsheet applications are Microsoft Excel and Lotus 123. Microsoft Excel, in particular, was created for computers with Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems. Currently, it is a part of the Microsoft Office package. It has a macro programming language which is termed Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). This programming lingo enables Excel tasks to be automated. Moreover, it features pivot tables, graphing and calculation tools. It was originally marketed back in 1982. However, at that time when MS-DOS systems were common, it was deemed inferior to Lotus 123.

In computerized spreadsheets, numerical figures are recorded in cells which are the intersection of rows and columns. Generally, rows are identified through numbers while columns are identified through letters. A cell, therefore, is identified as a combination of a letter and a number depending on its location in the spreadsheet. Formulas may be encoded in certain cells for it to perform automatic calculations. When there are changes in the contents of the cells included in the formula, automatic recalculation occurs. Different graphs and charts may also be created using the data entered on spreadsheet cells. This feature makes this application more convenient in illustrating the relationship between two or more factors. For some people, setting up a spreadsheet is complicated and time-consuming. This is why many software packages are sold featuring templates and sample spreadsheets that are tailored to the needs of the user.

Another common dilemma for spreadsheet users is the difficulty in comparing spreadsheet data especially concerning updates. Some spreadsheets feature a lot of rows and columns so comparing two large documents would really be physically tasking. In response to this, various software developers came up with compare spreadsheet tools that would allow comparison between Excel files and will provide a comparative report on changes in the details of these files. These tools save spreadsheet users from the time-consuming task of thoroughly looking and comparing similar templates to tell if there had been changes in the data or not. Some of these programs can be used for free within a time trial period. License for the software could be purchased when one is satisfied of its performance.
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