Spreadsheet Design Concepts Series
- Never trust inputs
- Always test for correctness as soon as possible
- Limit inputs wherever possible (eg option buttons, or drop downs)
- Use data validation but be aware of its limits (easy to bypass and overwrite, must use circle invalid)
- Help users by clearly identifying what is needed
- Give clear feedback on errors or problems
- Minimise input - Let Excel do the work
- Have validation formulas nearby
- If test is ok say "ok" (or "Row/Column check ok") not "" (formulas that return an empty string often get overwritten by accident)
- Prefer Text in cells rather than comments
- Locate input cells where they are easy to find and an bad edit (eg delete cell instead of clear) will have an obvious, but not disastrous effect.
- Use worksheet protection if you need to but do not rely on it, and be aware of its limitations and annoyance factor.
25 January 2012 - UK Excel Developer Conference - London
Products for sale:
New information about the missing FileSearch feature in Office 2007 and details of our pragmatic solution (Current price GBP 30.00)
Instant Excel worksheet protection remover and password recovery (Current price GBP 15.00)
Classic Ribbon Tab
Add Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 compatible menu structure to Excel 2007
(Current Price GBP 10.00)
Products coming soon:
(Find and control external links in Excel Workbooks)
Due by Q1 2111.
(Excel VBA based spreadsheet auditing tool)
Due before the end of 2111.