Microsoft Excel is presented to most users as a business tool, not something they would use in their daily lives, and it is a shame, because the power of the spreadsheet program goes far beyond simple manipulation of numbers. Here are some smart things you can do with Excel at home:
Keep score – Anytime you have a game that lasts longer than one night (my husband and I have had some epically long Boggle competitions), Excel is exactly the right tool to keep track of the results; Not only does the spreadsheet format easily keep the numbers where they belong, but when the game is finally over, you can print a line graph showing your progress towards victory mapped right over your partner’s progress towards final defeat.
Collection tracking -I’m a huge fan of collectibles, be it a geeky trading card game or a more serious philatelic quest. Excel gives you the ability to list not only quantities of various items, but also qualities, and makes the task of sorting by quality as easy as “Sort by ‘Mint / New / Used'”.
Planning – Excel spreadsheets are excellent programmers. For example: scheduling your kids’ assignments, color-coding so they have no excuse for not knowing what their assignments are, and printing the sheets and putting them on the refrigerator with a marker nearby for easy marking. Excel makes it easy.
Organize your spice rack – My husband and I have one of those revolving spice racks that has 10 bottles per side on four sides. When we realized that we didn’t particularly care about “pizza seasoning” because we always combined our own spices, we left half of the spices on the shelf and then made an Excel spreadsheet with all the spices and spice mixes that we used more often. , hide the rows that contained the ones we use the least, and alphabetized the remaining 40 and alphabetically arranged on the shelf. We keep the spreadsheet in case there is any confusion about what is supposed to be and where.
Budget – Obviously, Excel is an excellent tool for keeping track of the family budget. Label expenses with labels such as “food (home),” “food (out),” “entertainment,” “clothing,” and so on. makes it easy not only to sort by those values, but also to create charts that show you how much of your monthly money goes to places that could be cut in a pinch.
School projects – Since I graduated from college, my husband used Excel to plot various science projects. With Excel’s ability to reference other sheets in formulas, even very complex information can be neatly summarized on the cover page of a multi-sheet data matrix.
Buying decisions – When you have options like trying to decide where to buy vitamins (where each store sells different amounts of pills at different prices and in different strengths), you basically MUST have Excel to make the best-informed buying decision. . There are few other ways to sort that amount of data.
Food magazines – When you’re dieting, whether you’re tracking calories, carbohydrates, or fat grams, it’s critical to be able to put your data in a consistent and organized place. Excel gives you that place, as well as tools to easily summarize your daily totals and record your progress over time.
Make a channel guide – My husband and I switched to digital cable a while ago, and the number of channels we had to deal with was phenomenal. By putting them all in Excel, color-coding them based on the approximate genre each channel consisted of, and highlighting the ones we watched the most, we were able to put together our favorites list without losing sight of the darkest channels along the way.
Comparing conditioner – I once had a favorite conditioner, and then they changed the formula and it stopped working for me. The solution? I tried a dozen different types of conditioners, put each ingredient from each bottle into Excel, and then removed the ingredients from each bottle that didn’t work until I had a small list of ingredients that were shared among the few bottles that did. Then I went and found the least expensive conditioner that shared those ingredients, and now I have a new favorite conditioner.
Planning camping trips – When you have a limited amount of spaces and you need to make sure everything is going to work, Excel is a great tool. List everything you need, where you can put it, and print two copies: one in alphabetical order so you can mark it up and make sure you have it all before you leave home, and another sorted by the “where is” column so you can find anything. efficiently once you’ve hit the road.
Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other uses for Excel around the house; this is just scratching the surface. If you have hobbies like playing poker, Excel’s hypergeometric distribution function can tell you the possibility of getting a particular card in your next draw. If you like gardening, Excel can record temperature data for the past several years and give you an idea of when it is safe to plant what. The possibilities are endless.